Politics 101 2/24

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Obama backpedals on chained CPI promise

President Obama has released his proposed 2015 budget. Gone are concessions earlier promised such as a chained CPI (Consumer Price Index). The chained CPI was a compromise the White House hoped to make to congressional Republicans that would reduce increases in benefits for Social Security and other government programs.

Republicans see this measure as yet another attempt by the president to push the blame of a debt crisis on the backs on congressional Republicans.

“The one and only idea the president has to offer is even more job-destroying tax hikes, and that non-starter won’t do anything to save the entitlement programs that are critical to so many Americans,” said Speaker of the House John Boehner.

The White House decided the original cuts it had made with Republicans are no longer sustainable. Liberal members of Congress are lining up support for the president’s plan, which will contain $56 billion in increased spending — half on domestic programs and half on defense programs.

“Democrats applaud the president for eliminating chained CPI from his budget, and we look forward to working across the aisle to adopt a responsible fiscal framework,” said Nancy Pelosi, House minority leader.

The government is currently running on a temporary two-year budget plan that passed last month.

Petition seeks to break up California into six states 

A venture capitalist, Tim Draper, is proposing to break up the state of California into six different states. His petition has been given approval to go ahead by California Secretary of State Debra Bowen. If the petition gains the necessary number of signatures it can be put as a proposal to voters as a ballot initiative.

Draper has proposed this initiative due to the social and economic changes in California that have made it “nearly ungovernable.”

According to ABC News, the plan would do the following:

“San Diego and Orange County would make up ‘South California.’ ‘West California’ would include Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, while Bakersfield, Fresno and Stockton would make up the larger ‘Central California.’ San Francisco and San Jose would be in the new ‘Silicon Valley.’ ‘North California’ would include the Sacramento area, and ‘Jefferson’ would be home to the Redding and Eureka areas.”

Draper must collect 807,615 signatures from registered voters by July 18, 2014, in order for the initiative to make the ballot.

Arizona Senate passes controversial religious freedom bill

The Arizona Senate has passed a bill that would permit businesses to refuse services to gays and others based on their religious beliefs. The bill was passed 17-13 with Republicans and Democrats voting down the party line. A bill, which will include the main provisions of the Senate bill, is now headed to the Senate, where it is expected to be approved and sent to the governor for ultimate approval.

The bill was presented in response to a case in New Mexico in which the state’s supreme court voted to make it illegal for a photographer to refuse to take wedding photos for a gay couple, even for religious purposes.

Democrats in the legislature are furious that the bill passed the Senate and cite the bill text as giving ability for anyone to disobey any discriminatory law and call it religious freedom. Sen. Steve Farley was adamant in his belief that this bill will have dire economic consequences for Arizona.

“I think this bill makes a statement … that we don’t welcome people here,” Farley said. “This bill gets in the way. This bill sends the wrong message around the country and around the world.”

Sen. Steve Yarbrough, sponsor of the bill, said this is not the aim of his bill and that the opposition is trying to ignore the bill’s purpose.

“This bill is not about allowing discrimination,” Yarbrough said. “This bill is about preventing discrimination against people who are clearly living out their faith.”

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