Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 10:37 am
A group affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement is planning a national conference in Philadelphia this summer. According to the group, which is dubbed "The 99% Declaration," an online election will decide on the 876 delegates — a man and woman from each Congressional district — who will gather in Philadelphia on July 4th.
Of course, the date and place is a nod to the delegates who met in Philadelphia in 1776 to declare independence from the British monarchy, who the founding fathers said had failed to address the grievances of Americans.
A sweeping transportation bill being debated in Congress addresses how to prop up dwindling funds for the nation's aging highways. States with their own budget shortfalls are facing the same challenge. In California, researchers are trying to stretch those resources by developing next-generation pavements that are quieter and more fuel-efficient to drive on.
A few of the political stories worth noting this Friday:
Congressional negotiators reached agreement on extensions of the payroll tax cut as well as federal jobless benefits and a "fix" that would prevent Medicare reimbursements to doctors from being cut. But while the House's Republican leaders and the Senate's Democratic leaders were on board, Senate Republicansn weren't. Votes are expected in both chambers Friday.
Part of President Obama's 2012 re-election strategy was to run against a do-nothing Congress. But congressional Republicans now appear determined to make that approach harder for him by coming to terms on some Democratic priorities.