Beltway Insider: Obama Signs Sequester Cuts; Hagel Confirmed; Brennan Still delayed

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President Obama, after a month of attempts to hammer out a compromise, signed an order beginning automatic, across the board spending cuts, which democrats and republicans insisted they did not want.

According to Gallup, President Obama’s job approval, over the past week, dropped five percentage points, to 47% of those polled approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President rose one percentage points to 45%.

The political chicken game played by Washington law makers resulted in blunt instrument cuts to be forced upon the middle class and those citizens who are least prepared to withstand the beating inflicted upon them by politicians who are more interested in using the ramifications as mile markers in a failed administration.  

The Sequester, which cuts $ 85Billion from the most vulnerable including almost every program President Obama listed in his recent State of the Union address, those he emphatically stated we must protect, will be forced to go without. Head Start programs, Senior Meals on Wheels programs, Food subsidy programs, will all suffer deep cuts. Federal employees will be forced to take extended furlough, forced unemployment, possibly up to one month or more, without pay. Defense programs will be cut; federal courts may be reduced to a four day work week.  

The sequester which had been expected to be averted, as most believed lawmakers had the best interest of people who elected them into office in mind, are effective immediately.

Chuck Hagel Confirmed as Secretary of Defense

Charles Timothy “Chuck” Hagel was confirmed, this week as Secretary of Defense.  Hagel, who received the lowest amount of support votes, replaces the outgoing Leon Panetta who is leaving his post to retire.

Nominated in January by President Obama, Hagel, a highly decorated Vietnam veteran, has a long history of government service, including two terms as a republican Senator from Nebraska. grueling difficult tough

 Hagel’s confirmation hearings were arduous as he was grilled over political statements, motivation and meanings. Additionally, his previously stated political positions, which included believing in pro with Hezbollah and other anti-democratic and anti-Israel, became core issues in the two month long confirmation hearing process.

While widely considered the most qualified candidate for the position, Republican senators opposed the appointment and increased pressure on the already grueling hearings which included a 7 ½ hour senate interview, and ended more than once on a sour note with republican senators successfully launching a filibuster as well as cloture, which basically equates to a special vote that ends the debate and allows the confirmation vote to be called. Hagel was confirmed with 58-41 vote.

Brennan Vote Delayed

Senators postponed the confirmation vote for John Brennan, nominated to head the Central Intelligence agency, until March 5, 2013.

Brennan currently holds the title of Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism and Assistant to the President.

His nomination has been opposed by the ACLU and other monitoring groups who believe he should be more forthcoming with information regarding his CIA activities to confirm those actions were within the boundaries of the law. Brennan is expected to be confirmed.

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