Friday, May 29, 2009

The Daily Strike-5/29/09-Five Guys

Good evening and welcome to the Daily Strike. Let's get to the happenings of a humid day in Washington.

THE WHITE HOUSE: President Obama had a busy day today, starting this morning with a press conference to announce the formation of a "cyber security czar." The President claimed that cyber security will protect our nation's telecommunications infrastructure and information systems that have grown crucial to American industry. Sounds like a good idea. The President also announced that the government would be banned from monetary private sector networks. I hope he finds this blog before that policy is implemented.

By far the coolest part of the President's day was a trip to a Five Guys burger joint near Nationals Stadium in Southeast DC. For those of you not familiar with Five Guys, it is a great burger chain with fries made from gourmet Idaho potatoes. The President dropped by with NBC news anchor Brian Williams, who is taping a feature on life in the White House. You should watch this 8 minute video of the two of them. Obama seems so natural and genuine talking to the average patrons. It's a common touch that very few politicians seem to have. He went around the room asking what people did for a living, he took pictures and signed an autograph.

The President then returned to the White House, before heading over to an afternoon meeting with FEMA. The President would be wise to learn a lesson from his predecessor and become quite familiar with emergency procedures. Hurricane season starts on Monday. The President goes to New York City tomorrow to see a Broadway show.

HEALTH CARE REFORM: The other big political news of the day came from the office of ailing Senator Ted Kennedy. The Democrat from Massachusetts, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, has developed a major policy proposal for comprehensive health reform. Kennedy has devoted his life to this cause, and it would bring tears to his eyes to see Obama sign a comprehensive health reform proposal into law. The bill is far more comprehensive than any proposals that have emerged from the Finance Committee, the other major Senate committee with jurisdiction over health care. The proposal creates a public insurance option that would compete with private companies, it would require individuals and businesses to purchase health insurance, and it would make Medicaid available to families making up to 500 percent of the poverty line. This proposal is probably the closest we could get to universal health care.

I'm thrilled about this proposal. It puts some leftward pressure on Max Baucus, the moderate chairman of the Finance Committee. Baucus too supports a public insurance plan, but does not go as far as Kennedy does in offering government-sponsored insurance to families who don't currently have it. Even if Kennedy's bill doesn't become law, it can help frame the debate. If Kennedy can make his bill the "liberal" bill, the self-proclaimed moderates can chip away at something far more ambitious when they inevitably try and water it down. The bill is scheduled to be marked up in mid-June. To me, it would be well worth losing Congress next year if the Democrats could pass Kennedy's version of health reform.

COMMENT OF THE WEEK: Well, we took a break last week, but we won't let you down this week. Our comment of the week comes from "anonymous" who sums up my thoughts on the fact that an unrelated pro-gun measure made it into the Credit Card Bill of Rights.

Anonymous said...

Just a short one - I'm just getting sick of Republicans who could hijack any bills to insert any gun-related provisions/amendments.

Thanks to all of those who have commented in the last couple of weeks. Keep them coming! We'll see you tomorrow night!

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