The clock is ticking and Washington is no closer to a deal. Speaker Boehner is ordering the GOP to stand behind his two-step approach -- an approach the White House has already said it would veto because it would mean going through this hell again in about 6 months. It will fail in the Senate even before it gets to the President. The Senate Dems are waiting to vote on their plan until after the House GOP votes on theirs, so we will have 2 competing plans at the 11th hour. Then it's about who blinks first -- and I'm scared to death about that. The President is in the background, working the phones and planning for a crisis if we default. Mr. President, sir, I really think this is a time when you need to be front and center. Then again, his negotiations didn't go so well. He is quietly trying to get his base to contact their members of Congress and weigh in favoring an approach that combines spending cuts and revenue. But what's the point of that when both Boehner's plan and Senator Reid's competing plan do not involve raising revenue? Then again, there's a lot happening behind the scenes, including talk about a compromise on Boehner's framework that VP Biden is trying to negotiate. (Been wondering where Joe went). Politico reports that Biden and Senate Minority Leader McConnell are working on something.
Speaker Boehner is having to twist arms just to get the Tea Partiers to support his plan. His usual relaxed style has been abandoned and he's insisting on the support of his party. It's not yet clear whether he has a majority. The vote tally is very close. The vote should happen around dinner time. John McCain said the "tea party hobbits" (his words) will just help President Obama get re-elected if they don't vote for Speaker Boehner's plan. Senate Dems vow to oppose the Boehner solution, which makes it dead on arrival.
Meanwhile, investors are getting nervous and moving their money out of Treasury bills. The economy is already slowing down. Federal employees are worried and angry. The President will have to pick and choose which of our bills to pay and which to default on. States are worried, too, since they depend on government funding for things like Medicaid. And liberal/progressives are really upset that the focus has been allowed to shift from jobs to deficit reduction. And we still have the complete crazies who, with absolutely no basis in fact, believe a default is no big deal. Some House Democrats want the President to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling based on the 14th amendment to the Constitution -- something that the President already has said his lawyers cannot support. And China says the debt ceiling battle gives Democracy a bad name. Great. The business community is split from the conservative GOP.
Meanwhile, in other news, Wellpoint posted profits down by 3% due to Medicare Advantage Plan claims in California, while Aetna's profits are way up.
The conservative group that challenged the health reform law in the Sixth Circuit filed their appeal (called a writ) in the Supreme Court yesterday -- and so here we go.
The nation's health care costs are projected to nearly double by 2020. The health reform law will improve coverage but it won't cut costs. We still need to deal with the cost side of the equation.
States that failed to pass legislation creating exchanges (marketplace where you can compare and buy insurance) are feeling the time crunch.
The cost of treating veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan will soar well into the future. $50 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Middle aged women are caregivers, sometimes forgetting to care for themselves.
Physical therapy can have miraculous results.
Going abroad? Don't forget your vaccinations.
And that's it for this morning. Have a great day! Jennifer