FROM Barney Keller
Time's Running Out before a Fiscal Crisis Kicks In Yesterday, after fiscal-cliff negotiations broke down, President Obama admonished , "(T)hat we lurch from crisis to crisis every six months, or every nine months…that's not how you run a great country…. It is very hard for them [Republicans] to say yes to me. At some point, they've got to take me out of it – think about their voters, and think about what's best for the country." In the midst of negotiations with the President, House Speaker John Boehner proposed what he calls "Plan B." But it's sure to be dead on arrival when it reaches the Senate. We hear how compromise on the "fiscal cliff" is dominated by philosophical differences, political mistrust — and personal antipathy.
Is Washington Full of 'Grownups'… or Not? In the aftermath of last week's atrocity in Connecticut, some serious pundits said Washington politicians might respond by acting like "grownups." The implication was that House Republicans and the White House would compromise to avoid the consequences of the so-called "fiscal cliff." That hasn't happened yet. Congress is ready to vote on a plan with no chance of Senate concurrence in hopes of shifting the blame for gridlock to the Democrats. The President, strengthened by re-election, is unlikely to back down. We look at what's at stake for taxpayers, homeowners, the elderly and the poor.
'Do-or-die' time on healthcare bill President Trump has demanded a House vote today on replacing Obamacare…whatever the details might be. Despite his campaign promise that nobody would lose health insurance, that's possible for 24 million people if he were finally to sign this bill into law.
Political appointments and the reshaping of the judiciary President Trump has the chance for a long-term impact -- not just on the US Supreme Court, but on the entire federal court system. And his nominees are likely to get the support of a massive spending campaign by donors who don't have to reveal their names. Can President Trump "pack" the federal court system?