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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Democratic Chatter 2-26-2009

George Wenschhof Bio

Today, President Barack Obama will send his first Budget to Congress - this will be for fiscal year 2010 which begins October 1, 2009. Early reports indicate it will include a 10 year 634 billion health care plan and 537 billion for military spending. has more here.

The President will also be at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina today where he will lay out his U.S. troop withdrawal plan for Iraq. As we indicated yesterday, the plan will call for two-thirds of the troops out in 19 months with a residual force of 50,000 to remain in country. House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calf.) has already said she wants less troops to remain in Iraq.

If you missed President Obama's speech to congress and the nation on Tuesday night, you can watch some of the clips here.


Meanwhile, the House voted yesterday 245-178 to pass a increase in the budget for the remainder of this year - this is a 410 billion budget in spending for the remainder of the current fiscal year which ends September 30 and represents a 8% increase from the previous year. As expected the bill passed mostly along party lines. The Senate still needs to vote on their version. has more here.


In a symbolic move of "I feel your pain", the House voted to freeze pay increases - they automatically receive annual cost-of-living increases every year. Their current annual salary is $174.000. The Senate has yet to vote on freezing their salaries. has more here.


Housing industry continues to suffer - reports out yesterday showed that home prices dropped 18.2% over the last three months of 2008. Since the peak in the second quarter of 2006, home prices are down 26.7%. has more here.

Compounding the problem, the National Association of Realtors reported that sales in January dropped 5.3% to the lowest level since July 1997. has more here.


Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) asks President Obama to define executive privilege - he sent the president a letter yesterday in which he questions the White House appointments of Czars for health care, energy, urban affairs and others. His concern is do these positions have responsibility to Congress or do they fall outside of their scope of power. A good constitution question. President Obama is also facing a decision as to his position pertaining to Karl Rove, the former White House chief of staff for President George W. Bush. Rove is claiming executive privilege while refusing to answer a subpoena from the House Judiciary committee in regard to his role in the firing of 9 U.S. attorneys. has more here.


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