Covering Washington politics. From our vantage point. One day a time.

Monday, January 28, 2013

A King And A President

It's not too often that you find a king and a president in the same room together, but on Monday at the White House, the East Room featured both.

LeBron James and the 2012 NBA Champions, the Miami Heat, were honored by President Obama in a ceremony that saw the 'king' a bit overwhelmed.

The Miami Heat with President Obama.  Photo/CD Brown.
"I mean, we're in the White House", James said to the laughter of the audience.  " So I mean, we're kids from Chicago and Dallas, Texas and Michigan and Ohio and South Dakota, Miami. And we're in the White House right now. This is like, hey, mama, I made it." 

Not bad for a team the president called "a little up-and-coming basketball team".

The 'up-and-coming basketball team' fended off Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma Thunder, 121-106 in Game 5 of the 2012 NBA Finals to which the president credited himself for their win.

"Now, I’m not trying to take all the credit, Coach, but I think that it’s clear that going up against me prepared them to take on Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook", joked the president.  "It sharpened their skills. It gave them the competitive edge that they needed. And I think part of the reason they came back today is they want another shot at the old guy."

Before visiting the president at the White House, the team and coach visited wounded warriors at Walter Reed Hospital, which head coach Eric Spoelstra called "inspiring".

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra with President Obama.  Photo/CD Brown.
Spoelstra also remarked, "We actually hope that this team serves as an inspiration to the nation of what a group can do when you come together and sacrifice your egos for a greater goal; to come together with a real hard-hat work ethic, and to be able to persevere through adversity and a whole heck of a lot of criticism and still be able to accomplish the ultimate dream."

'Inspiration' Americans are hoping will trickle down to both Republicans and Democrats to get the work done that's needed for the American people.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Women on the Front Lines: Yes We Can!

"We're So Strong"

As the US military prepares to lift the ban preventing women from serving on the front lines of military combat, we're inspired by the words of Ms. Violet Palmer, the first female NBA referee who had these words to say about being a female in her own male-dominated profession.

"I didn't know if they'd talk differently, look at me differently, or if they'd touch me", said Palmer who has been an NBA ref since 1997 of her fellow male referees.

While the NBA and military operations are quite different animals, both surely were met with oppositionary reactions initially, but said Palmer, "I knew if I did my job well, they cynics would be quiet."

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (who is slated to resign from his post this year) said in a statement yesterday, "The department's goal in rescinding the rule is to ensure that the mission is met with the best-qualified and most capable people, regardless of gender."

In agreement is President Obama who showed his support to Panetta saying, "Today, every American can be proud that our military will grow even stronger with our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters playing a greater role in protecting this country we love."   

A few front-line military roles may open to women as soon as this year. Other roles, such as special operations forces, including Navy SEALS and the Army's Delta Force, may take longer to implement.

"This milestone reflects the courageous and patriotic service of women through more than two centuries of American history and the indispensable role of women in today’s military. Many have made the ultimate sacrifice, including more than 150 women who have given their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan—patriots whose sacrifices show that valor knows no gender", the president remarked. 

Stay tuned for more development on this important step in U.S. military history.

Republicans: No Budget. No Pay.

Republicans are pushing their 'No Budget. No Pay' agenda.

In an email that went out yesterday House Republicans state:

"Today the House passed No Budget, No Pay legislation with bi-partisan support. The bill will require the House and Senate each to pass a budget, and Member pay will be withheld if they fail.

The principle is simple: no budget, no pay.

It's time for the Senate to act. It has been almost four years since the Democratic-controlled Senate passed a budget, while our national debt has skyrocketed by over $5 trillion."
Watch their new video "Earning It", about Senate Democrats' failure to do their jobs and pass a budget, says the email.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Chair, House Republican Conference encourages Americans to help them "keep the pressure on the Senate to follow the law and pass a budget".  She also asks her constituents to forward share the above video on their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

She further writes, "American taxpayers deserve better and we must hold them accountable to do their jobs."

