Beltway Insider: Clinton to Testify; December Job Numbers; Lawmakers Buy Time with Soft Deal; Sandy Hook Students Back

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The Obama White House, led by Vice President Biden, and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, rejoiced over bi-partisan deal that averted the possibility of a fiscal cliff tumble and government meltdown.

According to Gallup, President Obama’s job approval, over the past week, again dropped two percentage points, to 52% of those polled approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness again increased two percentages point to 42%.

Averting the Fiscal Cliff

Lawmakers came together over the New Year’s Holiday and voted on the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 a skeletal relief package created to avert a full scale tumble over the Fiscal Cliff.

In the last ditch, Hail Mary, move Vice President Biden lead the charge with Minority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell (R. Kentucky) and the bi-partisan effort resulted in a tax compromise for the Obama White House, with taxes increasing only on households with annual incomes levels over $450,000. Unemployment benefits were extended, including the Emergency Benefits in place over the past four years, for one additional year.

The deal which technically averted the disastrous implications associated with the fiscal cliff, which economists warned if the deal had not been brokered the chances of triggering a second more deeper recession were almost certain, did not stop certain automatic tax increases and compromises on both sides of the aisle.

December Job Numbers

December Job Numbers were released and for the fourth straight month the numbers were barely below the critical 8.0% where they had stayed cemented for forty-three straight months.

The economy show small gains in December adding 155,000 jobs and which held the unemployment rate held steady at 7.8%.  12.2 million Americans remain unemployed. The long term unemployed, those who have remained unemployed for 27 weeks or longer remained unchanged at 4.8 million accounting for 39.1% of those unemployed.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also released an overview of the past 12 months calculating the revised unemployment figures adjusting any numbers originally miscalculated. As it was oddly suspect in October, the last jobless numbers released before the November election, the newest statistics did not adjust those numbers upward and they remained accurate as first reported. Additionally, numbers from January 2012 through August 2012 remained above the 8.0% mark with only a single month, November, adjusting up from 7.7% to 7.8%.  

Clinton Will Testify on Benghazi Terror Attack

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was released from a New York Hospital this week after doctors held her for observation soon after discovering a blood clot had developed stemming from a concussion she received after falling while boarding a plane.

It had earlier been speculated the departing Clinton would not be testifying in the attack on the Libyan Embassy that resulted in the death of four Americans including Libyan ambassador J. Christopher Stephens.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee led by Senator John Kerry, who has been nominated to replace Clinton, had initially not expected Clinton, who has stated publically the fault lies fully with her, to face any inquisition over the release false information prior to the November 6, 2012 election, to give testimony.

Secretary of State Clinton’s original statements, strongly condemned these brutal attacks, and attributed them to a video depicting the prophet Muhammad in lewd acts, stating "This is an attack that should shock the conscience of people of all faiths around the world. We condemn in the strongest terms this senseless act of violence and we send our prayers to the families, friends and colleagues of those we have lost," she said. "This was an attack by a small and savage group, not the people or government of Libya.”  


Sandy Hook Students Return to School

Students from Sandy Hook Elementary School returned to classes this week in a nearby town as the former school has remained closed since the December 14 Shootings that left 20 first graders and six education professionals dead in the second worst mass murder in America.

The shooting, which has left a deep wound on all, prompted President Obama to demand his Vice-president, craft a feasible plan to create effective gun control legislation. The President also mandated the Vice President have that plan ready by February, 2013.


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