Since Obamacare was enacted in March 2010, House Republicans have voted dozens of times to repeal it. And no, the Supreme Court decision upholding the sweeping health care act hasn't stopped those efforts. While these kinds of moves are pretty much symbolic at this point, the law's conservatives foes are making one more push that they are pretty sure will finally do the trick. Too bad it won't work.
The socialism-killer, the Obamacare haters say, is the states' power to refuse to set up health insurance exchanges, the online marketplaces where people who don't get insurance through their employer will be able to shop for coverage and pick up federal subsidies to help pay their premiums. If states don't set up their own exchanges—and most Republican governors have already refused to—the federal government will do it for them. Still, conservative news sites and advocacy groups are spreading the word that this spells the end of the Affordable Care Act. "States' Refusal to Establish Exchanges Could Undo Obamacare," says the Daily Caller. "Obamacare in Peril as GOP Governors Refuse to Run State Exchanges," says PolicyMic. The tea party group FreedomWorks has launched a snazzy campaign with a website called BlockExchanges where you can consult an "action map" to find out "where your state stands on resisting the Obamacare exchanges" and join the "last stand in the fight against the Left's health care takeover."
Cendy, an undocumented immigrant, tells her story for The Dream Is Now.
Undocumented immigrants' moment for political agency may have finally arrived. Obama says he will push for comprehensive immigration reform in the first months of his second term, and Republicans—who realize they can't just rely on old white people to win future elections—are praising similar plans. Now, as immigration proposals begin to take shape in Congress, the grassroots are rustling, too. Activists launched a new online campaign on Tuesday, called The Dream Is Now, pushing for the passage of DREAM Act-style legislation to give permanent legal status to undocumented immigrants.
Created by filmmaker Davis Guggenheim and Steve Jobs' widow, Laurene Powell Jobs—both education activists—the campaign's centerpiece is an "interactive documentary," where undocumented young people can "come out" as noncitizens and tell Americans how DREAM Act provisions would affect them. The immigrants, their families, and friends can also post photos and sign a petition to tell Congress to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented youth. The Dream Is Now is alloverthesocialmedias, too (#thedreamisnow).
Servicers, which collect mortgage payments from borrowers and work out terms of a loan, are supposed to explore all alternatives to foreclosure before reclaiming a home, and to give homeowners a fair and clear evaluation process. But as millions of borrowers fell behind on payments in the wake of the financial meltdown, loan servicers got slammed by tons of added legwork and administration, and many more got perverse incentives to fast-track borrowers into default. Some servicers put on a spectacular show of incompetence and outright fraud, routinely losing paperwork, "robo-signing" people into wrongful foreclosures, and locking people out of their houses when the borrowers thought they were on road to loan modification. Much of this is still happening. The new CFPB rules are supposed to help fix it. (A similar set of regulations targeting mortgage lenders was released last week.)
Federal banking regulators have decided it's a bad thing that JPMorgan Chase lost $6 billion on a risky bet last year and failed to close money-laundering loopholes. But that's pretty much all they've decided.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve ordered the bank Monday to fix risk-management failures that led to the massive loss on a trade out of its London office in May 2012, as well as tighten up monitoring of cash transactions that may have allowed suspected terrorists and drug dealers to launder money. But there will be no fines or hard penalties levied for the bank's failures.
The green crowd used to feel pretty rosy about Greece. After former Prime Minister George Papandreou was elected in 2009, he set up a government ministry to study the environment, energy, and climate change, and he talked up initiatives on eco-tourism and renewable energy. But now, after six years of recession, the country has begun buying into several new environmentally damaging development schemes to generate liquidity, the New York Times reports.