After reading that I can invision my 4th grade English teacher asking to whom is she referring?:  American taxpayers? Or someone else? 

American taxpayers, you're being held accountable to do your jobs.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Secretary of State Annoyed With Benghazi Line of Questioning?

Oh, the difference between Eric Holder testifying on Capitol Hill about his role in the 'Fast and Furious' debacle that saw hundreds of guns enter the pipe line of illegal guns being sold on the US streets from Mexican drug cartel seizures, and today's testimony by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

While Holder was timid, evasive and subdued Clinton, during one portion of the questioning today on the Benghazi event that killed a US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, decided she'd had enough of the fervent bombardment and line of questioning from the GOP.

Clinton confessed that she takes full responsibility for not providing the protection needed in the area on the day of September 11, 2012, the anniversary of the 911 attack here in the U.S. She refuted any claims that the administration gave false Intel into why the American people were told several different versions of exactly what happened during the Benghazi attack.

Initially, US Ambassador Susan Rice led the American people to believe that the attack was over a movie that showed disrespect to the Islamic religion by Americans. That story, however, was changed several weeks later after further investigation, which added more criticism over how the incident was handled.

Clinton wanted to move past that repeatedly asked question, in varying ways, by various people and sharply told republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin that it matters not what the precise origins or motives of the attack were, asking him, "What difference, at this point, does it make"? Clinton was instead focusing on making sure an event like the September 11, 2012 event doesn't happen again, and making sure the attackers are brought to justice.

Even still, republicans wanted more answers to concerning questions such as why the requests for more security in the region went unanswered. Mrs. Clinton is back to work after suffering a concussion stemming from a fall she had taken in December of last year. It was later found that she had a blood clot originating from the fall. Her testimony at the Capital had been delayed for several weeks, pending her recuperation.

You can watch today's full testimony below.

Mrs. Clinton is scheduled to meet with President Obama tomorrow where a conversation about her Hill testimony is expected.

Clinton knew of security risk on day of Benghazi attack?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Shall We Dance?

President and Mrs. Obama dance the Inaugural Dance during the Commander in Chief Ball at the DC Convention Center to Jennifer Hudsons' rendition of Al Green's Let's Stay Together.
The First Lady wore a Jason Wu ruby colored chiffon and velvet gown with a handmade diamond embellished ring by jewelry designer Kimberly McDonald. Mrs. Obama's shoes are by Jimmy Choo. At the end of the Inaugural festivities, the outfit and accompanying accessories will go to the National Archives as did her first inaugural gown and shoes.

Side note: Although Jennifer did a fine and wonderful job singing, we still wonder why the Rev. Al Green himself wasn't asked to perform his hit single. We're sure he would have been more than happy to do so.

Inaugural Day Starts With Church

After having visited the Metro A.M.E. Church on Sunday, President Obama and family attend the St. John's Episcopal Church near the White House.

On the day marking the birthday celebration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the president gave his Inaugual Address on the front steps of the Capital Building in front of Congressional members and what looked to be nearly a million American citizens.

"Each time we gather to inaugurate a President we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional, what makes us American is our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

"Today we continue a never-ending journey to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they’ve never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed. And for more than two hundred years, we have. Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together", the president remarked.

Tonight the president and first lady will attend the President In Chief ball at the DC Convention Center.


Tomorrow the president and Vice President will attend the National Prayer Breakfast at the National Cathedral where at the request of the president, Wintley Phipps, CEO & Founder, U.S. Dream Academy and international bass-baritone gospel artist will render his acclaimed rendition of "I Believe" at the 57th Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service at the Washington Cathedral on Tuesday, January 22nd at 10:30 am.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

President Obama Sworn In, A Second Term

President Barack Hussein Obama was sworn in today for a second term as President of the United States. The entire oath ceremony, which took place in the Blue Room of the White House, lasted about one minute. Chief Justice Roberts led the president in reciting the oath.

