Young Voter

Political Quick Hits: March 1st Edition

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

  • The Senate on Tuesday finally confirmed Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense in a 58-41 vote. Hagel, a former Republican Senator from Nebraska, received a lot criticism during his nomination. In the end, however, four Republicans did wind up joining Democrats to confirm Hagel’s nomination. They were: Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, Richard Shelby of Alabama and Rand Paul of Kentucky. (Politico)
  • Also this week on Thursday Jack Lew was sworn in as Treasury Secretary. Lew was a budget expert and former chief of staff for President Barack Obama. He confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday in a 71-26 vote with 20 Republicans voting for him. (Reuters)
  • The House voted on Thursday to pass a Senate-approved version of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said after the vote, “the Violence Against Women Act has long ensured that no woman would ever be forced to suffer in silence in the face of domestic violence and abuse.” The act passed with bipartisan support as 87 House Republicans supported the vote, however, all of the opposing votes also came from Republicans. It now heads to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law. (ABC News)
  • On Wednesday the late civil rights activist Rosa Parks became the first black woman to be honored with a life-size statue in the Capitol. President Obama and congressional leaders joined Parks’ family at the ceremony. Parks helped press forward with desegregation across the country and the passage of the Voting Rights Act, which ironically, is being challenged legally in the Supreme Court this week. Justices of the Supreme Court began hearing opening arguments this week in a challenge to the Voting Rights Act. Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina said, “To honor Rosa Parks in the fullest manner, each of us must do our part to preserve what has been gained, to defend the great documents upon which those gains were obtained, and continue our pursuit of a more perfect union.” (NY Times)
  • Finally, separate bills presented by both Democrats and Republicans meant to avert the forced federal spending cuts failed to pass on Thursday, which was expected. These massive government cuts ($85 billion) are set to start taking effect on Friday as the Senate is expected to adjourn for the weekend. The President is expected to meet with party leaders from both sides on Friday but nothing is expected to come of it. The cuts won’t be widely felt for a few weeks and there is also the looming date of March 27th when the government again runs out of funds to operate. This could get really interesting.  (CNN)