Politics In 60 Seconds: What You Need To Know Right Now


Good morning!  Here’s what you need to know:

1. Democrat Kathy Hochul won last night’s special election in New York’s 26th Congressional District.  The vote was viewed by nearly everyone as a rebuke to the House GOP’s plan to “overhaul” Medicare. 

2. Americans are alarmed by the possibility that the debt ceiling will be increased.  They are less alarmed that the United States might default on its obligations if the debt ceiling is not increased. Results of the Washington Post-Pew Research poll are here.

3. The New York Times reports that House Republican leaders “will allow a vote next week on an increase in the federal debt ceiling with no strings attached, in order to see it defeated and show Democrats that no increase in federal borrowing authority can be enacted without significant spending cuts.”

4. Democrats meanwhile have called for an “up-or-down” vote in the Senate on the House Republican budget plan (the so-called “Ryan plan”).  That vote is expected Thursday.  It has no chance of passage.

5. Members of the “Biden” working group said yesterday that negotiations on reducing the federal deficit were proceeding.  Vice President Biden said that revenues (meaning: tax increases) would have to be part of the final mix.  Republicans said no way.

6. A two-hour movie about Sarah Palin will have its premiere in Iowa next month. A  lot of Iowa Republicans think that the release of the movie represents the de facto launch of Mrs. Palin’s presidential campaign. 

7. Florida will be a key state in the 2012 GOP presidential nomination process. Mitt Romney finished second there in 2008 and is considered the front-runner in-state.  But it’s wide open.

8. Single payer health care is advancing through the legislative process in Vermont. The state’s governor has made it the overarching purpose of his tenure.

9. Overall all, states collected 9.1 per cent more in taxes in the first quarter of this year than they did during the same period last year, according to the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government.

10. Southern China is suffering through its worst drought in 50 years. The region is China’s most abundant for agriculture.

11. A leading official at the ECB said that restructuring was out of the question for Greek debt and that the only option that remained was austerity. “Restructuring is not a solution,” he said, “it’s a horror story.”

12. A Syrian facility that was bombed by the Israelis in 2007 was almost certainly a nuclear reactor. It seems “very likely” that the site was being developed with “military aims” in mind.