President Barack Obama takes the oath of office, administered by Judge Roberts.
The president used the Robinson Family Bible. Attending were: Mrs. Marian Robinson — the first lady's mother, Craig Robinson — the first lady's mother' brother, Leslie Robinson — the first lady's niece, Avery Robinson — the first lady's  nephew, Auma Obama — President Obama's sister, Akinyi Manners — Auma Obama's daughter & President Obama's niece, Maya Soetoro-Ng — President Obama's sister, Konrad Ng — President Obama's  brother-in-law married to Maya, Savita Ng — President Obama's niece, Suhaila Ng — the president's niece, Kaye Wilson — Godmother to Sasha &; Malia, a.k.a. "Mama Kaye", Wellington Wilson — Kaye's husband, a.k.a. "Papa Wellington.

On Monday the president will use the bible used by President Lincoln at his first Inauguration, which the President used in 2009, and a Bible used by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Earlier in the day Vice President Joe Biden took the oath of office for a second term. He was also surrounded by his family at the Vice President's residence, the Naval Observatory. Justice Sonia Sotomayor administered the oath. She is the first Hispanic and fourth female judge to administer an oath of office.

Three women have previously sworn-in presidents and vice presidents: Judge Sarah T. Hughes swore-in President Johnson in 1963; Justice Sandra Day O’Connor swore-in Vice President Dan Quayle in 1989; and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg swore-in Vice President Al Gore in 1997.

Vice President Biden used the Biden Family Bible, which is five inches thick, has a Celtic cross on the cover and has been in the Biden family since 1893. Biden used it each time he was sworn in as a US Senator as well as when he was sworn in as Vice President in 2009. His son Beau used it when he was sworn in as Delaware’s attorney general."

The official 57th Inaugural festivities will get under way on Monday on the steps of the Capital building, followed by the Inaugural parade.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

President Obama Unveils His Plan To Curtail US Gun Violence

Now Is the Time.

President Obama unveiled his plan plan to curb gun U.S. violence. 
Speaking today from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOB), the president offered the following conditions: closing background check loopholes to keep guns out of dangerous hands; banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and taking other common-sense steps to reduce gun violence; making schools safer; and increasing access to mental health services.

Highlights of this comprehensive plan include:

 Require criminal background checks for all gun sales.

 Take four executive actions to ensure information on dangerous

individuals is available to the background check system.

 Reinstate and strengthen the assault weapons ban.

 Restore the 10-round limit on ammunition magazines.

 Protect police by finishing the job of getting rid of armor-piercing bullets.

 Give law enforcement additional tools to prevent and prosecute gun crime.

 End the freeze on gun violence research.

 Make our schools safer with more school resource officers and school
counselors, safer climates, and better emergency response plans.

 Help ensure that young people get the mental health treatment they need.

 Ensure health insurance plans cover mental health benefits.

Said the president, "While no law or set of laws will end gun violence, it is clear that the American people want action. If even one child’s life can be saved, then we need to act. Now is the time to do the right thing for our children, our communities, and the country we love."

President Obama and Vice President Biden: America's new gun violence Task Force.

Vice President Joe Biden held meetings earlier this week with several groups in the gun industry as well as makers of video games including Activision Blizzard, Inc. Electronic Arts, E-Line Media Entertainment Software Association Entertainment, Software Ratings Board, Epic Games, Sesame Workshop, and Take-Two Interactive.

The National Rifle Association (NRA) opposes the president’s stance on gun control sighting the recent event where a woman encountering a home invasion was able to thwart her assailant by shooting him with the family’s gun.

The assailant was later arrested.

The NRA used a PSA-style advertisement posing the question, "Are the Obama kids more important than yours?"

The ad further stated that, "Mr. Obama demands the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes, but he is just another elitist hypocrite when it comes to a fair share of security."

The White House called the ad 'cowardly' and 'repugnant'.

President Obama signing 23 Executive orders on gun control. Pictured are gun violence victims and those who wrote the president letters on the subject.
Still, events like the Newton Elementary School massacre aren't enough to stop gun shops from selling guns, or the American people, who believe and emphasize that their 'right to bare arms' Amendment is being trampled upon.

