Voters’ memo to politicians: We’re angry and fearful, mostly about jobs and the economy. We want tangible solutions, not partisan bickering or intraparty spats. And we’ll vote either party out of office if we don’t think you’re listening.
That’s the latest warning to thousands of candidates who will seek offices low and high in all 50 states next year, when the number of elections will far exceed those held Tuesday.
This week’s message came from New Jersey, Virginia and upstate New York, where restless voters rewarded candidates who focused on jobs and competent-but-restrained government and punished those steeped in drama or making uninspired arguments to continue a string of Democratic governors.
Billed as a way for the government to put more fuel-efficient vehicles on highways, the popular $3 billion Cash for Clunkers program mostly involved swaps of old Ford or Chevrolet pickups for new ones that got only marginally better gas mileage, according to an analysis of new federal data by The Associated Press.
The single most common swap — which occurred more than 8,200 times — involved Ford F150 pickup owners who took advantage of a government rebate to trade their old trucks for new Ford F150s. They were 17 times more likely to buy a new F150 than, say, a Toyota Prius. The fuel economy for the new trucks ranged from 15 mpg to 17 mpg based on engine size and other factors, an improvement of just 1 mpg to 3 mpg over the clunkers.
Despite spending more than twice as much as other developed countries, the United States still lags behind in terms of access and quality, an international survey said Wednesday.
Insurance restrictions and health care costs make US patients more likely than people in 10 other countries to struggle to receive treatment, according to the annual survey of over 10,000 primary care physicians.
“We spend far more than any of the other countries in the survey, yet a majority of US primary care doctors say their patients often can’t afford care,” said lead author Cathy Schoen, senior vice president of the Commonwealth Fund.
Democrats in the House of Representatives scrambled on Wednesday to iron out lingering concerns over abortion in a healthcare reform bill that was headed to a close and potentially historic weekend debate.
House Democratic leaders planned a Saturday vote on the sweeping overhaul, which would launch the biggest changes to the U.S. healthcare system since the creation of the Medicare health program for the elderly in 1965.
“We are on the verge of doing something great,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, told reporters.
But with Republicans united in opposition, Democrats struggled to line up the 218 votes needed to pass the bill. “It’s going to be tight,” a Democratic aide said.
You’re afraid your cancer is back, and a health insurance company just turned you down. Under the health care bills in Congress, you could apply for coverage through a new high-risk pool that President Barack Obama promises would immediately start serving patients with pre-existing medical problems. Wait a second. Read the fine print. You may have to be uninsured for six months to qualify.
“If you are a cancer patient and have cancer now, you can’t wait six months to go into a plan because your condition can go from bad to death,” said Stephen Finan, a policy expert with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. He called the waiting period in the Senate bill “unacceptable.”
Congress is one vote away from sending the president legislation that continues aid to more than a million jobless people and extends tax breaks to hundreds of thousands of prospective homebuyers and struggling businesses.
The legislation, recognizing the lingering distresses of the recession, passed the Senate Wednesday on a 98-0 vote and could come up in the House as early as Thursday, sending it to President Barack Obama for his signature.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said the bill was “vital to Americans who have lost their jobs as a result of the deepest recession in over three-quarters of a century.”
The stars seemed aligned for supporters of gay marriage. They had Maine’s governor, legislative leaders and major newspapers on their side, plus a huge edge in campaign funding. So losing a landmark referendum was a devastating blow, for activists in Maine and nationwide.
In an election that had been billed for weeks as too close to call, Maine’s often unpredictable voters repealed a state law Tuesday that would have allowed same-sex couples to wed. Gay marriage has now lost in all 31 states in which it has been put to a popular vote — a trend that the gay-rights movement had believed it could end in Maine.