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    ‘bipartisanship’



    Last Night’s State of the Union Address

    Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

    John Boehner’s attempts to look enthused, the many faces of Joe Biden, and a plethora of awkward bipartisan interactions were not the only highlights from last night’s State of the Union. President Obama took a more aggressive stance than usual in his annual address. He asserted that the public had voted in favor of his agenda and hinted that he would not be as willing to compromise in his second term.

    The president promised to wind down – by next year — a conflict that has defined my generation. He announced an end to the war in Afghanistan as his headline issue. This spring, he promised, American forces would draw back into a support role and allow Afghan security teams to take over the brunt of the effort. “Beyond 2014, America’s commitment to a unified and sovereign Afghanistan will endure, but the nature of our commitment will change,” the president said. Beyond the war’s end, he claimed, the administration will work with the Afghan government to train its forces, as well as to allow Americans to proceed with counterterrorist efforts focused on al Qaeda.

    As was to be expected, the president allotted much of the hour to speaking about his economic agenda. Most notably, he addressed the subject of minimum wage, an issue frequently neglected over the past few years.  You may see a little extra cash in your pocket at your summer job, as the president plans to advocate for raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 an hour “so that it finally becomes a wage you can live on”.

    As a college sophomore, I am all too familiar with the seemingly unreasonable price tag stuck on a university education and was glad to hear the president address the importance of bringing down higher education costs. Obama highlighted how his administration had used tax credits, grants, and better loans to make college affordable, but noted that taxpayers could no longer bear the burden of “subsidizing higher and higher costs for higher education.” He called upon Congress to improve the Higher Education Act, altering it to account for college affordability and value. Universities would then receive federal aid based on their ratio of affordability to value.

    The president also found time to touch briefly upon reforms that could ease your voting experience come the next election. He announced the creation of a non-partisan presidential Voting Commission designated to improve the American voting process. The Commission would be chaired by top attorneys from both the Obama and Romney campaigns. “When any Americans–no matter where they live or what their party—are denied that right simply because they can’t wait for five, six, seven hours just to cast their ballot, we are betraying out ideals,” Obama said on the right to vote.

    Liza Dee
    Bio:

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    News Round-Up: Monday, January 28, 2013

    Monday, January 28th, 2013

    Senators reach a bipartisan agreement on immigration reform; a nightclub fire in Brazil takes the lives of over 230 people; and Obama praises Hillary Clinton in a “60 Minutes” interview marking her departure as Secretary of State. Meanwhile, SAG Awards winners celebrate; Jennifer Lawrence gets over a major wardrobe malfunction; and Barbara Walters comes down with chicken pox.

    Caitlin + Liza

    CRUCIAL: 

    Senators reach agreement on immigration reform, http://bit.ly/UwahSS
    A bipartisan group of senators has reached an agreement on the structure for an overhaul of America’s immigration system. The deal includes a pathway to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants in the nation and also addresses border security, non-citizen “guest” workers, and employee verification. The plan may have trouble receiving backing from the Republican-controlled House, but nonetheless marks the start of the the largest effort in years to seriously reform America’s immigration system. President Obama will offer his own vision for immigration reform in a speech on Tuesday, which officials expect to overlap significantly with the Senate plan. “What’s changed, honestly, is that there is a new appreciation on both sides of the aisle- including maybe more importantly on the Republican side of the aisle- that we have to enact a comprehensive immigration reform bill,” said Senator John McCain, who played a central role in shaping the agreement.

    Missteps hiked Brazil night club blaze death toll, http://cbsn.ws/VhQF21
    Over 230 Brazilians were killed on Sunday in a Santa Maria nightclub fire that officials believe started when a band’s pyrotechnic show ignited soundproofing in the ceiling. Many young victims were among the dead, including 101 students of the Federal University of Santa Maria. Bouncers initially assumed partygoers were skipping on paying their bar tabs and tried to prevent them from leaving. There was also only one exit through which people could leave. Police have arrested the nightclub owner, a band member, and a person in charge of stage safety in connection with the fire so far.

    Egypt’s leader declares emergency after clashes, http://reut.rs/X1hrgg
    Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi issued a 30-day state of emergency and curfew for three Suez Canal provinces where violent protests have killed 49 since Thursday. Hundreds more were injured in Port Said on Sunday during the funerals for 33 Egyptian protesters killed when locals lashed out in response to an unpopular court decision. Anti-government protestors claim that Morsi has failed to defend the revolution that toppled Mubarek and is not representing all Egyptians. Morsi warned of further punishment if protests continue.

