Democrats actually win on something: The Senate narrowly passed President Obama’s plan for the Bush tax cuts and defeated the Republican alternative yesterday evening. Democrats successfully extended the cuts on all income below $250,000 a year for one year, while the GOP plan to extend the cuts for all brackets failed. As the Hill notes, “The surprising passage of the bill was a victory for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and the White House,” as most observers did not expect Reid to be able to hold his caucus together.
The bill will never make it through the House, where Republicans have said they won’t support anything that doesn’t extend the tax cuts for wealthy Americans as well, so the vote was mostly for show. But that doesn’t mean it’s without significance, as Greg Sargent explains: “Dems accomplished a key political goal: They managed to separate the battle over the middle class cuts from the battle over the cuts on income just on the top two percent — something Republicans had worked hard to prevent from happening.”
No one likes Mitt Romney: According to the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, the presumed Republican presidential nominee’s unfavorable ratings are higher than his favorable ones — “a trait no other modern presumptive GOP presidential nominee (whether Bob Dole, George W. Bush or John McCain) has shared.” He’ll be the first candidate since 1996 heading into a convention with a net negative rating, including 24 percent who view him “very” negatively.
Romney was a registered lobbyist: The Huffington Post reveals that during the 2002 Olympic game, the former Massachusetts governor registered as a lobbyist in Utah. It’s perhaps no surprise, as Romney brought in a record $1.3 billion in federal dollars for the games, more than any other American Olympics.
Big banker: Break up the big banks: Sanford Weill helped build Citigroup into the behemoth bank that it is today, but he’s now apparently seen the light and is calling for breaking up the “too big to fail” financial institutions. In the interview with CNBC, he declared of big banks, “I am suggesting that they be broken up so that the taxpayer will never be at risk, the depositors won’t be at risk … Mistakes were made.” The Wall Street Journal quipped of his comments: “In a few seconds, Sanford Weill disavowed the work of a lifetime … It was as if Napoleon had called for an end to military conquest.”
Voter ID before the judge: Pennsylvania’s voter ID law went to court yesterday, where civil rights activists are claiming that the laws violate the state constitution’s guarantees on enfranchisement. The first witness was a 93-year-old woman who said the only time she missed her opportunity to vote in her lifetime was earlier this year because of the state’s new voting laws.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia City Paper’s Daniel Denvir reports that as many as 43 percent of the city’s residents may lack the proper IDs needed to vote under the new law.