ThinkFast: December 16, 2009

A Washington Post/ABC News poll finds growing public skepticism over health reform. While a bare majority of Americans still believe government action is needed to control health care costs, “there is minimal public enthusiasm for the kind of comprehensive changes in health care now under consideration.” More than six in 10 Americans favored the Medicare buy-in proposal, however.

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) told The Hill yesterday that he would “have liked to have a stronger healthcare reform bill than the current reform draft.” When asked if he plans to support the Senate bill, he responded, “”I am not making a judgment until I see the CBO numbers and that’s only the beginning.”

B a vote of 412-12, the House yesterday overwhelmingly approvedsanctions legislation aimed at forcing Iran to freeze its nuclear program by depriving the Islamic republic of gasoline.” As The Wonk Room’s Matt Duss has noted, there are few analysts — on the left or the right — who believe these sanctions will be effective.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin responded to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’sdismissal of her views on global warming by blaming his environmental policies for his state’s economic woes.” On her Facebook Page, Palin suggested Schwarzenegger had hamstrung business in order to “act ‘greener than thou‘ when talking to reporters.”

A group of House Democrats, led by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), introduced a comprehensive immigration reform proposal that “would offer a path to legalization for the country’s estimated 12 million illegal immigrants.” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is taking a different approach in the Senate, “quietly trying to build a bipartisan coalition for a measure.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) “has privately told her politically vulnerable Democratic members that they will not vote on controversial bills in 2010 unless the Senate acts first.” After a “bruising” year, Pelosi is “shifting gears” ahead of the 2010 election, saying a vote on immigration reform is not looming.

The D.C. City Council gave its final approval to the legalization of marriage equality yesterday, and Mayor Adrian Fenty plans to sign the bill by the end of the week. The Williams Institute estimates that same-sex marriages will boost D.C.’s economy by $52.2 million over three years. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), who sits on a House subcommittee that oversees D.C., will introduce a bill to fight the measure in January.

Former Colorado Lt. Governor Jane Norton, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, reportedly told a tea party group in Colorado that she wants to eliminate the federal Department of the Education. “It was her opinion that individual states should be responsible for education in the state and the federal government should stay out of it,” one tea partier explained.

The Internal Revenue Service has granted Citigroup a massive tax exemption, allowing it to “retain billions of dollars worth of tax breaks that otherwise would decline in value when the government sells its stake to private investors.” The government agreed to forgo the funds as part of a deal “to wean the company from the massive taxpayer bailout that helped it survive the financial crisis.”

And finally: On Friday, Fox News producer Griff Jenkins took a break from ambushing people and joined the cast of The Nutcracker performed by the Washington Ballet.

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