    Obama praises Hillary Clinton in joint interview on ’60 minutes’, http://lat.ms/X5qpZQ
    In a ’60 Minutes’ interview to mark Hillary Clinton’s departure as Secretary of State, Clinton and the president recounted their joint foreign policy accomplishments and expressed gratitude for being able to transform their 2008 political rivalry into friendship. “You know, if the roles had been reversed, I would have desperately have wanted him to be in my cabinet,” said Clinton, who was initially reluctant to accept the high-ranking post offered to her by the president. “By the time Hillary joined the administration, I felt very confident in our working relationship. What did evolve was a friendship,” Obama added. In the interview, the two cited winding down the war in Afghanistan, ousting Qaddafi in Libya, and getting rid of core Al Qaeda leaders as a few of their greatest successes.

    Gun control advocates march as nation reels from school shootings, http://bit.ly/TMIpMh
    Thousands demonstrated in Washington on Saturday as part of a “March on Washington for Gun Control,” calling for tougher gun laws. The marchers rallied for a reinstatement of the federal ban on the sale of military-style semi-automatic rifles, like that used in the Newtown shooting, as well as universal background checks and a ban on sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines. Many demonstrators held up the names of victims killed at Newtown and in other school shootings as they took part in the first major demonstration since the Newtown shooting in December. “Only an outraged public can end the gun violence that has enveloped our country,” said U.S. Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-District of Columbia). “We the people who did not act before, we the people this time will step forward.”

    Iranian state TV says country has successfully sent monkey into space, http://bit.ly/X3oWSk
    Iran announced today that it successfully launched a monkey into space, bringing the nation one step closer toward its ultimate goal of sending an astronaut into space. According to Iran state TV, the monkey was sent on a rocket 72 miles into space and returned safely. Iran has long hoped to send a man into space as part of its ambitious aerospace program, which also includes plans for a new space center. The U.S. remains skeptical of Iran’s intentions, worrying that space program technology could also be used to develop long-range missiles armed with nuclear warheads.

    CULTURAL: 

    SAG Awards 2013: Complete List of Winners, http://bit.ly/WjmIlg

    Jennifer Lawrence dress rips at SAG Awards 2013, http://bit.ly/110frpq

    Best Dressed at the SAG Awards, http://bit.ly/111ySUH

    Barbara Walters- I’ve Got CHICKEN POX!, http://tmz.me/WsGRWc

    Hugh Hefner’s Long-time Secretary Mary O’Connor Dies, http://bit.ly/T0stV1

     

    Liza Dee
    Bio:

    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    Health Summit Smack Down

    Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

    On Thursday, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in Washington, D.C., the White House is hosting the bipartisan health care summit with Congressional leaders from both parties. It is going to be six hours of wonkery, posturing, negotiating, speechifying, and reforming . . . all in the name of making America a better place for you and me (maybe). The summit will be streamed on WhiteHouse.gov – and with chat potential at http://apps.facebook.com/whitehouselive/ – and broadcast on C-SPAN 3. Both parties will stream the event live on their websites and expect a lot of cable news coverage, too.

    Ezra Klein of the Washington Post, who has been following health care reform as closely as anyone (and who is young and very smart, by the way) – just posted his “viewer’s guide” to the summit here.

    Or you can just watch this highly thoughtful preview to get you fired up:

    Tell us: what do you want to see come out of this summit?

    Thomas Bates
    Bio: Thomas is Rock the Vote's Vice President of Civic Engagement.
    @BatesThomas
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com



    Health care reform next steps

    Monday, February 8th, 2010

    The latest news in the health care debate is that President Obama is going to hold a bipartisan summit on February 25th. The half-day event will include Republicans and Democrats and will be televised live.

    What do you think will happen? And what do you think should happen?

    Interestingly, Ezra Klein of the Washington Post has a rundown of the Republican measures that are already in the health care bills that passed the Senate:

    At this point, I don’t think it’s well understood how many of the GOP’s central health-care policy ideas have already been included as compromises in the health-care bill. But one good way is to look at the GOP’s “Solutions for America” homepage, which lays out its health-care plan in some detail. It has four planks. All of them — yes, you read that right — are in the Senate health-care bill.

    Click here to see the rundown of the provisions.

    Thomas Bates
    Bio: Thomas is Rock the Vote's Vice President of Civic Engagement.
    @BatesThomas
    Email the author at: blog(at)rockthevote.com