Today's Highlights

Financial Policy

Final Vote Set for Friday As Members Review Debt Reduction Proposals


The Presidential Debt Commission held a public hearing yesterday to discuss the final report on their recommendations. This morning on the Washington Journal, Reuters reporter Kevin Drawbaugh and Debt Commission Member Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA) discuss the commission’s proposals, relating what compromises were made and what issues sparked disputes among members. Read More »

A vote to move forward with the deficit proposal was pushed back to Friday to allow panel members to review the plan. In order for the Commission to submit its report to Congress, 14 of the 18 members need to vote in its support.

The plan, titled “The Moment of Truth,” calls for cutting $4 trillion from the national debt before 2020 by placing a cap on discretionary spending. The main feature of the plan eliminates expenditures from the tax code, known as “tax earmarks,” which amount to $1.1 trillion a year.

Other recommendations include raising the Social Security retirement age, reducing tax rates and cutting government spending.

Senators Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Judd Gregg of New Hampshire voiced support for the proposal, saying “the fiscal course of the country requires their support.” However, several other members of Congress voiced opposition to the plan, including Reps. Schakowsky, Ryan, and Hensarling.

Military Policy

In Washington

Don't Ask, Don't Tell Hearings Begin on Capitol Hill

Don't Ask, Don't Tell Hearings Begin on Capitol Hill


Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will face questioning on the Pentagon’s review of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing today.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ), the ranking member on the committee, has been critical of efforts to repeal the ban.

The 10-month review, released on Tuesday, supports Sec. Gates’ efforts to overturn the current 17-year-old law, which bans gay, lesbian or bisexual service members from serving openly in the military. It includes a survey of service members on the perceived impact of lifting the ban and concludes that lifting the policy will not negatively affect military operations,

Tomorrow the committee will get personal views from the chiefs of staff of the Army, Air Force and the Navy, as well as the commandants of the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard.
Oil Commission looks into  Safety and Regulatory oversight of  Deepwater Drilling

Oil Commission looks into Safety and Regulatory oversight of Deepwater Drilling


The high-level commission determining the cause of the BP oil spill meets for a sixth meeting today to discuss the root causes of the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion and options to guard against and mitigate the impacts of future spills.

The seven-member oil spill commission will hear day-long presentations today from various experts on the safety culture of the offshore drilling industry as well as the regulatory oversight. In an afternoon session the panel will listen to speeches about drilling in the Arctic along with a discussion on oil spill response.

The commission staff released preliminary reports last week concluding that the federal government was not prepared to provide sufficient cleanup supervision and the oil industry was also unprepared to respond to a deepwater oil blowout.

The BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling commission was created by President Obama in May, to make recommendations on how to prevent and mitigate the impact of any future spills that result from offshore drilling.

Recent Programs

Senate Commerce Cmte. Hearing on Health Mini-Policies The Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing on so-called mini health insurance policies. These policies pay for basic medical expenses, but also include strict spending caps. Once those caps are reached, patients must pay for medical expenses out-of-pocket. Witnesses at this hearing include the Chief Human Resources Officer of McDonald’s, which offers its employees mini insurance policies.
Washington, DC : 1 hr. 56 min.
watch Hearing on Mini-Policies
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