Calendar confusion? President Barack Obama announced this morning he would meet with congressional leaders on Friday to talk about ways to avoid sequestration, the across-the-board spending cuts causing an uproar in Washington. Won’t it be a little late then? The cuts go into effect automatically at midnight Thursday. The president and his fellow Democrats have described the sequester in apocalyptic terms, but he evidently expects the country to be stable enough for lawmakers to meet in relative safety. Whether they can reach any agreement after a months-long stalemate is much less certain.
On second thought. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie became the second Republican state leader in a week to change his mind about using federal money to expand his state’s Medicaid program. Christie announced his decision on Tuesday during a state budget address. While reiterating his disdain for the president’s Affordable Care Act, Christie said he saw no reason to leave money that could benefit his constituents on the table. Christie’s decision follows Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s similar announcement last week.
No surprise here. Gun control advocates are crowing this morning about former Illinois state Rep. Robin Kelly’s win in the Democratic primary held to pick a replacement for U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who resigned last year amid scandal. Kelly received support from the political action committee founded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a vocal proponent of stricter gun laws. Bloomberg called Kelly’s win “an important victory for common sense leadership.” The National Rifle Association had given her top opponent, former U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson, an “A” rating for her pro-Second Amendment stance. Despite the celebration among the gun-control crowd, Kelly’s win in the staunchly liberal south side of Chicago isn’t much of a surprise. It also isn’t likely to have any effect on the deadlocked national debate on stricter gun-control measures.
Grazie Santo Padre. Pope Benedict XVI gave his final address in St. Peter’s Square today, telling a crowd of about 150,000 he understood the gravity and rarity of his decision to step down before his death. Benedict is the first pope to resign in 600 years. The pontiff also told the crowd he had witnessed joy and light as well as difficult moments during his reign. It seemed, at times, like “the Lord was sleeping” during periods of rough seas and high winds, Benedict said. In response, the faithful gave him a standing ovation and waved banners that said “Grazie Santo Padre!”—Thank you Holy Father.