By Jason Lange WASHINGTON (Reuters) - There is little evidence that employers are sacrificing full-time jobs by hiring more part-timers or reducing existing employee hours because of the costs of providing health coverage under Obamacare. Conservative Republicans have pointed to the high level of part-time employment as evidence businesses are cutting hours for staff in response to the new healthcare law, which will require them to offer health insurance to full-time workers. And one in five businesses in the service sector think President Barack Obama's signature healthcare reform has hurt employment at their firms over the last three months, a National Association of Business Economics survey showed on Monday. But there is little discernible impact in the employment figures released in recent months, including the September numbers out on Tuesday. The number of people with part-time jobs who want full-time work, for example, was essentially flat in September at 7.9 million. "We are not seeing any effect in the data," Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, told Reuters Insider. Part of the reason may be the White House's decision to delay the beginning of Obamacare's so-called "employer mandate" until January 2015. Under the mandate, which was previously due to take effect in January 2014, firms with more than 50 employees must provide reasonable healthcare insurance to employees who work more than 30 hours a week. Also, the number of part-time workers spiked in 2008, well before Obamacare was enacted, and has been slowly falling as a share of total employment since 2010. In September people working part time because they could not find full-time work made up 5.5 percent of the employed, unchanged from August. The spike in 2008 and the steady drift downward since then suggests the elevated level of part-time workers is more likely due to the economy's weakness. The issue is a sensitive one for the administration, which is also on the defensive over a clunky rollout of a website workers use to navigate the new health insurance landscape created by Obamacare. Many businesses polled by the NABE said they were holding back on hiring due to the costs imposed by the law. The survey also showed 15 percent of service sector firms planned to shift to more part-time workers due to Obamacare. But that may not be translating into hiring decisions. "Health reform's employer mandate is likely to have some effect on hours worked, but it hasn't yet shown up in the data," Paul Van de Water, an analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, wrote in a report this month. Ron Axelrad, chief executive of Access Staffing, which places part- and full-time employees across the greater New York City area, said his firm had been getting a lot of calls from companies six months ago about how to prepare for Obamacare. But the delay of the employer mandate has pushed the issue "out of everyone's mind," he said. "Probably toward the second or third quarter of next year, companies will be very aware again that they have to prepare," Axelrad added. (Additional reporting by Alister Bull in Washington and Steven C. Johnson in New York; Editing by David Brunnstrom and Xavier Briand)
- The Week
In an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Monday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said his caucus won't allow Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to dictate the agenda in the Democratic-led 50-50 Senate or demand an end to the legislative filibuster as a precondition for a power-sharing pact. "We've told McConnell no on the organizing resolution, and that's that. So there's no negotiations on that," Schumer said, suggesting he had a secret plan. "There are ways to deal with him." Maddow included an update when she broadcast the interview Monday night. "While we were airing that right now, and you were watching it, Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell just put out a statement that he is folding on this" and willl "agree to go forward with what Sen. Schumer told him he must," she said. "Sen. Mitch McConnell has caved and Sen. Schumer has won that fight. That was quick. Let's see what else we can do." No sooner has the portion of Rachel Maddow's interview with Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer aired than Mitch McConnell has put out a statement that he is folding, ending the stand-off. pic.twitter.com/9qR1jpKXkf — Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 26, 2021 McConnell said he would allow the Senate to move forward because two Democrats had reiterated their opposition to ending the filibuster, effectively taking that option off the table. Maddow asked Schumer about that, too, and he didn't answer directly. "The caucus is united with the belief that I have: We must get big, strong, bold things done," Schumer said. The Democratic caucus is also "totally united" that "we will not let Mitch McConnell dictate to us what we will do and not do," and "we have tools that we can use," notably the budget reconciliation process," he added. "We will come together as a caucus and figure it out." "We will not let Mitch McConnell dictate to us what we will do and not do." Here's Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer earlier in his interview with Rachel Maddow, talking about the filibuster specifically, and getting things done. pic.twitter.com/xOAKWfe2Fu — Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 26, 2021 Schumer also suggested he is not interested in playing cat-and-mouse with McConnell's Republicans again. Watch below. "We will not repeat that mistake." Senate Majority Leader Schumer cites Obama era lessons in prioritizing legislation over bad faith Republican 'bipartisanship.' pic.twitter.com/gpc1kBP45w — Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 26, 2021 More stories from theweek.comSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorDemocrats are getting Chuck GrassleyedBiden did not, in fact, remove Trump's 'Diet Coke button' from the Resolute Desk, White House clarifies
- Associated Press
The patter of paws is being heard in the White House again following the arrival of President Joe Biden's dogs Champ and Major. Major burst onto the national scene late last year after Biden, then president-elect, broke his right foot while playing with the dog at their home in Wilmington, Delaware. The Bidens adopted Major in 2018 from the Delaware Humane Association.
