ThinkFast: June 18, 2010

“Liberal Democrats in the Senate are threatening to vote against energy legislation if it does not address global climate change,” the Hill reports. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) “declined to commit” yesterday to including a climate change provision in the bill, and liberals don’t want a repeat of other major bills, which were watered down by concessions to centrists.

White House climate adviser Carol Browner did not indicate whether the President will push the Senate to embrace a carbon cap. “We need to work on that, and we need to see where members are, and that is what we are going to do in the coming days and weeks,” Browner said. “The president has always been clear about the need to put a cap on carbon.”

BP CEO Tony Hayward “denied any personal responsibility for the decisions that led to the calamitous oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico” while testifying before Congress yesterday. Hayward “repeatedly said” he had no prior knowledge of the well, explaining “he was not present on the drilling rig” at the time, and that he could not “recall reading any of the numerous alarming reports” about problems with the well. Watch a Huffington Post video compilation of yesterday’s hearing.

“Among four pieces of legislation Congress could consider this year, Americans are most supportive of authorizing more economic stimulus spending,” a new USA Today/Gallup poll found. Sixty percent of respondents, including 52 percent of self-described independents, said they would favor “additional government spending to create jobs and stimulate the economy.”


A Pew Research Center of the U.S. and 21 other countries found that “Muslims around the globe remain uneasy about the United States and are increasingly disenchanted with President Obama” suggesting that “his drive to improve relations with the Muslim world has had little impact.” At the same time, America’s image is “far better than it was during much of George W. Bush’s presidency.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently told an Ecuadorian TV network that the Department of Justice “will be bringing a lawsuit” against Arizona over SB-1070, saying President Obama “thinks that the federal government should be determining immigration policy.” The DOJ refused to confirm or deny Clinton’s comments, and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) called the remarks “outrageous.”

A bill to extend unemployment benefits and grant federal assistance to states for Medicaid programs was blocked in a Senate vote last night. The bill received 56 votes, falling short of the 60 needed to invoke cloture. “Tonight, every single Republican voted to deny states critical aid that would keep firefighters, police offices and teachers employed,” said a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV).

As “a pullback of American troops marks a winding down of the war, more and more Iraqis are seeking medical treatment for trauma-induced mental illnesses,” and the Iraqi medical community “is unable to keep up.” Iraq’s psychiatric association told the Washington Post that across Iraq, only “100 psychiatrists are available to serve a population of about 30 million people.”

A new Associated Press-Gfk poll finds public support for President Obama’s health care law “has risen to its highest point to date.” While 45 percent favor the new law and 42 oppose, “that’s a significant change from May, when supporters were outnumbered 39 percent to 46 percent.”


Facing “rebellion” from “conservative Blue Dogs” and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) pulled the DISCLOSE Act from receiving a vote today. The CBC opposed the exemption granted to the National Rifle Association, while the Blue Dogs feared blowback from “high-powered” special interests. Yesterday, public interest groups also objected to the expanded carveout.

And finally: Despite Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) “baffling sinker” and “superb fielding” by Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA), the congressional women’s softball team was unable to beat back the rival press team, who won (13–7) the charity game this week for the Young Survival Coalition, which benefits young women battling breast cancer. According to the Washington Post, “the raucous crowd in the bleachers “included Justice Sonia Sotomayor, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, GOP leader Rep. John Boehner much of the House leadership on both sides.” View pictures from the game here.

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