Democrats, led by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), are pledging to prevent Congress from adjourning for the holidays without an extension in unemployment insurance. “Let me just put it this way: There will be no Christmas for Congress unless there is an extension of the unemployment insurance benefits,” said Harkin.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is warning his party that it risks losing its image as the party opposed to tax increases if it continues its opposition to a payroll tax cut extension. Cantor told members Wednesday that “taxes are a Republican issue and you aren’t a Republican if you want to raise taxes on struggling families to fund bigger government.”
The Federal Election Commission today will consider freshman Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-UT) proposal to add a super PAC component to his leadership PAC. The move would mark another step toward unraveling campaign-finance restrictions that require outside groups to act independently of candidates.
The Labor Department reports that young workers saw the largest spike in employment since the recession began, with 650,000 workers aged 16 to 24 finding jobs in the past three months. Called “the lost generation,” college graduates’ unemployment rate hit a record high last year.
A report from National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) shows that state finances are beginning to improve. The study found that 35 states and Puerto Rico have seen revenue growth or performance attributed to budget strength so far in fiscal 2012. Still, “states are not out of the woods yet, and there are still a number of concerns on the horizon.”
Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I) and Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) asked the federal government yesterday to “reclassify marijuana as a drug with accepted medical uses” so that states that have medical marijuana laws can avoid federal prosecution.
In Egypt, “Islamists claimed a decisive victory on Wednesday as early election results put them on track to win a dominant majority” in the country’s first historic post-Mubarak Parliament. The moderate Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood took 40 percent of the vote, and the more conservative Salifis took an unexpected quarter of the vote.
The federal government is “pursuing charges against individuals at three prominent investment firms, including a large mutual-fund company, in a new phase of a high-profile insider-trading case that has shaken Wall Street, according to people familiar with the matter.” These charges will be filed by mid-December.
Despite President Obama’s veto threat, the Senate moved forward Wednesday on a defense bill that includes controversial provisions for detaining terror suspects. The bill, which contains a provision mandating military detention for terror suspects, passed a procedural vote 88-12, and the Senate is expected to pass it today.
And finally: The Huntsman 2012 girls are at it again, this time bringing “Jon Huntsman back,” to the tune of Justin Timberlake’s “SexyBack,” and calling the rest of the GOP field a “circus act.”