Attending today's event were children who have written the President about gun violence, along with their families; families of Newtown victims; representatives from a broad coalition of stakeholder groups including law enforcement, gun safety advocates, educators, sportsmen, health and philanthropic leaders; Cabinet and administration officials; members of Congress; and people that have used the White House’s We the People online petitions platform to speak out on reducing gun violence.  

"...if there is even one life that can be saved, then we've got an obligation to try", said the president. 

Question:  Many may ask why didn't the 'trying' begin when African American communities across the nation were under seize.  Where was the task force, and executive meetings when little Black kids were under assault in their neighborhoods and schools?

Gun Violence Fact Sheet
Executive Actions To Reduce Gun Violence

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Inauguration Day News and Updates: Apps, Floats, Service

As events continue to get underway for the second Inauguration of President Obama here's a list of additional Inaugural items you need to know.

Chelsea Clinton will serve as Honorary Chair of the 2013 National Day of Service, which will kick off the Second Inaugural weekend of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

“We are thrilled that Chelsea Clinton will play such a critical role in mobilizing Americans across the country to take part in the National Day of Service,” said PIC President and CEO Steve Kerrigan. “Through her work with the Clinton Foundation and her recent efforts to help communities impacted by Hurricane Sandy, Chelsea sets a remarkable example for serving and strengthening our country. As Honorary Chair, she will be instrumental in helping lead the President’s call to service and growing this important tradition.”

Inaugural Smartphone App
First-ever Smartphone app will bring key information about official Inaugural events.

App users will also be able to find their way to official Inaugural events using the app’s unique maps feature, which gets around the problems of data connections by operating offline. The maps include essential information such as event access points, portable toilet locations, and viewing screen locations. From President Obama’s swearing-in ceremony to the Inaugural parade, the maps give users a clear understanding of how to maneuver their way through the city.

Click here to download.  See also

The parade will include eight custom-designed floats commissioned by PIC for the parade. Four floats will represent the First Family and Second Family’s home states, and four floats will honor the extraordinary progress we’ve made as a nation.

The Hawaii State Float – Hawaii is the birthplace of President Obama. The float features a large volcano modeled after the famous Diamond Head Volcano and a tribute to the late Senator Daniel Inouye.

The Illinois State Float – Illinois is the birthplace of First Lady Michelle Obama. The float features American flags, the state flag and a panorama of the Capitol.

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Float – The float’s design features an image of Dr. King and a representation of his quote “out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.”

The Civil Rights Movements Float – The Civil Rights float features images representing historic struggles of many of the civil rights movements in our country. The images represented include Immigration, Women's, LGBT, Civil and Labor Rights. The float also includes Martin Luther King's quote “The Arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice."

The Tuskegee Airmen Float – The float is a tribute to the brave young men who were the first African-American military aviators in the United States Armed Forces. The float features a model North American P-51 Mustang.

The Inaugural Theme, “Our People. Our Future.” Float – The American people are the focus of this float. Riding on the float are the citizen co-chairs for the National Day of Service.

The Pennsylvania State Float – Pennsylvania is the birthplace of Vice President Joe Biden. The float includes a replica of the Liberty Bell and the Pennsylvania State Seal.
The Delaware State Float – Delaware is the home state of Vice President Joe Biden and Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden. The float includes a replica of State Capitol Bell Tower.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Robinson Family Bible To Be Used During 2013 Swearing In Ceremony

On Sunday, January 20, 2013 President Obama will take the oath of office using the Robinson Family Bible. On Monday, January 21, the President will take the oath of office using two Bibles: the Bible used by President Lincoln at his first Inauguration in 2009, and a Bible used by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“President Obama is honored to use these Bibles at the swearing-in ceremonies,” said Steve Kerrigan, President and CEO of the PIC. “On the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, this historic moment is a reflection of the extraordinary progress we’ve made as a nation.”   The Robinson Family Bible was selected specifically for the occasion. The bible was a gift from the First Lady’s father, Fraser Robinson III, to his mother, LaVaughn Delores Robinson on Mother’s Day in 1958. Mrs. Robinson was the first African-American woman manager of a Moody Bible Institute’s bookstore and she used the Bible regularly.
The Lincoln Bible is part of the collections of the Library of Congress and was originally purchased by William Thomas Carroll, Clerk of the Supreme Court, for use during Lincoln’s swearing-in ceremony on March 4, 1861. The Bible itself is bound in burgundy velvet with a gold-washed white metal rim around the three outside edges of both covers, and all of its edges are heavily gilded.

