February 20, 2013
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SmartBrief on Business and Politics

National Pulse
It's shame vs. blame as the "sequester" looms
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The White House is continuing its media offensive as the deadline for automatic spending cuts looms, using a string of local-TV interviews to seek to stoke public anger against Republican lawmakers. GOP leaders countered the president's attempt to shame them into action by seeking to pin blame for the "sequester" on the administration. The spending cuts are "a product of the president's own failed leadership," House Speaker John Boehner declares. Politico (Washington, D.C.) (2/20), The Hill/Blog Briefing Room (2/20), The Wall Street Journal (2/20)
Agenda Items
Ranking the Senate's conservative, liberal lawmakers
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Sen. James Risch of Idaho is the Senate's most conservative lawmaker, and Sens. Tom Udall of New Mexico and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut are tied for most liberal, according to a ranking of lawmakers' voting records. All three are low-profile, recently elected lawmakers who could emerge as key figures in shaping their parties' directions in coming years. National Journal (2/20), National Journal (2/20)
Data Points
Want to retire and keep insurance? Fewer employers say OK
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Source: Face the Facts USA
Companies offering health benefits to their retirees are an increasingly endangered species. In 2011, only 26% of large firms (200 employees or more) offered retirees health insurance. In 1988, it was 66%. Face the Facts USA (2/17)
The Conversation
Daily Chuckle
Happy birthday, Mr. President
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Jimmy Fallon sings a song about the true meaning of Presidents Day: the right to drink to excess on a Sunday night, knowing that you won't be at work the following day. "Great vacation, celebration, destination intoxication, inebriation across the nation," he croons. NBC.com (2/16)
I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty."
-- John D. Rockefeller, American industrialist
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