Historic court ruling looms large on the health care law

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling on President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul law will be out within this week that will focus attention again across the streets to Capitol Hill and to what happens next there. This law is deemed to extend the insurance coverage to at least thirty million Americans and help in reshaping the insurance industry that makes up to 18% of the country’s economy.

The court decision is coming four months before the proposed November elections that will mark for the first time in the court’s history, when the court has ruled on a president’s signature legislative accomplishment during the midst of his reelection bid. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -2010 had taken into effect after a century of federal efforts and months of in fighting in the political and policy arenas.

This legislation signed by President Obama contains 2700 pages, nine major sections and 450 of special provisions. The court has put a self-imposed deadline to have all draft opinions to be finished by June.1st and any subsequent concurrences and dissents to be submitted by June.15th. However, nothing is final until the court’s decision is released to the public. It is somehow unclear whether the court’s ruling will be pronounced this week.

Republican budget draws election contrast with Obama

Conservative Republicans controlling the House unveiled a budget blueprint on Tuesday that combines slashing cuts to safety net programs for the poor with sharply lower tax rates in an election-year manifesto painting clear campaign differences with President Barack Obama.

The plan, authored by congressman Paul Ryan, seeks to draw a sharp contrast between Republicans’ vision of a smaller, less-intrusive federal government with that of President Barack Obama, who stresses the importance of social safety nets and emphasizes the positive role government plays in the economy.

The Ryan plan would shrink deficits to $3.13 trillion over 10 years, which is half the size of Barak Obama’s plan. It would make deep cuts to federal employee pensions and to social programs such as food stamps and the Medicaid health care program for the poor and dismantle Obama’s 2010 healthcare reform law.

U.S and U.K to join forces for a strategic release of oil stocks

United States is all set to make a formal request to the United Kingdom, asking them to cooperate with them on the release of government controlled oil reserves in the meeting scheduled to happen on Wednesday at the Washington. It is expected that Britain would respond in the affirmative.

“We didn’t make any decision, this has to be discussed broadly. We’ve got to look at this issue carefully, it’s something worth looking at. In the Short-term should we look at reserves? Yes, we should” said David Cameron.

A detailed agreement is expected by the next few months after which other details like volume, duration and timings would become clear. Heads of both the nations want to see lower oil prices. Washington might approach other countries including Japan, for the same.

White House spokesperson Jay Carney said that Obama and Cameron discussed oil prices but he did not comment if they discussed about the oil reserves. With Obama’s re-election impending around the corner, U.S cannot achieve effective economic recovery with rising oil prices.

Painfully high gas prices could hamper President Obama’s reelection bid.

High gas prices are not welcome in an election year and President Barack Obama has defended his energy policy vigorously, challenging attacks from Republicans, who on their campaign trail are having a field day blaming the President for the high gas prices. Mr. Obama stressed that his policies have reduced America’s dependence on foreign oil to a 16 year low, with net oil imports as a share of total U.S. consumption at 45 percent, from 57 percent when the President took office in 2008, as reported in a study on energy security. This 20 page report highlighted an increase in domestic oil and gas production coupled with steps to enhance fuel efficiency by the Obama administration and a reduction of U.S oil imports from 11 million barrels a day in January 2009 to 8.4 million barrels a day by the end of 2011.

President Obama while visiting the election battleground states of North Carolina and Virginia while saying that some progress has been made, reiterated that the U.S. had to reduce its dependence on foreign oil, stressing that the pain at the pump is a ‘reminder that there’s much more work to do to free ourselves from our dependence on foreign oil and take control of our energy future’.


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