Different faces. “Senate Republican leaders on Thursday rolled out their committee assignments for the new Congress, handing some plum jobs to their four conservative freshmen. . . . Other notable moves: Two senators who served on the 2011 deficit supercommittee, Rob Portman of Ohio and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, will join the powerful Finance Committee. Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia is also a new addition. The panel oversees such issues as taxes and health care.”
Same as what Republicans have been saying. Peter Orszag, former director of the Office of Management and Budget: “I think – my own perspective at least is I think the White House in this second best world won that round, but they, by not insisting that the debt limit be tied that to the package, it’s entirely possible they’re going to win the week and lose the quarter. And we’ll see, you can’t – you don’t know yet until you see how February and March plays out, and I think there’s no doubt that they have somewhat less leverage than they did in the round just completed.”
Different report, but always anti-Israel. “A popular USO port in the Israeli city of Haifa was the center of a bitter dispute over U.S. funding for overseas operations in the late 1980s. Chuck Hagel, the one-time Republican senator from Nebraska who President Barack Obama may nominate as the next secretary of defense, led the controversial charge to shutter the port during his tenure with the organization.”
Same guy who lives in an enormous house and carps about carbon footprints. “Al-Jazeera purchases left wing Current TV, Al Gore pockets millions in oil money.” Should he give back his Nobel Prize?
Different and uplifting start to the Senate. “Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) returned to the Senate on Thursday after nearly a year’s absence. Kirk, who had a stroke in January 2012, walked up the Capitol steps holding a cane and with the help of Vice President Biden and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). Waiting for him at the top was practically the entire Senate — including newly elected senators waiting to be sworn in — members of the Illinois House delegation and Senate staffers.”
Same concern we have voiced. “Robert Lerman at the Urban Institute estimates that many low-income families face a marriage penalty of up to 25 percent. This is because many of our public welfare programs — e.g., food stamps — are cut off for low-income families whose income rises above a certain threshold. And marriage often means a second earner enters the picture, thus disqualifying many low-income couples from means-tested programs. This means that some couples or single mothers have an economic incentive not to get married.”
Different gender balance, but don’t expect any change in the polarized, sloth-like Senate. “Meet the New Class: The Senate Swears in a Historic 20 Female Senators.” The stereotype that women can get along better than men is about to be smashed to smithereens.