HARDLY WORKING: After the new session of Congress was sworn in on January 3, leaders have decided that members deserve a break from their new job. The House is scheduled to be out of session for 11 weekdays in January while the Senate isn't doing much better at eight weekdays. No Labels has the answer to this problem with our five day work week proposal. This Proposal will have maximize Congress time in session and ensure that they are all in Washington together.
NOMINATIONS IN: President Barack Obama is expected to nominate Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense and John Brennan to direct the CIA today. The confirmation process could drag out over months while their respective departments hang in the balance. However, if Congress passed No Labels' proposal to have all presidential appointments confirmed or rejected within 90 days of the selection, we would know by April 7th if Hagel and Brennan were confirmed or not.
LONG-TERM SOLUTIONS STILL POSSIBLE? After watching our leaders in Washington consistently fail to reach a long-term solution, some are wondering if those agreements are even possible. Citing failed negotiations on the debt ceiling and fiscal cliff, finger-pointing, growing hyper-partisanship and a lack of leadership, Chris Cillizza says we may never see a long-term solution with across-the-aisle support again. Our elected officials need to remember that they were elected to create solutions -- not punt decisions: Chris Cillizza forThe Washington Post: Are 'grand bargains' still possible?
NO MORE GIANTS: Bob Schieffer remembers a time when Washington knew how to reach across the aisle. Whether it be President Ronald Reagan and Speaker Tip O'Neill working together to reform Social Security or Sens. Sam Nunn and Richard Lugar reducing nuclear weapons threats across the world, our leaders knew that major accomplishments had to be done together. "The rear-view mirror has a way of making things look better, but those things really happened, and we used to say Washington was a place of giants. You don't hear that much anymore," Schieffer says: Bob Schieffer for Real Clear Politics: Washington, Once Home To Bipartisan Giants
WORKING QUIETLY: Members of the House and Senate are crafting spending bills in hopes of avoiding a government shutdown, set to occur early this year. While this is a positive step, Erik Wasson notes, "No work has been started to craft bills to avoid a debt default, or avoid a sudden across-the-board spending cut in government defense and non-defense spending looming by the end of February." Hopefully Congress learns that continuously putting off decisions only makes them harder to make: Erik Wasson for The Hill: House and Senate working quietly to avoid government shutdown
CARTOON: It seems that any time our elected officials agree on something, eyes shift to the next crisis a few months away. Check out this cartoon that depicts the vicious cycle: Tom Toles for The Washington Post: Toles Cartoons
THE DAILY BREAK: Ticketmaster created confusion by sending out a link to buy inauguration tickets a day before scheduled. Despite the mistake, those who bought tickets got to keep them: Patrick Gavin for POLITICO: Ticketmaster's inaugural goof
STAT OF THE DAY: U.S. consumers spent an average of $83 a day in December, the highest average spending figure in four years:Jeffrey Jones for Gallup: U.S. Consumer Spending in December Highest in Four Years