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?"
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?
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?
Trump's 'America First' goes missing abroad In the Middle East, President Trump is changing some policies of the Obama Administration—and reversing his own campaign attacks on Islam as a religion that "hates us." We hear about his visit to Saudi Arabia and what's at stake for the rest of his foreign excursion.
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.