ThinkFast: January 7, 2011

The Labor Department’s monthly jobs report states that the unemployment rate fell to 9.4 percent in December, a 0.4 percentage point drop. The U.S. economy added 103,000 jobs, slightly less than the 145,000 jobs that some economists predicted. The employment data for October and November was revised upwards to reflect 80,000 more jobs gained.

“A group of Republican lawmakers demanded the repeal of the financial regulatory law” yesterday, led by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). Asked whether the Republican Party as a whole would endorse repeal, a spokesman for RNC chairman Michael Steele said, “That’s something we’ll look at going forward.”

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is considering another run for the presidency in 2012. A source told the New York Post that Giuliani “thinks the Republican race will be populated with far-right candidates like Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee, and there’s opportunity for a moderate candidate with a background in national security.”

President Obama will appoint progressive economist Gene Sperling to be director of the National Economic Council today, where he “will advise on fiscal policy, including issues related to the annual budget, taxes and the domestic entitlement programs — Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — whose growth is driving projections of long-term deficits.” Sperling is a former Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress.


House GOP worked to “stifle action on climate change” by introducing three different bills that limit the powers of the EPA and disbanding a committee on Global Warming. The three bills will delay EPA regulation of carbon dioxide and methane, block funding for agencies dealing with cap-and-trade, and would overturn a Supreme Court ruling submitting greenhouse gases to Clean Air Act regulation.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced yesterday that the Pentagon will cut U.S. ground forces by up to 47,000 troops in 2015. Citing the country’s “dire fiscal situation,” Gates said the military plans to save $150 billion over 5 years, yet, the money saved “will be transferred to other programs, such as buying more drones” and to pay for fuel costs, health care and other bills.  NPR’s top news editor resigned yesterday after an internal review found that the news organization mishandled the firing of news analyst Juan Williams last October. NPR’s board also voted to cancel the annual bonus of NPR’s CEO, Vivian Schiller, who supported Williams’ firing and “made some ill-timed comments about it” at the time.

Today, 33 Republican governors will send a letter to the White House and congressional leaders to overturn the health care law rule to “make it easier for states to cut Medicaid enrollment.” Dubbing the rule preventing states from dropping poor people to receive federal funds “unconscionable,” the governors complained the rule would “force governors to cut other critical state programs.”

And finally: Republicans proudly led a reading of the entire Constitution on the House floor yesterday — except not quite. “During the reading of the Constitution, because of an inadvertent double page turn, Section 4 of Article IV was skipped, as was a part of Article V. (It was entered into the record later.)”

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