Venezuela's Juan Guaido is a "privileged interlocutor" but no longer considered interim president, European Union states said in a statement on Monday, sticking by their decision to downgrade his status. The EU's 27 states had said on Jan. 6 they could no longer legally recognise Guaido as after he lost his position as head of parliament following legislative elections in Venezuela in December, despite the EU not recognising that vote. Following the disputed re-election of President Nicolas Maduro in 2018, Guaido, as head of parliament, became interim president.
- NBC News
Tommy Frederick Allan said he took the documents because he is a taxpayer, according to an arrest warrant.
- The Week
Biden did not, in fact, remove Trump's 'Diet Coke button' from the Resolute Desk, White House clarifies
The new Biden administration has yet not disclosed the secrets of Area 51 or explained what the Air Force really knows about UFOs, but it did clarify, at least, the mystery of the vanished "Diet Coke button" former President Donald Trump would use to summon refreshments in the Oval Office. The usher button, as it is formally known, is not gone, even if it is no longer used to summon Diet Cokes, a White House official tells Politico. The White House official "unfortunately wouldn't say what Biden will use the button for," Politico's Daniel Lippman writes, suggesting Biden might summon Orange Gatorade and not the obvious answer, ice cream — or, let's get real, coffee. What's more, there are evidently two usher buttons in the Oval Office, one at the Resolute Desk and the other next to the chair by the fireplace, a former White House official told Politico, adding that Trump didn't actually use the Diet Coke button all that much because "he would usually just verbally ask the valets, who were around all day, for what he needed." In any case, it is not the placement of the button that matters, of course, but how you use it. And Biden will presumably know better than to order ice cream treats during a top-secret national security briefing. More stories from theweek.comSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorDemocrats are getting Chuck GrassleyedTrump himself suggested a former president can be impeached
- Associated Press
A group of U.N experts has criticized Sri Lanka's requirement that those who die of COVID-19 be cremated, even it goes against a family's religious beliefs, and warned that decisions based on “discrimination and aggressive nationalism” could incite hatred and violence. The experts, who are part of the Special Procedures of the U.N Human Rights Council, said in a statement Monday that rule amounts to a human rights violation. “We deplore the implementation of such public health decisions based on discrimination, aggressive nationalism and ethnocentrism amounting to persecution of Muslims and other minorities in the country,” the experts said.
China and New Zealand signed a deal on Tuesday upgrading a free trade pact to give exports from the Pacific nation greater access to the world's second-largest economy. The pact comes as Beijing seeks to establish itself as a strong advocate of multilateralism after a bruising trade war with the United States, at a time when the coronavirus has forced the closure of many international borders. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed the signing of the expanded deal.