The King Bible was Dr. King’s “traveling bible.” An avid reader who was constantly on the road, Dr. King typically traveled with a selection of books that included this Bible. It was used for inspiration and preparing sermons and speeches, including during Dr. King’s time as pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.

“We know our father would be deeply moved to see President Obama take the Oath of Office using his bible,” Dr. King’s children said today. “His ‘traveling bible’ inspired him as he fought for freedom, justice and equality, and we hope it can be a source of strength for the President as he begins his second term. With the Inauguration less than two weeks away, we join Americans across the country in embracing this opportunity to celebrate how far we have come, honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. through service, and rededicate ourselves to the work ahead.”

Members of the King family will also join Americans across the country to honor the life and legacy of Dr. King by participating in National Day of Service events on Saturday, January 19. Additionally, a float in the Inaugural parade will commemorate Dr. King’s enduring legacy.

On Sunday and Monday, Vice President Biden will be sworn in using the Biden Family Bible, which is five inches thick, has a Celtic cross on the cover and has been in the Biden family since 1893. He used it every time he was sworn in as a US Senator and when he was sworn in as Vice President in 2009. His son Beau used it when he was sworn in as Delaware’s attorney general.
“For decades, the Vice President’s bible has been part of our country’s history,” Kerrigan said. “It will continue to serve not just the Biden family, but the American people as well.”

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Tussauds' Kids' Inauguration Day Activities

Washington, DC is inauguration central as the city welcomes the world for a week of festivities, from presidential exhibits and politically minded restaurant menus to impressive inaugural balls and a parade down Pennsylvania Avenue.

To that end, Madam Tussauds DC will host a special Kids’ Inauguration Day on Saturday, Jan. 19 with family friendly events and interactive activities.

For this and more Inauguration fun visit   Also visit

Friday, January 4, 2013

Supreme Court Justices Selected to Swear-In President Obama, Vice President Biden

The Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) announced that Chief Justice of the United States, John G. Roberts, Jr., will administer the oath of office for President Barack Obama at the Inaugural swearing-in ceremonies on Sunday, January 20 and Monday, January 21, and Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor will administer the oath of office for Vice President Joseph Biden.

“I will be honored to again stand on the Inaugural platform and take part in this important American tradition,” said President Obama. “I look forward to having Chief Justice John Roberts administer my oath of office as we gather to celebrate not just a president or vice president, but the strength and determination of the American people.”

2012 Swearing-in Ceremony.

President Obama followed presidential precedent in choosing the Chief Justice to administer his oath of office. Vice President Biden personally selected Associate Justice Sotomayor, who will be the first Hispanic and fourth female judge to administer an oath of office.

Three women have previously sworn-in presidents and vice presidents: Judge Sarah T. Hughes swore-in President Johnson in 1963; Justice Sandra Day O’Connor swore-in Vice President Dan Quayle in 1989; and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg swore-in Vice President Al Gore in 1997.

"It's an incredible honor to have Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor swear me in,” Vice President Biden said. “I believed strongly that she would make a great Justice, and it was one of the greatest pleasures of my career to be involved in her selection to the Court. From the first time I met her, I was impressed by Justice Sotomayor’s commitment to justice and opportunity for all Americans, and she continues to exemplify those values today. Above all, I’m happy for the chance to be sworn in by a friend – and someone I know will continue to do great things.”

