This morning, the Labor Department delivered a gloomier economic forecast than had been predicted. 263,000 jobs were lost last month (more than the 216,000 lost the previous month), and the unemployment rate rose to 9.8 percent. Bloomberg writes that the numbers call “into question the sustainability of the economic recovery.”
The Obamas made their pitch for Chicago earlier today in remarks before the International Olympic Committee. “I promise you this,” President Obama said, “the city of Chicago and the United States of America will make the world proud.” The IOC will vote later today, selecting from among Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, and Tokyo.
White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel responded to critics of Obama’s trip to Copenhagen on ABC this morning. “They shouldn’t try to make politics of this. I think they should take some pride in the US’s win, and you know we’ll make sure they get some good seats once Chicago does host the games,” he said.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) there will be a “public option” in whatever health insurance reform bill comes out of Congress. “I believe the public option is so vitally important to create a level playing field and prevent the insurance companies from taking advantage of us,” he said.
“After a marathon session that ran well past midnight,” the Senate Finance Committee finished its work on amendments Friday to Sen. Max Baucus’s (D-MT) health care reform bill. “The committee plans to take a final vote on the legislation next week, after getting a cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office.” Democratic leaders hope the full Senate will begin debate on the legislation this month.
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) joined the Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee yesterday to vote to approve an amendment curb the limits on executive pay at insurance companies. The amendment, introduced by Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), will limit the tax deductibility of compensation for insurance executives to $500,000 a year.
More than 660,000 seniors are expected to lose their Medicare Advantage plans next year as insurers are dropping coverage due to tougher federal requirements. President Obama and Congress have proposed cutting more than $100 billion in payments to Medicare Advantage over the next ten years to help pay for health care reform.
President Obama met with Gen. Stanley McChrystal, his Afghanistan commander, in Copenhagen yesterday “to discuss a possible change in strategy and proposed troop buildup in the eight-year-old war.” The meeting, which was not previously announced, “was the first meeting in person between the two since” Obama named McChrystal to take command in Afghanistan.
Census Bureau Director Robert Groves told CNN yesterday “that there are no plans to adjust the result of the upcoming national count to account for possible undercounting of Latinos or other groups.” “There’ll be no adjustment of this census,” said Groves. “It’s not something you can just do. You have to prepare for it and we don’t have tools to adjust, so we’re not going to adjust this Census.”
And finally: Top Obama economic adviser Austan Goolsbee proved to be a “pretty funny guy” on Wednesday night when he adroitly delivered an 11-minute stand-up comedy routine. Goolsbee mimicked the style of former Saturday Night Live cast member Kevin Nealon, whose “Mr. Subliminal” character seemed to be the inspiration for his performance. “If you think about it, we all want our kids to be educated,” Goolsbee said. “If you have no skills and no education and you don’t know anything, what future do you possible have (Fox News Correspondent).”
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