- The Week
With former President Donald Trump's Senate impeachment trial looming, several Republicans in the upper chamber are reportedly rallying around the argument that impeaching a president who is already out of office is unconstitutional. As The Dispatch and Politico note, scholars in legal circles that span the political spectrum generally disagree, and Trump himself suggested ex-presidents could be tried a year ago. Per The Washington Post, when Trump was impeached for the first time, he complained that Congress should be going after former President Barack Obama instead over comments he made about health care. "We should impeach him for that," Trump said. "Why aren't we impeaching him?" Some of his staunchest allies in Congress concurred, including Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who stated explicitly in 2019 that former presidents are subject to impeachment. Gaetz didn't change his mind this time around, though he made the case Trump's actions aren't impeachment-worthy. Regardless, the comments raise questions about the sincerity of the argument. Can’t overstate the importance of reporters conveying that this position was fabricated rapidly to give Republican senators dishonest cover to acquit Trump. Clearly evident in the genesis of the talking point. https://t.co/pC0nmIADoP — Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) January 26, 2021 More stories from theweek.comSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorDemocrats are getting Chuck GrassleyedBiden did not, in fact, remove Trump's 'Diet Coke button' from the Resolute Desk, White House clarifies
- The Telegraph
Joe Biden challenged Vladimir Putin over the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, and reports of Russian bounties on the heads of US soldiers in Afghanistan, in their first presidential phone call. Mr Biden also raised concerns about Russian "aggression" against Ukraine, and reaffirmed Washington's "strong support for Ukraine's sovereignty." The US president said he was willing to extend the New START nuclear arms control treaty for five years. Kremlin officials said documents had been exchanged to extend the pact. Mr Biden also raised concerns over Russian cyber hacking, interference in US elections, and treatment of peaceful protesters. Mr Biden made clear he would "act firmly in defence of our national interest in response to malign actions by Russia," the White House said. The Kremlin said Mr Putin told Mr Biden that he supports "normalisation" of relations between their two countries. Mr Putin "noted that the normalisation of relations between Russia and the United States" would benefit "the entire international community," the Kremlin said.
- Yahoo News Video
The House of Representatives delivered to the Senate an article of impeachment against former President Trump on Monday evening.
- Associated Press
The mother of a Tennessee man who authorities say carried flexible plastic handcuffs during the riot at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month can be released from custody, a federal magistrate judge ruled Monday in Tennessee. Lisa Eisenhart is accused of breaking into the U.S. Capitol with her son, Eric Munchel of Nashville, during the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington. Eisenhart poses no flight risk or danger to the public while awaiting trial, Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Frensley ruled.
- The Week
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) will have his work cut out for him as he tries to maneuver through the 50-50 upper chamber. To pass most legislation, he'll need to work with Republicans to get things done, but that won't be easy, especially after he rigorously campaigned against a few of them in recent election cycles, CNN reports. Take, for example, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who ultimately won a hard fought re-election campaign last year against Democratic challenger Sara Gideon. Despite the victory, Collins appears to have taken Schumer's efforts to unseat her personally. "What this campaign taught me about Chuck Schumer is that he will say or do anything in order to win," she told CNN. "It was a deceitful, despicable campaign that he ran." Collins is generally considered one of the more bipartisan voices in the Senate and has crossed the aisle not infrequently throughout her tenure, but those words don't make her sound like someone who's excited to help hand Schumer easy wins. Read more at CNN. Susan Collins doesn't sound like she's keen on cutting lots of deals https://t.co/YHgj2ydgN6 — Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) January 26, 2021 The only way governing with the filibuster can ever work is if Republicans are willing to engage in good faith negotiations. Even SUSAN COLLINS is explicitly stating she’s a partisan who has no interest in working with Democrats. — Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) January 26, 2021 More stories from theweek.comSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorDemocrats are getting Chuck GrassleyedBiden did not, in fact, remove Trump's 'Diet Coke button' from the Resolute Desk, White House clarifies
A federal judge in Texas on Tuesday temporarily blocked a move by new U.S. President Joe Biden to halt the deportation of many immigrants for a 100-day period, a swift legal setback for his ambitious immigration agenda. U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton, an appointee of former President Donald Trump in the Southern District of Texas, issued a temporary restraining order that blocks the policy nationwide for 14 days following a legal challenge by Texas. The Biden administration is expected to appeal the ruling, which halts the deportation freeze while both parties submit briefs on the matter.
