If you’re waiting and wondering what the future holds for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the answer most likely depends on where you live.
CHIP is a popular, bipartisan program that provides a safety net for nearly 9 million kids in low- and mid-income families. It’s the latest pawn in the Congressional wrangling over health care. Both the Senate and House are debating bills to reauthorize CHIP funding, and both are considering these bills after the Sept. 30 deadline for reauthorization has passed.
“CHIP has always had bipartisan support since it started 20 years ago,” said Jesse Cross-Call, senior policy analyst at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). “So it has really been a surprise that it’s taking this long to get it funded. Congress has never blown past the deadline before, so we’re in uncharted territory.”
Missing the deadline means an estimated 11 states will run out of federal CHIP money by the end of this year, and 32 states are expected to run out of money by March 2018, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Critics of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement — a purported free trade deal between 11 countries, including the U.S., Canada and Japan, which has been in negotiations for some years — have noted that the deal has little to do with free trade. Rather, the TPP is about limiting regulation, helping corporate interests and imposes fiercer standards of intellectual property (to, again, largely benefit corporate interests).
Noam Chomsky has joined the chorus decrying the TPP. On Monday he told HuffPost Live that the deal, which is not yet finalized, is “designed to carry forward the neoliberal project to maximize profit and domination, and to set the working people in the world in competition with one another so as to lower wages to increase insecurity.”
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi rejected early Tuesday morning a 48-hour ultimatum given by the army, throwing Egypt further into political turmoil.
The armed forces said Monday that political powers have 48 hours to meet the people’s demands or it will implement a “road map” for the nation’s future — an announcement Morsi described as confusing while vowing to implement his own plans for national reconciliation.
“It’s a continuation of the power struggle between the military and the presidency,” said Ziad Akl, senior researcher at Cairo’s Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. “The Brotherhood believes that they still have political cards to play, that they still have tools that they can use to pressure the army.”
Akl said the presidency’s statement indicates Morsi, who comes from the Muslim Brotherhood, is buying more time for negotiations and that his political camp is doing its best to resurrect the pro-Islamic discourse.
An Alabama boy was beginning his fourth day of captivity in an underground bunker Friday with a 65-year-old Vietnam veteran who allegedly shot dead a school bus driver, but the five-year-old has received medicine he needs, plus crayons and coloring books.
Hostage negotiators have been talking to the boy’s captor through a lengthy PVC pipe, but there was no sign of progress. Police told Alabama media Thursday that the man has been known to stay in the bunker as long as eight days.
The boy, a 5-year-old named Ethan known to his mother as “Love Bug,” was apparently unharmed, a state senator said Thursday.
His family, which has not spoken publicly since the abduction, was “holding on by a thread,” a state representative told NBC’s TODAY. “We are all just hoping this can come to a safe end,” Rep. Steve Clouse said.
Jimmy Lee Dykes, 65, a Vietnam veteran described by authorities as a loner with anti-government suspicions and by neighbors as a paranoid menace, is suspected of taking the boy after storming his school bus Tuesday afternoon. School bus driver Charles Albert Poland Jr., 66, was slain.
The partisan blame game on the fiscal cliff intensified Thursday, as both parties on Capitol Hill launched last-ditch efforts to shield themselves from voter anger for historic tax hikes and spending cuts poised to take effect in the new year.
As he opened up a rare holiday week session, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid bluntly predicted Thursday it “looks like” the country is headed over the fiscal cliff without a bipartisan deal, seeking to shift the blame to House Republicans for refusing to consider Democratic proposals to extend current tax rates for all but those who make more than $250,000 annually.
Plan B was supposed to have been John Boehner’s masterstroke — and the only legislative tactic protecting him from an embarrassing defeat in fiscal cliff negotiations with President Obama.
But late Thursday, after a brief but contentious meeting with his conference, he announced he’d gambled and lost.
“The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass,” Boehner official statement read. “Now it is up to the president to work with Senator Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff. The House has already passed legislation to stop all of the January 1 tax rate increases and replace the sequester with responsible spending cuts that will begin to address our nation’s crippling debt. The Senate must now act.”
Less than a month before the Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire and significant spending reductions are supposed to go into effect, the Obama White House and congressional Republicans remain far apart in their negotiations. “We’re nowhere, period. We’re nowhere,” House Speaker John Boehner said on FOX yesterday. He also blasted the budget offer that the White House gave to Republicans on Thursday, which included $1.6 trillion in increased taxes and revenues, $400 to $600 billion in spending cuts, and the essential end of Congress’ control over the debt limit.
“I was flabbergasted… I’ve just never seen anything like it. You know, we’ve got seven weeks between Election Day and the end of the year. And three of those weeks have been wasted with this nonsense.”