You need to know this. Monday evening, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell negotiated a deal to end the economic standoff. Their plan would temporarily fund the government and lift the debt ceiling, and leave the next round of sequester cuts in place. In addition, their deal would subject Obamacare recipients to income verification, and establish a committee to work out a budget plan by December 13th. In response, the House Republicans put forward their own plan. In addition to the provisions put forward by the Senate, the House plan would also delay the medical device tax for two years and require Congress members to sign up for Obamacare – without any employer contribution. The House proposal would also eliminate much of the Treasury's ability to take “extraordinary measures” to avoid defaulting on our debt in the future. However, the Obama Administration has already rejected the latest House plan. A spokesperson for the White House said, “The President has said repeatedly that members of Congress don't get to demand ransom for fulfilling their basic responsibilities to pass a budget an pass the nation's bills.” And, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, “Let's be clear, the House Republican legislation will not pass the Senate.” So, with less than 48 hours until we default on our debt, it looks like it's up to the Senate to solve this problem. But, the Senate can't move forward with their plan without “unanimous consent,” which means that hard-Right senators like Ted Cruz could stop the upper chamber from expediting a plan. As it stands now, it's unclear if a resolution is closer or even farther away. Americans, and the world, are watching to see whether Senate leaders can find a way to bypass this political gridlock. And, they want Congress to fix this problem today. Stay tuned.
In screwed news... It appears a deal is in the works to avoid the debt limit, but technically we're already in default. Although the United States has maintained payments to creditors and bond holders, our government has already broken some very important economic promises. As Felix Salmon of Reuters explains, the Treasury's own definition of default is not meeting the “legal obligations of the U.S.” The fact is that Tea Party obstruction has already done serious harm to many Americans, and cast doubt over the ability of our nation to meet financial obligations. According to Felix Salmon, “As a result, economic growth in both the U.S. and the rest of the world will be lower than it should be.” The last time Republicans brought us to the edge of an economic cliff, it cost our nation thousands of jobs and billions of dollars. While we may soon see a deal on the debt limit, it may take time to fully grasp the real cost of this round of economic hostage-taking.
In the best of the rest of the news...
Local officials in North Carolina want to see that state's ban on same-sex marriage overturned. As a show of support for same-sex equality, a country register of deeds has started accepting gay marriage applications. Although he cannot add his signature yet, Drew Reisinger started collecting the applications today, because of the likelihood that the discriminatory law will eventually be overturned. Mr. Reisinger said that since the Supreme Court struck down a key provision in the federal Defense of Marriage Act, he made the decision to prepare for the day when North Carolina's law is also changed. And, he is not alone in his beliefs. Even that state's Attorney General, Roy Cooper, has personally come out in support of gay marriage, but he is committed to upholding the law in his state. For the time being, that law prohibits same-sex couples from marrying the person that they love. However, when it's finally overturned – at some point in the future – marriage applications can be signed quickly, and returned to the happy couples. Thanks to some fine civil servants in North Carolina, same-sex couples won't have to wait any longer than necessary to be legally recognized in their own state.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is standing up for DREAMers. Governor Christie has announced his support for legislation that allows undocumented immigrants in his state to pay in-state college tuition rates. He wants to pass the bill – called the New Jersey Tuition Equality Act – during his lame-duck session before the next election. If the measure is approved, it would guarantee in-state tuition rates for students who have lived in New Jersey for at least three years, and who possess a high school diploma or GED. At a gala hosted by the Latino Leadership Alliance of New Jersey, Governor Christie said, “We need to make sure that we continue to work on issues that will make our children believe that they have a bigger and brighter future. We need to get to work in the state legislature around things like making sure that there's tuition equality for everyone in New Jersey.” Supporting equality for undocumented immigrants may not make Chris Christie a favorite among Republicans, but it's the right thing to do for the DREAMers, and the right thing for the state of New Jersey.
And finally... Just one serving of bacon a day can lower a man's fertility. According to a new Harvard University study, men who regularly eat processed meat, like bacon, sausage, and hamburgers, can have a much tougher time conceiving. However, the researchers also discovered that a diet rich in white fish had the opposite effect of increasing male fertility. It turns out that while the bacon significantly lowered men's sperm quality, those who consumed white fish on a regular basis had a procreation edge over their counterparts. Dr. Allan Pacey, a fertility expert, said that eating processed meats like bacon regularly was already linked to other health issues, so advising them to eat more fish instead “may improve their health generally.” However, some men may take the results another way, thinking that eating more bacon sounds a lot more enjoyable than a vasectomy.
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