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The State of the Union – 01/02/2015

Obama’s Fiscal Budget 2016:

US President Barack Obama will release his budget for fiscal year 2016 this coming week.  Obama has previously announced various future projects and proposals, particularly during his State of the Union Address.  The latest news reported that the President will increase ‘U.S. domestic and military’ spending by 7 percent.  This move would surpass the limits that had been installed as part of the ‘sequestration.’

Reuters reported that the defense spending increase ‘includes $530 billion in non-defense discretionary spending’ and ‘$561 billion in defense outlays.’  These measures would respectively surpass caps by $37 billion and $38 billion.

The news has further aggravated partisan tension and ‘betrayed an unwillingness to seek compromise’ on behalf of the White House.  The Republican response was predictably contrarian and critical.  Cory Fritz, John Boehner’s Communications Director, criticized the reported budget and tax increases by saying that ‘Republicans believe there are smarter ways to cut spending’ and unsuccessfully proposed legislation in the past to this end.  Democrats have voiced wide support for the budget. House Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi claimed the budget would give ‘jobs and opportunities for the middle class.’  Obama will present his budget on Monday 2, February 2015.  The President and Congress have the opportunity to create meaningful and positive change for their citizens through the improvement of infrastructure, the education system and immigrants.  They should focus more on this goal than party politics in the coming debate over the budget. (Information from Reuters and Bloomberg News)

 

Mitt Romney Exits 2016 Republican Race:

The 2016 race for the title of Republican presidential nominee was shaken by Mitt Romney’s departure from the competition.  Analysis of Romney’s official statement strongly suggests that the former presidential contender was deeply divided over his decision.  A Real Clear Politics review of recent polls determined that Romney had a significant lead over other candidates with 20 percent of support.  In comparison, his closest competitor, Jeb Bush had only gained 11 percent.  Romney believed that he would have won the GOP’s nomination but was unable to recreate his image and platform for the subsequent presidential campaign.  He would have faced a ‘difficult test and a hard fight’ against the likely Democratic nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The move has a significant impact on the current political arena as it clarified ‘an emerging Republican field split’ between Jeb Bush, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee.  Bush is considered to gain the most although Romney believed that ‘Bush [could not] defeat Hillary Clinton’ if she were the Democratic candidate.  Although it is still too early to determine exactly who will be chosen, events such as Romney’s departure are important as they demonstrate which runner will be most adept at recovering the newly created percentage points. (Information from Reuters)

 

US-Israeli Troubles:

In President Obama’s recent State of the Union address, he specifically identified the State of Israel as a strong regional ally of the United States.  However, recent clashes have overshadowed friendly relations.  Beginning with Obama’s reported support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opponent during the 2009 election, the two leaders have frequently experienced a troubled relationship.  The latest development saw the White House issue a ‘public rebuke’ of the Israeli ambassador Ron Dermer after he organized an ‘extraordinary’ Congressional appearance for Netanyahu.  The invitation to the joint session was determined a ‘departure’ from protocol by the White House.  It was widely viewed as ‘an unprecedented diplomatic insult.’  As Netanyahu faces an election year in the Knesset it will be important to continue observing developments between the President Obama and the Israeli Prime Minister. (Information from Politico)

 

Super Bowl XLIX:

On a lighter note (although perhaps not for all), this Sunday sees the New England Patriots challenge the current National Football Conference champion Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.  The game will be played in Glendale, Arizona and is one of the most viewed annual sporting events in the world.  Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 Mountain Time Zone on Sunday 1, January 2015.  Go Seahawks! (Information from Wikipedia)

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