An unlikely partnership has formed in Washington between Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon and tea party favorite, Rand Paul (R-Kentucky). The bipartisan alliance started slowly, but surely in 2011 when both legislators fought against the reauthorization of the Patriot Act.
“Respect” was the operative word each used when talking about their relationship, but that isn’t to say they’re best buddies. Wyden and Paul still vehemently disagree on many key issues, but the drone topic has seemingly brought disparate ideologies together.
Whether one sees the sequester as a vital first step on the path to reduced government spending or a catastrophic disaster that will cripple the national economy, some states will feel the effects more than others. Business Insider breaks it down based on the amount of federal spending each state receives based on GDP. Virginia is the highest at 19.7 percent and Minnesota is the lowest at 1.8 percent.
Attempts to reform election systems across the country are often met with malaise and sluggish action on the part of incumbent legislators. Montana’s most recent effort to open up their primary system was stalled in the state legislature. From the op-ep:
“But because of the nature of the two-party system, often there is an “anointed” candidate in some heavily Republican or heavily Democratic district who is a shoo-in even before the voters have spoken. And when there are hotly contested races on the other party’s ballot, you don’t have a say in it.”
As more momentum rises behind marijuana legalization, the disparity between state and federal regulations of Cannabis have prompted Attorney General Eric Holder to respond. Even though states like Washington and Colorado have successfully led campaigns to recognize the plant as legal, it remains a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law. The announcement is expected ‘relatively soon’ which likely means early March.
More and more resources are being poured into the Syrian conflict as fewer news stories are reporting on the situation.
“The training mission, already under way, represents the deepest American involvement yet in the Syrian conflict, though the size and scope of the mission is not clear, nor is its host country.”
As war continues in Syria, America’s role in the conflict could spark even harsher international criticism. Although reports insist that only non-lethal resources are being afforded to Syrian rebels, the United States’ ongoing assistance has non-interventionist voices speaking out against current policy in the region.
In the Federal Reserve's semi-annual testimony, Chairman Ben Bernanke restated the usual fare on Fed monetary policy, but seemed to be on the defensive when it came time for questions from Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts). The freshman Senator brought up the federal government's preferential treatment of big banks:
"Last week Bloomberg did the math on it and came up with the number 83 billion dollars that the big banks get in what is essentially a free insurance policy. They borrow cheaper than what the small banks do..."
She continued by pointing out that such an 'insurance policy' should be one the banks pay for, or not benefit from at all. Chairman Bernanke agreed, saying to the Senator, "We should get rid of it."