Sixty-two percent of Americans want to do away with the Electoral College, according to a new Gallup poll. This includes a majority of Republicans, 53 percent of whom want to end the electoral college and decide the presidency by popular vote.
As Republicans block his jobs plan, President Obama will announce a new campaign to create jobs without Congress. The “We can’t wait” campaign will include a series of executive-branch actions to confront housing, education, and other economic problems. He kicks it out off in Las Vegas — ground zero for home foreclosures — to announce new mortgage refinancing rules.
A new Inspector General report found that “only 12 percent of the funds in a State Department program to train police” in Iraq were actually used for that purpose. The report highlights the waste in the $1.1 billion program, which many in the Iraqi government doubt was even beneficial to the country.
Nearly 200 companies and special interest groups have registered to lobby the super committee, as lobbyists try to stave off cuts to various programs. The six-week-old committee, however, has acted largely in secret. Said one lobbyist: “During my 42 years in Washington, this is the most closed-mouth committee that I have seen.”
An increasing number of states are limiting hospital stays for Medicaid patients to as little as 10 days a year in an effort to limit the program’s costs. Advocates for the program, which served 69 million Americans in 2010, say the moves will restrict access to care, inflate hospital costs, and drive up prices for the privately insured.
The U.S. pulled Ambassador Robert Ford out of Syria this weekend due to “credible threats against his personal safety.” Blasting the Syrian regime for leading an “incitement campaign” against Ford amidst an anti-regime uprising over the the last seven months, the State Department stated that it “can’t say when he will return to Syria.”
Despite “robust corporate profits,” many manufacturing companies are planning to cut costs through layoffs and factory closures in anticipation of “slow revenue growth” in 2012. Analysts note that such “precautions” could “spook the market, potentially damping an economic recovery still struggling to gain traction and adding to unemployment rolls just as signs of improvement have begun to emerge.”
The nation’s top business and labor union leaders are coming together to urge Congress to spend on infrastructure. Yesterday on ABC, Tom Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said lawmakers need to make infrastructure a priority if the U.S. is to stay economically competitive.
Much of the aid for struggling homeowners President Obama promised hasn’t been spent to turn around the foreclosure crisis. The Washington Post reports that Obama has spent just $2.4 billion of the $50 billion he pledged would be used to help as many as 9 million homeowners. Only 1.7 million people have benefited from the program, and the housing market remains in turmoil.
And finally: A Republican New Jersey mayor can’t explain why he’s ended up on the website of a rent boy, who claims the politician owes him money.