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Monday, August 5, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

Sens. McCain, Graham Head to Egypt - At the White House's behest, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) are expected to arrive in Egypt on Monday to meet with the country's interim leaders in an effort to overcome the political stalemate there, CNN reported.
Egyptian foreign affairs spokesman Badr Abdelatty told CNN that McCain and Graham will meet with interim President Adly Mansour, Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and interim Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy.

According to CNN, McCain and Graham are heading to Egypt at the urging of President Barack Obama. The close Republican allies made an unannounced trip to Afghanistan last month to celebrate the Fourth of July with American troops.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns met Monday morning in Cairo with a jailed senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood as part of ongoing mediation efforts to resolve the standoff between the military and supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. has more here.


Foreign Embassies Remain Closed - The State Department announced late Sunday it would extend the closures of 19 foreign embassies across the Middle East and Northern Africa through next Saturday, as the terror threat across the region remained high through the final days of Ramadan.

“Given that a number of our embassies and consulates were going to be closed in accordance with local custom and practice for the bulk of the week for the Eid celebration at the end of Ramadan, and out of an abundance of caution, we've decided to extend the closure of several embassies and consulates including a small number of additional posts,” State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement. has more here.


Battles Continue Over Implementation of The Affordable Care Act -A race to define Obamacare to the masses began today between the stacks at the Centreville Library. Over pizza in Decatur, Texas. And with a glass of wine in Naples, Fla.

Dozens of communities around the country hosted pro-Obamacare events, convened by the president’s foot soldiers at Organizing for Action. The series is the first salvo in what is fixing to be a month of high-stakes health care spin. When Congress returns from its summer recess in early September, there will be less than a month until Obamacare’s most sweeping coverage programs start signing up customers in new health insurance exchanges.

In the meantime, pro- and anti-Obamacare advocates are plotting to fill the silence any way they can. has more here.


Time for a public employee pension reform program - IT isn’t politically feasible for Washington to bail out Detroit, but President Obama and Congress must step in to avert the worst fiscal collapse in urban American history.

They must intervene, because symptoms of the municipal illness that made Detroit, with an estimated $18 billion in liabilities, the largest city in American history to declare bankruptcy are showing up in other cities. Emergency response times are lengthening in cash-starved cities. Libraries, parks and recreation facilities are shortening their hours or closing. Potholes go unfilled, sidewalks unrepaired and trees untrimmed. All that makes urban life rewarding and uplifting is under increasing pressure, in large part because of unaffordable public employee pension and health care costs.

President Obama should propose, and push Congress to establish, a public employee pension reform program, similar to a plan proposed by the economist Joshua D. Rauh, now a professor of finance at Stanford’s business school and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.  The NY Times has more here.


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