- The Telegraph
Ghislaine Maxwell's lawyers have complained the grand jury who indicted her on child sex trafficking charges did not contain enough black or Hispanic jurors, in one of a series of court filings attempting to have her case dismissed. Ms Maxwell, 59, was arrested last July and is being held in a New York City jail while awaiting trial on charges that she recruited underage girls in the 1990s for financier Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse. The British socialite's legal team argued that prosecutors used the coronavirus outbreak as an excuse to seat the grand jury outside New York City, when the pandemic was killing thousands of residents. Instead, a panel was convened in White Plains, an affluent suburb of New York, where the lawyers argued Black and Hispanic grand jurors would have been underrepresented. "The fact that Ms Maxwell herself is neither Black nor Hispanic does not deprive her of standing to raise this challenge," the lawyers wrote.
- The Independent
Newsmax said it already had enough correspondents at White House
- Associated Press
Allies of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who faces years in prison, called for new protests next weekend to demand his release, following a wave of demonstrations that turned out tens of thousands across the country in a defiant challenge to President Vladimir Putin. Mass rallies took place Saturday in over 100 cities in what observers said was the largest outpouring of anger in years, and Navalny's supporters urged protesters to keep up the pressure. During Saturday's protests, over 3,700 people were detained, according to OVD-Info, a human rights group that monitors political arrests.
- Architectural Digest
Let’s get loudOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
AstraZeneca has offered to bring forward some deliveries of its COVID-19 vaccine to the European Union while the bloc has asked the British drugmaker if it can divert doses from the UK to make up for a shortfall in supplies, European officials told Reuters. The Anglo-Swedish company unexpectedly announced on Friday it would cut supplies to the EU of its vaccine candidate in the first quarter of this year, a move that a senior EU official told Reuters meant a 60% reduction to 31 million doses for the bloc. That complicated the EU's vaccination plans, after Pfizer had also announced a temporary slowdown in deliveries of its vaccine, and triggered an outcry in Brussels and EU capitals.
- The Telegraph
Indian and Chinese soldiers armed with sticks and stones have brawled again along their disputed frontier, Delhi said, as the neighbours' months-long border stand-off continued. Indian security officials said there were clashes after at least 18 Chinese soldiers tried to cross into Indian-claimed territory at Naku La in Sikkim on January 20. Soldiers on both sides were carrying firearms, but did not use them. A senior Indian Army official told the Telegraph that four Indian soldiers were wounded after they challenged the Chinese PLA soldiers. All four Indian wounded had been hospitalised, and their condition was described as stable. The officer said the number of injured Chinese was “in double figures”. An official army statement gave few details, describing the clash as a minor stand-off and saying it had been "resolved by local commanders as per established protocols". The military asked journalists "to refrain from overplaying or exaggerating" the incident. Zhao Lijian, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, urged India "not to take any unilateral action that may further complicate or exacerbate the border tension." Yet an opinion piece in China's Global Times, a hawkish state-owned tabloid, said the reports were false and blamed Indian rumour-mongering. Tensions have been high since May when deadly clashes erupted high in the Karakoram mountains along the poorly defined frontier between the rivals. Both sides have mobilized tens of thousands of soldiers, artillery and fighter aircraft along the fiercely contested border known as the Line of Actual Control, or LAC, that separates Chinese and Indian-held territories from Ladakh in the west to India's eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims in its entirety. May's brawl exploded into hand-to-hand combat with clubs, stones and fists on June 15 that left 20 Indian soldiers dead. China is believed to also have had casualties, but has not given any details. Indian and Chinese army commanders met for the ninth round of talks after a gap of two-and-a-half months in Ladakh on Sunday but neither side released any details of the outcome.
- The Independent
‘I put my emotions behind me to do what I thought was right,’ Jackson Reffitt says