New York TimesObama Says Gun Lobby ‘Willfully Lied’ After Senate Vote

Richard Cowan and Rachelle Younglai:

Under the proposal, undocumented immigrants who came to America before December 31, 2011 and stayed continuously could apply for “provisional” legal status as soon as six months after the bill is signed by the president.

But beyond that, they would have to wait a decade or more without receiving federal benefits, while the government meets a host of tough conditions for securing U.S. borders and enforcing current immigration law.

The bill’s sponsors - four Democrats and four Republicans - felt such conditions and enforcement “triggers” to be necessary in order to help it succeed where similar measures have failed, mostly because of opposition to what opponents see as “amnesty” for law-breakers.

Even with the many caveats, the proposal faces months of debate, scores of amendments and potentially significant opposition, particularly in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

Lawrence Lessig: We the People, and the Republic we must reclaim

"

Here’s how: The former Republican vice presidential candidate’s budget eliminates ___ loopholes in the tax code, cutting the ___ and the ____ deductions. It reduces spending on the ____ program by _____ and the _____ program by _____. Retirees would see ____, students would experience ____ and the poor would be _____.


There are so many blanks in Ryan’s budget that it could be a Mad Libs exercise. But this is not a game. It’s black-box budgeting — an expression of lofty aims, with binders full of magic asterisks in lieu of specific cuts to government benefits. If this were a fitness plan, Ryan, a former personal trainer, would be telling Americans that under his revolutionary program, they could lose 50 pounds in 10 weeks without dieting or working out.

"

— Dana Milbank on Paul Ryan’s Magical Budget

Lori Aratani

The nation’s crowded transportation system is already feeling the effect of billions of dollars in automatic federal budget cuts, with long waits at some international airports and signs that cargo may begin stacking up on seaport docks because inspectors are working fewer hours….

The slowdowns are among the first tangible effects of the automatic budget cuts known as the sequester, which began to take effect Friday and will carve $86 billion from domestic and defense programs over the next seven months….

Officials at the National Retail Federation said they have been told that the cutbacks could mean delays of up to five days or more in moving containers through ports. That would mean longer waits for retailers expecting spring merchandise as delays ripple through the transportation system.

Harry Enten in his post, “How polarisation in Washington affects a growing feeling of partisanship”:

The average Democrat was a little north of -0.4 after the 1992 elections and right at -0.4 in the last congress. This percentage has been fairly constant for the past 20 years even when the Democrats won more swing and red districts when they won back the majority from 2007 to 2011.
There has, however, been an increase in partisanship in the house, and it truly is “asymmetrical”. The Republican House caucus has been becoming more conservative every year since 1977, whether or not House Republicans are winning or losing elections. Republicans have climbed from 0.4 on the DW nominate scales after the 1992 elections to near 0.7 in the last congress. That type of charge towards polarization is historically unusual over data that stretches back 130 years.

Harry Enten in his post, “How polarisation in Washington affects a growing feeling of partisanship”:

The average Democrat was a little north of -0.4 after the 1992 elections and right at -0.4 in the last congress. This percentage has been fairly constant for the past 20 years even when the Democrats won more swing and red districts when they won back the majority from 2007 to 2011.

There has, however, been an increase in partisanship in the house, and it truly is “asymmetrical”. The Republican House caucus has been becoming more conservative every year since 1977, whether or not House Republicans are winning or losing elections. Republicans have climbed from 0.4 on the DW nominate scales after the 1992 elections to near 0.7 in the last congress. That type of charge towards polarization is historically unusual over data that stretches back 130 years.

Among the things in the Republicans’ Labor and Health and Human Services Appropriations bill: 

[I]t completely eliminates the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (Sec. 227), and prohibits any patient-centered outcomes research (Sec. 217) and all economic research within the National Institutes of Health (Page 57, line 19).

The Economic Policy Institute discusses the well documented drag public sector cuts are having on the economy. When Republicans (and far too many Democrats) talk about cutting back government spending, this is often the result. If the economy was much stronger, it might not be as alarming but with the weak recovery, why would the government want to put more Americans out of work (and thus reduce their ability to consume and support other jobs) when we don’t need to. 

How many more jobs would we have if the public sector hadn’t been shedding jobs for the last three years?  The simplest answer is that the public sector has shed 627,000 jobs since June 2009.  However, this raw job-loss figure understates the drag of public-sector employment relative to how the economy functions normally.
Over this same period the overall population grew by 6.9 million. In June 2009 there were 7.3 public-sector workers for every 100 people in the US; to keep that ratio constant given population growth, the public sector should have added roughly505,000 jobs in the last three years.  This means that, relative to a much more economically relevant trend, the public sector is now down more than 1.1 million jobs. And even against this more-realistic trend, these public-sector losses are dominated by austerity at the state and local level, with federal employment contributing only around 6% of this entire gap.

The Economic Policy Institute discusses the well documented drag public sector cuts are having on the economy. When Republicans (and far too many Democrats) talk about cutting back government spending, this is often the result. If the economy was much stronger, it might not be as alarming but with the weak recovery, why would the government want to put more Americans out of work (and thus reduce their ability to consume and support other jobs) when we don’t need to. 

How many more jobs would we have if the public sector hadn’t been shedding jobs for the last three years?  The simplest answer is that the public sector has shed 627,000 jobs since June 2009.  However, this raw job-loss figure understates the drag of public-sector employment relative to how the economy functions normally.

Over this same period the overall population grew by 6.9 million. In June 2009 there were 7.3 public-sector workers for every 100 people in the US; to keep that ratio constant given population growth, the public sector should have added roughly505,000 jobs in the last three years.  This means that, relative to a much more economically relevant trend, the public sector is now down more than 1.1 million jobs. And even against this more-realistic trend, these public-sector losses are dominated by austerity at the state and local level, with federal employment contributing only around 6% of this entire gap.

Ezra Klein:

You can argue that the money is better spent on other priorities, or that fewer Americans should have access to Medicaid and food stamps. But that’s the argument we’re having here, and it’s the argument Republicans need to own up to making. Their proposal is to cut services in those areas to fund tax cuts, deficit reduction and defense spending. The Democrats’ proposal is to raise taxes, cut defense spending and do somewhat less deficit reduction to protect programs for the poor and other government services. That’s the choice voters face in 2012. There are no free lunches. Just ask those single mothers in Arizona.

Ezra Klein:

You can argue that the money is better spent on other priorities, or that fewer Americans should have access to Medicaid and food stamps. But that’s the argument we’re having here, and it’s the argument Republicans need to own up to making. Their proposal is to cut services in those areas to fund tax cuts, deficit reduction and defense spending. The Democrats’ proposal is to raise taxes, cut defense spending and do somewhat less deficit reduction to protect programs for the poor and other government services. That’s the choice voters face in 2012. There are no free lunches. Just ask those single mothers in Arizona.

We may not be entitled to our own facts, but we have them

wonklife:

More here.

Of course, the correct answer is Decreased A Little.