Historically, Inaugural Ceremonies are not held on a Sunday because Courts and other public institutions are not open. This year, in accordance with the requirements of the United States Constitution, President Obama and Vice President Biden will officially be sworn in on Sunday, January 20, 2013. The following day, Monday, January 21, 2013, a ceremonial swearing-in that is open to the public will take place on the West Front of the United States Capitol.

The official swearing-in ceremony on Sunday is being planned by the PIC. The ceremonial swearing-in on Monday is overseen by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) Launches Official Store

Today, the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) launched its online store and announced the upcoming opening of a Washington, DC retail location offering official memorabilia to celebrate the second inauguration of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. These official outlets, offering unique pieces from mugs to t-shirts to blankets, will ensure that every American can celebrate this historic event.

“We are excited to announce the launch of the Presidential Inaugural Committee 2013 Official Store,” said Presidential Inaugural Committee spokeswoman Addie Whisenant. “This inauguration is an historic moment for all Americans to come together and celebrate. Whether it is a tote bag or a sweatshirt, this official memorabilia helps Americans across the country share in this special event.”

In Washington, DC, the Presidential Inaugural Committee will open an official retail location for the local community and those traveling to the nation’s capital for inaugural events. The memorabilia will reflect the PIC’s official theme for the 57th Presidential Inauguration: “Our People. Our Future,” which expresses the belief that this inauguration is not just a celebration of a president, it’s a celebration of the American people.

The retail store will open at 1155 F St. NW later this month. Official PIC merchandise will also be available for sale at select hotels throughout Washington, DC. The PIC operated a similar retail outlet in 2009, also located in downtown Washington, DC.

The PIC also unveiled a special edition poster designed by celebrated artist and long-time supporter Chuck Close.

To visit the online store visit As part of the store’s launch, PIC is offering a 10 percent discount for first-time purchases with promo code “PIC10”.

Welcoming the 113th Congress

With a new presidential term comes new members of Congress.

Vice President Biden swore in new members of the United States Senate at the U.S. Capitol in an official ceremony earlier today.

At 7:00 PM this evening, the Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden will attend an event with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute to welcome new Hispanic Members of Congress. The Vice President will deliver remarks and ceremonially swear in the Hispanic members of the 113th Congress.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus in today's swearing in ceremony

Also today, members of the Congressional Black Caucus took their oath of office during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's swearing in ceremony.

Representative Marcia L. Fudge is the new Chair of the CBC.

House Speaker John Boehner was also sworn in for another term where he can continue to block efforts to move the country forward.

Tough Talk On Fiscal Cliff from President Obama

Democrats and Republicans struck a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff to start 2013 off in promising direction.

The deal prevents rising taxes on the wealthiest two percent of Americans while preventing a middle-class tax hike that could have potential sent the economy in to free fall.

With the current proposal more than 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small businesses will not see their income taxes go up.  Millions of families will continue to receive tax credits and companies will continue to receive tax credits for the jobs that they create. 
Said President Obama, "But I think we all recognize this law is just one step in the broader effort to strengthen our economy and broaden opportunity for everybody.  The fact is the deficit is still too high, and we're still investing too little in the things that we need for the economy to grow as fast as it should."

As it currently stands the bill makes permanent the temporary rates on taxable income at or below $400,000 for individual filers and $450,000 for married individuals filing jointly.  The bill also permanently indexes the Alternative Minimum Tax exemption amount to the Consumer Price Index; extends emergency unemployment compensation benefits and Federal funding for extended benefits for unemployed workers for one year and continues current law Medicare payment rates for physicians' services furnished through December 31, 2013.

Additionally the law, signed by President Obama while vacationing in Hawaii until January 5th, extends farm bill policies and programs through September 30, 2013; and provides a postponement of the Budget Control Act's sequester for two months.

The president also signed into law the "National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013," which authorizes fiscal year 2013 appropriations for Department of Defense programs and military construction, Department of Energy national security programs, and Department of Transportation maritime security programs; authorizes recruitment and retention bonuses, special payments, and other authorities relating to the U.S. Armed Forces; and makes other modifications to national security, foreign affairs, and other related programs. 

National Defense Authorization Act