Reuters blog archive
from Stories I’d like to see:
1. Finding the folks who wrote Obamacare:
As I report a story I am writing about Obamacare, it’s become clear to me that -- as we are already seeing with the controversy over people getting their insurance plans dropped -- there are all kinds of issues related to provisions in the massive law that are bound to get lots more attention once the website is working. A few weeks ago in this column, for example, I mentioned the as-yet-little-noticed high penalties that smokers will have to pay.
As with the smoking penalty, many of these issues are related to narrow provisions that are hard to spot in a 906-page law. But as someone who has now read those 906 pages I can also report that, in addition to the substantive issues likely to become bigger deals as the law is implemented, there are also potholes soon to come because the law is filled with inconsistencies, gaps, and just plain wording errors. More generally, even for legal writing, it’s badly constructed and seems written to torment even someone who is used to reading legislation.
With that in mind, I recently asked a senior Senate staff person who was heavily involved in designing the law who the person or persons who actually wrote it are, and how I might track them down for an interview. His answer: “Senate Legislative Counsel. They don’t talk to anyone.”
Actually, it’s called the Senate Office of the Legislative Counsel. And here’s how it describes itself on its website:
from The Great Debate:
Democrats had one thing going for them in the election this week: Republicans. That kept President Barack Obama's party from faring much worse.
Dissatisfaction with the economy is still very high. In the network exit polls, more than 80 percent of Virginia and New Jersey voters said they were worried about the nation's economy over the next year.
from Reihan Salam:
Next week’s election will be an important one for the future of the GOP. In New Jersey, Republican Gov. Chris Christie is up for re-election, and by all accounts he is set to defeat his Democratic opponent, state Sen. Barbara Buono, by a wide margin. Christie is widely considered a serious candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, and his ability to win support among independents and Democrats in his home state will be a central part of his appeal.
But in Virginia, it increasingly looks as though Terry McAuliffe, an entrepreneur and investor best known as a political ally of former President Bill Clinton, will defeat Ken Cuccinelli, a staunch conservative much admired by the Tea Party right. At least some conservative activists saw Cuccinelli, who as Virginia’s attorney general played a leading role in constitutional challenges against the Affordable Care Act and other Obama administration initiatives, as a potential presidential contender. A bruising defeat against McAuliffe will put an end to such talk.
from The Great Debate:
How often these days do we see a political figure liked by both Republicans and Democrats? Not so often that we should fail to notice.
from Reihan Salam:
Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, has a lot to be happy about. The recent revelation that he had lap-band surgery to gain control of his weight went about as well as could be expected. A less well-liked public figure might have been mocked for taking an extreme step, but Christie’s self-deprecating wit and what at least seems like unrehearsed genuineness and warmth have served as a shield. Like Bill Clinton in his prime, Christie has a mix of great appetite and great energy that Americans find strangely compelling.
And because there are only two gubernatorial elections in 2013, Christie’s bid for re-election is attracting a good deal of national attention, almost all of which has been positive. A new NBC News/Marist poll, released on Wednesday of last week found that Christie has a 69 percent approval rating, and that he leads his most likely Democratic challenger, State Senator Barbara Buono, by 60 percent to 28 percent among registered voters. Among likely voters, Christie’s support increases to 62 percent while Buono’s stays the same.
from Unstructured Finance:
Editor's note: Updated with reason for Christie's visit.
These days it seems New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is everywhere, from TV talk shows and radio appearances to accompanying Prince Harry on a well-publicized tour of the devastated Jersey Shore. So maybe it’s not too surprising he was spotted outside of Goldman Sachs’s Lower Manhattan office Wednesday morning.
Here we go: "Mr. Christie’s office declined to comment on why the gov kept the procedure hidden from the public." nyti.ms/15ydM2c
— Lisa Fleisher (@lisafleisher) May 7, 2013
The largest governor in America, New Jersey’s Chris Christie, was outed this week by the New York Post for undergoing weight reduction surgery. Reuters reports:
The governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, held a press conference on Wednesday in which he excoriated the U.S. Speaker of the House, John Boehner, and other Republicans for failing to hold a vote on Sandy relief this week. With a tone that is rarely heard in national politics, Christie accused the Congressional leadership of his own party of “duplicity” and “selfishness,” according to The New York Times. Meanwhile, New York governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered more tempered comments.
Was Christie’s tirade just common speech for Jersey, or are there other pressures on the governor? New Jersey state revenues are far from the projections that Christie’s administration made. Many, including myself and rating agencies, have said Christie’s revenue projections for fiscal year 2013 were overly optimistic given the economic climate. Meanwhile, Christie barnstormed around the state on his “New Jersey Comeback” tour for months until it was clear that the state was not experiencing a jobs boom. State revenues were already weak. Then Sandy flattened many tax and fee streams.
Cuomo: "New York will get the majority of it."
— Capital Tonight (@CapitalTonight) December 7, 2012
Several days after hurricane Sandy slammed into the tri-state area, President Obama toured the devastated shore with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and promised to deliver support. Last Friday, six weeks after the storm, the White House sent a $60 billion supplemental budget request to Capitol Hill for recovery funds. The request is likely to get tangled up in ongoing budget and debt-limit wrangling and intra-state politics. New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo is already showing some sharp elbows, as seen in the tweet above from his press conference last Friday with New York’s congressional delegation. Take that Chris Christie.
There seems to be a semi-resigned attitude among the senators from the affected states. Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said in a statement:
By Agnes T. Crane
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.
Chris Christie’s budding bromance with Barack Obama may grow even stronger. New Jersey’s Republican governor, who praised the president as they surveyed superstorm devastation together last week, faces a Sandy-related revenue hit that will make it hard to balance the budget, as mandated by the state constitution. That could leave Christie stealing a page from Obama’s election playbook.