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Political Quick Hits: February 22nd Edition

February 22, 2013 Front Page No Comments

Here’s your weekly quick look at few developing stories in the political arena

  • Former Democratic representative from Illinois Jesse Jackson Jr pleaded guilty on Wednesday to one felony fraud count.  He used $750,000 in campaign money to pay for living expenses and to buy luxury items, such as elk heads and fur capes. It is illegal to use campaign money for personal usage. Prosecutors have recommended that Mr. Jackson receive a sentence of 46 to 57 months in prison, and the federal judge overseeing the case will sentence Jackson on June 28. His wife, Sandi, also pleaded guilty to a charge that she filed false income tax statements. Last summer, Jackson, the son of the Reverend Jesse Jackson, took a leave from congress to seek treatment for a bi-polar disorder. He won reelection this past November, but then resigned citing his health and the federal investigation into his use of campaign money. (NY Times)
  • On March 1st, the automatic government spending cuts known as the sequester will go into effect. Congress should likely still deal with this in the future, but it’s highly unlikely anything will happen before the deadline. While Medicare and Social Security are largely protected from cuts, along with Medicaid and food stamps, many other federal programs will be affected, potentially including federal unemployment benefits. Some of the other programs that will be affected are: military expenditures, teacher layoffs, reduced hours and services at national parks, and even much longer wait times at airports. CNN Money has a good read on how these cuts could affect you and what congress could do about them, and HERE is another article on the 7 spending cuts YOU could really feel the effects of.
  • While Congress isn’t in session again until next week, 15 Senate Republican critics called on Obama this week to withdraw Chuck Hagel’s nomination for Secretary of Defense. They say, “it would be unprecedented for a Secretary of Defense to take office without the broad base of bipartisan support and confidence needed to serve effectively in this critical position.” The Senate is scheduled to vote Tuesday to end the filibuster of his nomination which would then allow a confirmation vote. It is believed Hagel, the former Nebraska Republican Senator, will still be confirmed even with a small number of Republican votes. (CNN)
  • And finally, it looks like Virginia will be the next state to enact a controversial voter ID law.  The Virginia House of Delegates on Wednesday passed a bill bringing the state closer to strict photo ID requirements. Governor Bob McDonnell will now either sign it into law or veto it; it’s not yet known what he will do. If the bill is signed and cleared by the Justice Department under the Voting Rights Act, it would take effect before the 2014 midterm elections. Georgia, Indiana, Kansas and Tennessee also have strict voter id laws, and the states of Mississippi, Texas, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have passed similar laws that are on hold because of either state-level court interventions or a lack of Justice Department approval. (Politico)

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