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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

Obama Maintains High Favorability in Latest Poll - Fifty-seven percent of people view Obama favorably in the new Post-ABC survey while 41 percent regard him unfavorably. Those numbers are remarkably similar to the 60 percent favorable/37 percent unfavorable ratings for Obama in Post-ABC polling conducted in late January — just weeks after the president had been inaugurated for a second term.  You can read more here.


Obama Signs Continuing Resolution - President Obama on Tuesday signed the continuing resolution that will keep the government funded through the end of the fiscal year, averting a government shutdown.

The six-month stopgap measure will keep government agencies funded through Sept. 30, maintaining funding at $984 billion. The bill cleared the House last Thursday in a 318-109 vote.

The funding measure includes spending cuts that were part of the sequester — $85 billion in across-the-board cuts implemented earlier this month after lawmakers failed to reach a budget deal. has more here.


Supreme Court Hears DOMA Arguments Today - An 83-year-old former IBM programmer is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a law that cost her more than a quarter of a million dollars and deprived her, and thousands of other gay couples, of federal marriage benefits.
At issue is the Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA, passed by overwhelming margins in both houses of Congress in 1996 and signed by President Bill Clinton. It bars federal agencies from recognizing the validity of same-sex marriages in the states where they are legal.

The arguments are being heard just one day after a challenge to California’s Proposition 8, which put an end to same-sex marriage in that state, was brought to the high court. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court hinted that it might be hesitant to issue any kind of sweeping ruling declaring that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. The justices seemed wary of issuing a broad decision that would apply to any state outside of California.  You can read more here.


Petraeus Apologizes for Affair - In his first public speech since resigning as head of the CIA, David Petraeus apologized for the extramarital affair that “caused such pain for my family, friends and supporters.”
The hero of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars struck a somber, apologetic tone as he spoke to about 600 people, including his wife and many uniformed and decorated veterans, at the University of Southern California’s annual ROTC dinner on Tuesday.

“I know I can never fully assuage the pain that I inflicted on those closest to me and a number of others,” Petraeus said.  The Washington Post has more here.


Support For Gun Violence Legislation Wanes - Two days after 20 first-graders were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in what Obama has said was the worst day of his presidency, he took the podium at the memorial service with a simple message: Americans’ approach to guns was wrong, and it had to change. Too many children had died, and he wouldn’t let more follow them.

And yet more than 100 days later, no bill has passed either house of Congress — and members are now off on a two-week spring break.

Obama may still get a bill, but not like the one he and his allies envisioned in December. There won’t be new bans on assault weapons or high-capacity ammunition magazines. Universal background checks have moved from an assumed yes to a wish list item for gun control advocates. Even a new gun trafficking law — the smallest and weakest of the issues — is not a sure thing to pass the Senate. has more here.


EPA Says More Than Half of U.S. Rivers Unsuitable for Aquatic Life - Fifty-five percent of U.S. river and stream lengths were in poor condition for aquatic life, largely under threat from runoff contaminated by fertilizers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Tuesday.

High levels of phosphorus and nitrogen, runoff from urban areas, shrinking ground cover and pollution from mercury and bacteria were putting the 1.2 million miles of streams and rivers surveyed under stress, the EPA said.

"This new science shows that America's streams and rivers are under significant pressure," Nancy Stone, acting administrator of the EPA's Office of Water, said in a statement.

Twenty-one percent of the United States' river and stream length was in good biological condition, down from 27 percent in 2004, according to the survey, carried out in 2008 and 2009 at almost 2,000 sites.  NBC News has more here.


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