FROM Henry Aaron
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.
Congress Lurches toward Healthcare Reform As Congress grapples with five different proposals for healthcare reform, the nonpartisan Commonwealth Fund reports that Americans are dying too soon . Despite spending vastly more than other industrialized countries, the United States is near the bottom and falling further behind when it comes to so-called "preventable deaths" from diabetes, epilepsy, stroke, influenza, ulcers and pneumonia.
Congress Lurches toward Healthcare Reform President Obama says healthcare reform is "closer than ever," conceding what everybody knows, that there's still "a long way to go." There remain five different versions of the biggest government undertaking in 44 years, three in the House and two in the Senate. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi must reconcile their respective committee reports to produce massive bills, hundreds of pages long, for debate and amendment. What's common to all five proposals and what are the major differences? What about coverage, cost, affordability and the "public option?"
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.
What is Trump's plan for Middle East peace? On his first foreign tour, President Trump has promised "peace" between Israel and the Palestinians. Are there any details for re-starting talks that have been stalled for the past three years?
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.