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Friday, March 8, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

236,000 Jobs Added, Unemployment drops To 7.7% - Job growth surged last month as auto makers, builders and retailers pushed the unemployment rate to a four-year low.

Employment rose 236,000 last month after a revised 119,000 gain in January that was smaller than first estimated, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 90 economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected an advance of 165,000. The jobless rate dropped to 7.7 percent, the lowest since December 2008, from 7.9 percent. has more here.


Obama Wants Bipartisan Deficit Agreement By End of July - President Obama wants to complete a grand bargain to reduce the deficit by the end of July, an aggressive timeline coinciding with the expiration of the nation’s debt limit.

Obama told a small group of Republican senators who had dinner with him Wednesday evening that a deficit-reduction deal needs to happen in the next four to five months, according to three sources familiar with the meeting. has more here.


Senate Democrats Change House Continuing Resolution Bill - Senate Democrats plan to significantly alter legislation from the House to avoid a government shutdown by tacking on three appropriations bills.

Among other changes, their version of the continuing resolution (CR) would give the Obama administration greater flexibility to carry out this year’s $85 billion spending cut from sequestration.
Rather than give federal agencies blanket authority to pick and choose where to spend money, the bill from Senate Democrats would enhance the “reprogramming authority” of President Obama’s Cabinet.
Agency heads would have the ability to shift their funds between programs, so long as they receive permission from appropriators in Congress.  You can read more here.


Biden To Swear-In Brennan for C.I.A. Director Today - John Brennan has won Senate confirmation to head the CIA after a late struggle that had more to do with presidential power to order drone strikes than with the nominee’s credentials to lead the spy agency.
The vote Thursday was 63-34. Brennan will replace Mike Morrell, the acting CIA director since November.

The vote came after the Obama administration bowed to demands from Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and specified limits on the president’s authority to order drone strikes against American citizens in the United States. has more here.


Obama Highlights International Women's Day - President Barack Obama on Friday issued a statement to commemorate International Women's Day, expressing pride in his administration's efforts to "promote gender equality worldwide."

On International Women’s Day we celebrate the many milestones on the road to gender equality, and recommit ourselves to fight for the rights and opportunities of women and girls around the world.
Empowering women isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s the smart thing to do. When women succeed, nations are more safe, more secure, and more prosperous. Over the last year, we’ve seen women and girls inspiring communities and entire countries to stand up for freedom and justice, and I’m proud of my Administration’s efforts to promote gender equality worldwide.
As a nation, we’ve launched new efforts to promote women’s economic empowerment and political participation, to prevent and respond to gender-based violence, and to strengthen our commitment to helping more women participate in peacebuilding and conflict resolution. We are promoting food security initiatives that recognize the rights and needs of women farmers, and ensuring that women and girls are at the center of global health programs. And we will continue to focus on empowering women and girls at home and abroad.

We’ve also worked with a wide range of partners – from the United Nations and civil society groups to the private sector – to advance this important agenda. Because when it comes to creating a world in which our sons and daughters can reach their potential, we each have a role to play. And we can make even more progress together.


Democratic Senator Carl Levin Announces Retirement - Michigan Democratic Sen. Carl Levin announced Thursday that he will retire at the end of 2014.
The chairman of the Armed Services Committee, first elected in 1978, is the longest-serving senator in Michigan history and will turn 80 before Election Day next year.

In a statement, Levin said the decision not to seek another term was “extremely difficult.” has more here.


Political Races to Watch This Year -  Sean Sullivan and Aaron Blake of The Washington Post handicap the top fice races of the year.  From the congressional election in South Carolina, where Stephen Colbert's sister; Colbert Busch (D) will likley face former disgraced Governor Mark Sanford (R), to the governor's race in Virginia where an entry by Lt. Governor Bill Bolling (R) as an independent could significantly alter the race between Terry McAuliffe (D) and Ken Cuccinelli, this is a fun read.  You can read it here.


Hagel Arrives in Aghanisatn - U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel arrived in Afghanistan on Friday night in his first visit as secretary of defense, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said.


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