Sunday, December 20, 2009

Morning Reading: Let's Make A Deal

The major story from the Hill from the last 24 hours is that the Senate has finally brokered an acceptable deal on the health care bill, winning the vote of the seemingly ultimate wheeler-dealer senator Ben Nelson from Nebraska. Adding more restrictive language on abortion (although not as restrictive as the Stupak amendment from the House bill) and increasing federal aid for Nelson's state, Majority Leader Harry Reid is hoping that he finally has his 60 votes. In my opinion, probably the biggest danger now would be one of the progressives opting to bolt from the bill on principle...but one hopes that they would wait for the actual vote on the bill for that, rather than blocking the cloture vote to end debate. From a progressive perspective, glancing over the summaries in the articles below, the Senate health care bill at its bottom line leaves much to be desired. But it could be a LOT worse, and from a more moderate perspective, this is actually a relatively fiscally responsible way to broaden the pool of individuals covered in the US. No matter what the Republicans (like my senior senator, good ol' Judd Gregg) are saying, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has given this bill the nod that it will actually decrease the deficit over the next twenty+ years.

Check out these articles:
In other interesting reading, the US Census Bureau has released the 2010 Statistical Abstract, and the New York Times has a piece highlighting various odd (and not so odd) bits of information from it, in "Counting Bits of U.S. Life." And-- in an older piece passed along to me by my friend Carolyn B., Nicholas Kristof has a piece on his blog about religion and women. It's a fascinating question, and I will write more on my thoughts on this issue later, but for now, here is a link to "Does Religion Oppress Women?"... and make sure you check out the link to Carter's speech too.

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