After 5 yeas and more than 50 votes in Congress, the Republican campaign to repeal the ACA is essentially over. GOP Congressional leaders, unable to roll back the law while President Obama remains in office and unwilling to threaten further shutdowns to pressure the administration, are now focused on other issues, including trade and tax reform. Less noted, senior Republican lawmakers have quietly incorporated many of the law's key protections into their own proposals, including guaranteeing coverage and providing government assistance to help consumers purchase insurance. read more
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, saying that the "American people have the appetite for hard truths," called Tuesday for cutting Social Security benefits and raising Medicare premiums for future upper-income retirees and gradually raising the retirement age by 2 years starting in 2022.
Christie's entitlement plan, which his policy team says would save the country more than $1 trillion over 10 years, is closely aligned with what bipartisan commissions have been suggesting for years. As he did in New Jersey during those first, heady years of his governorship, Christie is taking on a longer-term problem that candidates in either party have historically tried to ignore, mainly because it entails nothing but bad news and thankless choices.
Los Angeles Times Editorial Board: Critics of the preliminary agreement reached last week to place limits on Iran's nuclear program are moving beyond complaints about the terms of the deal to raise peripheral, in some cases non-germane, objections. Some argue that the Islamic Republic doesn't "deserve" an agreement -- or the relief from sanctions that would go with it -- because of its support for militants elsewhere. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu contends that a condition of any deal should be that Iran recognize Israel's right to exist. If a nuclear agreement were a reward for Iranian good behavior across the board -- or if it were a clear first step toward a full rapprochement with the Islamic Republic -- the critics might have a point. But that's not what the agreement is. Rather, it is more narrowly designed to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, a goal that (if it can be achieved) would serve the interests of the whole world, including the United States. read more
The last time an Arab-led force marshaled armies from across the region against a common enemy - Israel -- the result was a resounding defeat that would shape the Mideast for decades to come.
Analysts say the nascent military alliance, whose planned formation was announced over the weekend by Arab leaders meeting in Egypt, could usher in new regional crises and intensify existing ones, sharpening sectarian differences between Sunni and Shiite Muslims and complicating already tangled national conflicts.
In a policy shift, President Barack Obama said Tuesday that he will slow the planned drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and keep the remaining 9,800 troops there through the end of this year, although he still plans to end America's longest war before he leaves office. The Obama administration previously had planned to cut the U.S. military force to about 5,500 troops this year as part of a phased withdrawal of nearly all U.S. troops by the end of next year. But he said he had decided to leave the additional U.S. troops in place this year "so we don't have to go back, so we don't have to respond in an emergency because terrorist activities are being launched from Afghanistan." read more