What's going on with the talks in Washington between Republicans and Democrats over the budget, the debt and the federal debt ceiling? As deadlines approach — the White House wants a deal by July 22 to avoid a potential government shutdown on Aug. 2 — we'll keep an eye on the latest headlines. Here are some of today's (and as often happens on stories like this, there are conflicting reports):
-- Reuters — "Analysis: Debt Deal Not That Far Out Of Reach."
Will lower premiums for health insurance to cover people with pre-existing conditions make the policies more attractive? We're about to find out.
Experts agreed that high prices for the coverage created under the health care overhaul were partly to blame for anemic enrollment in the plans, which reached just 21,454 after several months. Hundreds of thousands of people had been expected to sign on.
Congressional Republicans keep insisting that deep cuts to government spending will help boost growth, and create jobs, in the short term. But that claim doesn't make a lot of sense. Most economists think that federal spending on public works and aid to the states kept the recession from being much worse.
In Minnesota, where the state government has been shut down since Friday while the Democratic governor and Republican-controlled legislature remain at odds over how to fill a $5 billion budget gap, some lawmakers got an earful on Monday as they marched in July 4th parades.
"Obama administration officials believe that Pakistan's powerful spy agency ordered the killing of a Pakistani journalist who had written scathing reports about the infiltration of militants in the country's military, according to American officials."
"More than 50 countries have purchased surveillance drones, and many have started in-country development programs for armed versions because no nation is exporting weaponized drones beyond a handful of sales between the United States and its closest allies,"The Washington Post
Among all the foreign policy decisions President Obama has made, the most surprising may be the one to go to war in Libya without either requesting a declaration of war from Congress, as required by the Constitution, or obtaining legislative authorization, as required by the War Powers Resolution of 1973. Some have suggested that authorization could have been easily obtained at the time the war was launched, when public sentiment against the murderous Qaddafi regime was running high. In that case, the decision not to ask for it seems an especially gratuitous insult to Congress.
"Iraqi officials have raised the toll from a combined car bomb and roadside bombing north of Baghdad to 35 people killed," The Associated Press reports from Baghdad. Around 50 other people are said to have been wounded, according to the wire service.