December 3rd, 2009
06:00 PM ET

How should Senate address abortion in regard to health care reform?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Abortion is the political hot potato that could derail health care reform entirely.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/03/art.reid.gi.jpg caption="Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid."]

It caused major disagreements in the House - and the Senate is now wrestling with how to address the issue. Democrat Ben Nelson says he will introduce an anti-abortion amendment... and that he won't vote for the health care bill unless this language gets added.

Nelson and others aren't satisfied with Majority Leader Harry Reid's current plan - that is to forbid including abortion coverage as a required medical benefit - but to allow a new government insurance plan to cover abortions and let private insurers that get federal money offer plans that include coverage for abortion.

In the House - a group of anti-abortion Democrats added restrictions that would forbid any health plan that gets federal money from paying for abortions - except in the case of rape, incest or to save the mother's life. Also under the House bill, a new government insurance plan couldn't offer abortions - and women would have to buy separate coverage for abortion services.

Women's rights groups are outraged - as they should be - and vow to keep similar language out of the Senate bill, with hundreds rallying on Capitol Hill yesterday to insist the bill allow coverage of abortion. Those opposed to the House's abortion language say it amounts to "the biggest rollback in a woman's right to choose in three decades."

Others point to the existing Hyde Law - which already prevents government money from being used for abortion, except for the cases mentioned earlier.

Here’s my question to you: When it comes to health care reform, how should the Senate address abortion?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Abortion • Health care
December 3rd, 2009
05:00 PM ET

What can be done to create jobs?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As the White House convenes what it's calling a jobs summit, consider this:

Almost 16 million Americans are out of work, and one-third of them have been unemployed for more than six-months. There are currently six workers competing for every open job. The government releases the November jobs report tomorrow, with unemployment expected to remain at 10.2 percent.

The White House affair is a meeting with business leaders, academics and other experts to come up with ideas on creating jobs.

But Americans have their own ideas on how to get people back to work. A new USA Today/Gallup poll shows 18 percent of those surveyed suggest the best way is to keep manufacturing jobs in the U.S instead of sending them overseas. 14-percent say lower taxes, 12-percent say more help for small businesses, and 10-percent say create more infrastructure work.

Other ideas include reducing government regulation, creating more green jobs, providing more stimulus money, and buying American or raising taxes on imports.

Meanwhile, there are some glimmers of good news:

The Labor Department reports that the number of first-time filers for unemployment fell last week to a near 15-month low.

Also an independent private job placement firm shows the pace of job losses slowing to the lowest level in two years.

But the fact is jobs are a trailing indicator and probably won't show any robust growth for awhile - despite other signs that the economy is in recovery. Also, many experts say a lot of the jobs that have been lost will simply never return.

Here’s my question to you: What can be done to create jobs?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Economy • Unemployment • Unemployment / Economy
December 3rd, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Does W.H. owe explanation about how couple crashed state dinner?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Congress isn't satisfied with the answers they're getting when it comes to the White House "crashers."
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/03/art.salahis.gi.jpg caption="The Salahis are under investigation for allegedly crashing a White House state dinner."]
The Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee says the country is lucky the breach didn't end in a "night of horror." Congressman Bennie Thompson says they still need to talk to the Salahis - who attended the State Dinner without invitations - and to White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers. All three of them refused to appear to today's hearing. Thompson says he's directing the panel to prepare subpoenas for the Salahis.

Republicans are accusing the White House of "stonewalling" in not letting Rogers appear. They want to subpoena her too.

The White House cites separations of power, saying there's a history of White House staff not testifying before Congress; and Senior aide Valerie Jarrett insists there's no need for Rogers to testify because "we think we've really answered the questions fully." Really?

As for the "crashers" – their publicist says they've already provided the committee with information and that there's nothing else they can do to help the inquiry. They claim they broke no laws... and are chalking the whole thing up to "honest misunderstandings and mistakes" made by all parties.

Meanwhile the head of the Secret Service, who did bother to show up at today's hearing, acknowledged mistakes were made - but insisted that the president was never at risk. He suggested that normal procedures were not followed.

After its own review - the White House says at future official events, they'll make sure staff are stationed alongside secret service agents to screen guests

Here’s my question to you: Does the White House owe an explanation about how two people crashed a state dinner?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: White House