President Obama is packing his bags for a 17-day, taxpayer-funded Christmas vacation to Hawaii, The Washington Times reported. The vacation begins on Friday, December 20.
The first family will reportedly be shacking up at a palatial oceanfront home that rents for $24,500 a week. When you toss in the shaved ice, greens fees, and gas for Air Force One, the American taxpayers could be on the hook for one mighty expensive Hawaiian holiday.
The Hawaii Reporter ran the numbers on last year's trip and found that it cost taxpayers more than $4 million. That's some pricy poi. more >>
Given the magnitude of the Obamacare debacle, it's hard to imagine how Republicans could manage to one-up the dysfunction and dissolution of the Democrat party. Much to the delight of the media, however, the GOP has managed to redirect the spotlight away from the train wreck of the Affordable Care Act in exchange for its own dog and pony show.
Frustrated by conservative criticisms of the recently passed House budget compromise, Speaker John Boehner has declared open season on "outside conservative groups," claiming that their criticism of the budget deal is mere window dressing designed to foment grassroots anger against the "establishment":
"They are not fighting for conservative principles," Mr. Boehner told rank-and-file House Republicans during a private meeting on Wednesday as he seethed and questioned the motives of the groups for piling on against the plan before it was even made public. "They are not fighting for conservative policy," he continued, according to accounts of those present. "They are fighting to expand their lists, raise more money and grow their organizations, and they are using you to do it. It's ridiculous." more >>
A new study just published by the National Institute on Retirement Security – Race and Retirement Insecurity in the United States- presents a dismal snapshot of the state of retirement savings of minority American families.
It reports that 54.3 percent of blacks work for employers that offer retirement plans compared to 62.3 percent of whites. And 43.9 percent of blacks participate in those plans compared to 53.9 percent of whites.
Among Latinos, 37.8 percent work for employers with retirement plans and just 29.7 percent participate. more >>
In the United States of America, whenever a cause wants to garner national awareness, it often attempts to do so by staging an event in Washington, DC.
Indeed, one of the many hazards of driving in the District of Columbia is simply never knowing when a road will be blocked off so that a large group of people with signs, flags, and chants can cross.
Although plenty of protests, rallies, and demonstrations have seen immense success, getting a certain number of people at a given place for a given event is never guaranteed. more >>
On Tuesday, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R, WI-1) announced a two-year budget agreement that could potentially offer a respite from the fiscal fights of the past few years. But many conservative House Republicans are already balking at the deal because it breaks the spending caps called for under the sequester. Some conservative groups, such as Americans for Prosperity and the Club for Growth, have already come out in opposition, offering threats to GOP incumbents who vote for it.
Our bet is that the bill will pass, perhaps handily. But legislative politics is trickier in some ways than electoral politics because the number of "voters" is far smaller, and they are all highly informed and strategic in their thinking. Therefore, let's suppose the Crystal Ball is wrong in its prediction of passage. How would the budget compromise be defeated in Congress?
At present, there are 432 members in the U.S. House. While the special election to replace now-Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) took place on Tuesday and saw Katherine Clark (D) duly elected, she hasn't been seated yet. It's also unlikely that Rep. Mel Watt (D, NC-12) will vote considering he was just confirmed in the Senate as the new head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. This means that we can expect about 430 votes on the Murray-Ryan deal, as Speaker of the House John Boehner (R, OH-8) may not vote (the speaker rarely votes, although he did vote for the deal to end the shutdown). For simplicity's sake, let's just say 216 votes are needed to stop the deal. more >>
A bipartisan committee of House and Senate negotiators reached an agreement Tuesday on a new budget. The agreement was not the "grand bargain" that many deficit hawks had hoped for, but, if passed, it would provide some stability through 2014 by preventing future "crises," like October's government shutdown.
The agreement was announced by the two chairs of the conference committee, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), in a late Tuesday press conference.
"I'm proud of this agreement," Ryan said. "It reduces the deficit – without raising taxes. And it cuts spending in a smarter way. It's a firm step in the right direction, and I ask all my colleagues in the House to support it." more >>