"ThinkFast: March 31, 2011"
In the “one of the strongest official pronouncements” for labor, the White House said Obama will veto the House’s Federal Aviation Administration bill “if it includes provisions hampering aviation and railroad workers’ ability to unionize.” Obama’s advisers will urge a veto on any bill that “would not safeguard” the ability of “working Americans [to] exercise their right to organize under a fair and free process.”
Anti-union legislation has passed in both houses of the Ohio legislature, effectively crippling collective bargaining rights for public employee unions. Gov. John Kasich is expected to sign the bill in the next couple of days, but Democrats and union leaders are vowing to sponsor a statewide referendum that would overturn the law.
A budget deal may be near, according to Vice President Biden, with the two sides agreeing to $23 billion in additional spending cuts for the rest of the 2011 fiscal year. Details of the cuts could still scuttle the deal, however. A spokesman for Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said “there is no deal until everything is settled.”
Tea Party protesters will rally outside the Capitol today, where they will urge GOP members to “hold their ground on major spending cuts.” GOP Reps. Mike Pence, Steve King and Michele Bachmann will speak to the crowd, but Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH) doesn’t think the rally “will have any effect one way or the other.”
On his show last night, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly criticized guest Donald Trump for embracing the birther myth. “I don’t think you believe that either. You get a lot of attention raising the question,” O’Reilly said. Later, Trump also exposed his Islamophobia, saying, “There is a Muslim problem in the world.”
President Obama signed “a secret presidential finding” authorizing covert operations to aid Libyan rebels. While the White House said “no decision has been made about providing arms to the opposition,” the finding “does prepare for such a contingency and other contingencies should the president decide to go down that road.”
Libyan Foreign Minister “Moussa Koussa resigned from his position and flew to the U.K,” a blow to the Qaddafi government. Despite Koussa’s defection, he will not be exempt from “British and international justice,” said U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague.
The portion of TARP funds “that went to banks has now turned a profit for the federal government,” the Treasury Department said yesterday. The department said “the only lost money from TARP will stem from its foreclosure prevention programs.”
And finally: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia caused a four-car crash outside of Washington, D.C. Tuesday when he rear-ended the vehicle ahead of him on the George Washington Parkway, causing a “chain reaction.” There were no injuries, but Scalia was ticketed for his involvement in the crash. No word on whether he’ll challenge it in court.