Good catch last week by Pat Garofalo: House
Speaker John Boehner wants to cut government spending, but it's still difficult
to get him to name any programs that should be slashed. This was a theme during
the campaign and the lame duck session that followed; it remains true now that
he's taken over the House.
Today, U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts will swear in Rep.
John Boehner (R.-Ohio) as the Speaker of the House. That's a routine gig for a
Supreme Court chief justice, but yesterday's was unprecedented: on Boehner's
request, Roberts also swore in the new Speaker's staff.
The big political news this week is yesterday's deal
between the White House and Republican leaders: in exchange for extending the
Bush tax cuts for two years and relaxing the estate tax, Obama got a 13-month
extension of unemployment benefits, a one-year payroll tax decrease and some
additional tax c
A newly elected Republican congressman was
distressed to find out that his government-funded health insurance policy
as a member of Congress won't kick in until February, a month after he is sworn
in. He asked: what could he do for insurance in the meantime?
The religious makeup of the new 111th Congress roughly matches the overall American religious landscape, with overrepresentation among Jews and Mormons, according to a new analysis by the nonpartisan Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Just over half (55 percent) of House and Senate members who took office January 6 are Protestants, compared to 51 percent of the U.S. population.
When it reconvenes, Congress will for the first time include a Muslim, two Buddhists, more Jews than Episcopalians, and the highest-ranking Mormon in congressional history.
Roman Catholics remain the largest single faith group in Congress, accounting for 29 percent of all members of the House and Senate, followed by Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Jews and Episcopalians.
The Supreme Court pleased no one entirely with its mixed decisions in the Ten Commandments cases. That’s generally a sign that the court is doing its job and trying to decide each case on its merits—in this case, ordering that a display of the Ten Commandments be removed from two county courthouses in Kentucky, but allowing a display on the grounds of the state capitol in Texas.