Yesterday, the majority of Senators voted to pass a background check bill, meant to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. But that majority wasn't enough to reach the 60 vote threshold needed to turn that bill into law. The final vote was 54 to 46. Four Republicans voted to support the background check measure, and four Democrats voted against it.
Yesterday's horrific Boston Marathon bombing left three people dead and at least 154 injured. Eight-year-old Martin Richard was one of the fatalities. CNN reports that of the 154 people hospitalized yesterday, 41 were listed in serious condition and 17 were critical.
Today, the Supreme Court heard arguments on whether human DNA can be patented, and be considered intellectual property. Currently, companies, universities, and other scientific group hold patents on at least 4,000 human genes.
On Thursday, the Senate voted to begin debate on gun-control. The vote marked the first time gun legislation will be argued in the upper chamber since the 1990's. The final vote to begin debate was 68 to 31, with 16 Republicans crossing the isle to allow arguments to proceed.
Yesterday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. As expected, both supporters and opponents of the toxic tar sands project stood their ground in testimony about the effects of completing the pipeline.
President Obama has officially released his fifth annual budget. Once again, the president has put forward a mix of infrastructure spending, investments in education and research, and a plan for additional deficit reduction. Unlike previous budget plans, however, this new proposal offers cuts to Social Security and Medicare, in an attempt to bring Republicans to the negotiating table.
It's one of Republicans' favorite lies – that Americans are burdened with the weight of one of the world's highest tax rates. Unsurprisingly, it couldn't be further from the truth. A new report from Citizens for Tax Justice shows that in 2010, the United States collected less in taxes as a percentage of GDP than all but two industrialized nations that make up the Organization for Economic Development.
Despite the fact that Americans want Medicare and Social Security protected, President Obama has once again included cuts to the vital programs as part of his new budget proposal. As he's done previously, the President has offered up a change to cost of living increases – called the chained CPI – which reduces benefits paid to seniors, veterans, and the disabled.
It looks like President Obama is still open to negotiations with Republican economic terrorists. Details of the president's budget, set to be released April 10th, show that he will offer significant spending cuts to so-called “entitlement programs”- like Social Security and Medicare – in hopes of attaining a “grand” budget bargain with Congressional Republicans.