N2K Top 10: Angry White Males Obsolete?; Sanders Vs. Libya Loans
Friday, April 1, 2011 | 8:08 a.m.
- ANGRY WHITE MALES OBSOLETE? National Journal’s Ronald Brownstein takes a look at the latest Census numbers and concludes that the higher-than-expected growth in the minority population could put some long-time GOP strongholds in play for President Obama. “The evolving demography will change the electoral calculus, at least somewhat, in the vast majority of states,” writes Brownstein. We’ve got a map showing that in some states, Obama can win with less than 30 percent of the white vote.
- SANDERS VS. LIBYA LOANS. The Federal Reserve Board revealed new data about its lending Thursday, including details about several foreign banks who borrowed at its discount window during the financial crisis. One in particular drew the ire of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., one of the central banks’ most committed critics: more than $26 billion lent to an Arab intermediary for the Central Bank of Libya. Sanders also asked why the Libyan-owned bank and two of its branches in New York were exempted from sanctions that the United States “slapped” on other Libyan businesses this month to pressure Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s government.
- ON STANDBY. The United States may be taking on a support role in Libya as NATO assumes the lead of operations, but top Pentagon officials said they have not completely sidelined their fleets of strike and close-air support aircraft. U.S. strike forces are on “stand-by” and available on short notice if they are needed to prevent a humanitarian disaster, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told senators Thursday. But Gates, who is cautious about committing too heavily to the Libya mission, also stressed that he believes NATO allies are capable of continuing strikes on Muammar el-Qaddafi’s military assets.
- INSIDE VOICES. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, in a closed-door meeting Thursday afternoon, told freshman Republicans to “keep up the rhetoric” in the fight over funding the government, arguing Senate Democrats have a weak hand. “The more you keep on them, the more leverage I’ve got,” Boehner told the lawmakers. The speaker’s remarks were audible outside the closed-door meeting and overheard by reporters. Boehner told the members he did not know if a deal on a six-month continuing resolution could be done by next week and noted that many essential government functions would continue under a shutdown. The remarks highlighted the tightrope Boehner is trying to walk as he promotes rhetorical attacks on Senate Democrats while trying to cut a deal with them at the same time. Boehner is also trying to keep the 87 Republican freshmen and other conservatives from opposing a potential final compromise.
- A WOMAN'S WORLD. In key special elections, women are setting the agenda and dominating the markets, Hotline's Jessica Taylor writes today. Leading contenders in special elections in New York and California are all women, and the only former members of Congress defeated in 2010 who seem to want their jobs back are women as well. (So far, ex-Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., has said she'll run again, while Kathy Dahlkemper, D-Pa., is seriously thinking about it). We doubt that the political career of Dina Titus, D-Nev., is over either.
- BACK IN (THE) BLACK. The Treasury Department announced this week that it has officially turned a profit -- $6 billion so far -- from its $245 billion in banking-related investments under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Officials expect a roughly $20 billion haul on those programs when all is said and done, though they project TARP as a whole -- which also includes housing programs and the bailouts of AIG and auto companies -- to take a loss, albeit a far less of one than initially projected.
- UP OR DOWN VOTES. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., true to his word, has allowed an open amendment process so far this year. As a result, the Senate is voting on a host of controversial amendments – health care repeal, blocking EPA from regulating greenhouse gases – on noncontroversial bills. But the wide-open amendment process, while lauded by both sides, also derailed the chamber this week. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., pushing for votes on eight amendments, in particular a ban on ethanol subsides, blocked an agreement setting up closely watched votes on EPA and a controversial health care revenue raiser. As a result, the Senate, with so much to vote on, did absolutely no legislating for most of this week.
- MONEY MANEUVERS. Pentagon officials have cried poverty for months, but it appears the Defense Department can cover the cost of the operation in Libya – which likely now tops $600 million. But doing so may require an army of good accountants; the money maneuvers are more complicated than usual because Defense, like the rest of the federal government, is operating without an appropriation.
- CHILDLESS, COVERAGE-LESS. Arizona made it official on Thursday, proposing a plan to cut back on a state Medicaid program that covers childless adults. Republican Gov. Jan Brewer got notice from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius earlier this year that it was okay to end the waiver program. Arizona also plans to charge smokers a $50 fee to cover Medicaid costs, bringing the total savings under the program to $500 million. That's about half of the state's budget shortfall.
- COMPROMISING EPA? The White House has not yet said whether it supports a Democratic measure limiting the administration’s ability to regulate carbon emissions, even though it has strongly indicated it opposes two other more restrictive amendments. The office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., also declined to comment on whether or not he would oppose policy riders that resembled Dem amendments limiting EPA’s powers.
Today's Need to Know Video: Mike Huckabee and the Prison Band.