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.
Trump's travel ban and the long-term agenda The Trump Administration's revised travel ban may be good news for some visa holders and others, but it's still being challenged as unconstitutional. Some reporters call it the beginning of a long-term effort to change the demographic make-up of the United States.
House Republicans release their Obamacare replacement As two House committees take up "repeal and replacement" of "Obamacare," there may be life left in the Affordable Care Act after all. Even Republicans are divided, and proposed changes won't make good on President Trump's promise to provide "health insurance for everybody."
The 'deconstruction' of the administrative state President Trump has failed to fill high-level positions in important agencies — and some people he has named want to phase out the agencies they're supposed to lead. We look at the possible consequences for delivering services and providing security — and at top aide Steve Bannon's plans for "deconstructing the administrative state."
Cover-up or witch hunt?: The latest on the WH ties to Russia Less than two months into his Presidency, Donald Trump is struggling to get his agenda under way, making it harder himself with tweets that dominate public attention. Meanwhile, important questions are going unanswered: why have staff members and the Attorney General lied about contacts with Russian officials?