ThinkFast: March 18, 2010

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"ThinkFast: March 18, 2010"

In a Washington Post op-ed today, former Democratic congresswoman Marjorie Margolies urges “wavering House Democrats” to vote for health care reform, saying that she doesn’t regret losing her seat after voting for President Clinton’s plan. “I am your worst-case scenario,” she writes. “And I’d do it all again.”

House Democrats acknowledged yesterday that the much-awaited Congressional Budget Office scoring of their reconciliation bill will not come out until sometime today, perhaps sinking chances of a vote on Saturday. The vote on the bill will now most likely occur on Sunday.

Yesterday, Idaho “became the first state to pass a law saying no thanks to part of President Obama’s health care proposal.” Gov. C.L. Otter said the law, which says that Idahoans are “free to choose or decline to choose any mode of securing health care services,” ensures that people are “treated as an individual, rather than as an amorphous mass whose only purpose in this world is to obey federal mandates.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced that, for the first time ever, the United States will submit itself to the “universal periodic review” process of the U.N. Human Rights Council. “We are committed to holding everyone to the same standard, including ourselves,” Clinton said.

The Senate passed its $17.6 billion jobs bill yesterday along a 68-29 vote. The bill includes “a payroll tax break for small businesses and highway funding designed to spur job growth.”

“Labor unions are flexing their muscle this month in scores of protests against the country’s largest banks, which are lobbying heavily to influence financial overhaul legislation.” By March 26, unions will have held about 200 protests aimed at firms like Bank of America, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.

CIA Director Leon Panetta said yesterday that “aggressive attacks against al-Qaeda in Pakistan’s tribal region” have disrupted the terror organization’s “ability to plan sophisticated operations.” “It’s pretty clear from all the intelligence we are getting that they are having a very difficult time putting together any kind of command and control, that they are scrambling,” said Panetta. “We really do have them on the run.”

While large banks have been quick to pay back federal bailout funds, “hundreds of community banks” have yet to return their bailouts. “Many of the community banks still holding aid from the Troubled Assets Relief Program are struggling with losses on real estate development loans.”

And finally: Vice President Biden was a hit at yesterday’s Radio and Television Correspondents’ Dinner, lampooning Liz Cheney, Dick Morris, Fox News, and Eric Massa. Watch highlights here.

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