The Republican controlled U.S. House of Representatives by a bi-partisan vote of 245-139, has passed the STEM Jobs Act which makes 55,000 additional immigrant visas available to foreigners who have earned advanced degrees from U.S. universities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), to whom U.S. employers have offered jobs. Twenty-seven Democrats joined 218 Republicans in supporting the bill. Five Republicans joined 134 Democrats in voting "no".
The latest fiscal cliff plan from President Obama promised $400 billion in entitlement savings. An analysis by the Washington Post of the likely composition of those "savings" showed that nearly half of those cuts would come from requiring prescription drug rebates in Medicare. That would be a huge mistake for the country's fiscal and physical health.
"So, expect showers and gale-force winds over the next couple of days and don't forget that high-surf advisory is in effect throughout the weekend. We may even see some downed power lines and scattered looting. That's the weather here on Capitol Hill -- now let's go to Brandon with your Congressional traffic report."
On election night 2012 I was in DC doing the rounds of various media outlets. At one stop I found myself in a small cramped office of foreign journalists reporting to countries all over Europe and Asia, some as far as Korea. The conversations in the unventilated suite defaulted into election night chatter: "Two-seventy is impossible without Wisconsin." "Florida has 29 electrical votes, but their demographics are changing." "If Romney wins Ohio, he still needs Pennsylvania, but if Obama wins Ohio he doesn't need Pennsylvania."
So what do you get when you cross a community organizer-turned-president with union thugs? No one is really sure – yet, but one thing is for sure, Congressional Democrats have every reason to be afraid. President Obama's BFFs have them in their sights and promise to strong-arm them into submission should they dare compromise on the fiscal cliff. On MSNBC just before Thanksgiving, United Steelworkers Union boss Leo Gerard said any Democrats compromising with Republicans will suffer the same fate as former senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), the last of a dying breed of moderate Democrats.