December 28th, 2009
09:18 AM ET
8 months ago

Four new kings of the Hill in Washington

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) is one of four senators who hold great power in today's Washington, Julian Zelizer says.
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) is one of four senators who hold great power in today's Washington, Julian Zelizer says.

Editor's note: Julian E. Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School. His new book is "Arsenal of Democracy: The Politics of National Security - From World War II to the War on Terrorism" published by Basic Books. Zelizer writes widely about current events.

Princeton, New Jersey (CNN) - Last month, Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, a strong defender of the public option for health care, warned: "I don't want four Democratic senators dictating to the other 56 of us and to the country, when the public option has this much support, that it is not going to be in it."

But in the end, those senators won the battle over the public option, as well as several other provisions in the health care bill.

They have emerged as the powerhouses of the Senate.

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December 28th, 2009
04:44 AM ET
December 28th, 2009
04:31 AM ET
8 months ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: December 28, 2009

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The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.

WASHINGTON/POLITICAL
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com

CNN: Obama orders review of flight screenings
President Obama has ordered a review of security screening processes after Friday's botched terror attack on a U.S. airliner, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Sunday.

The Hill: Lieberman: Yemen will be 'tomorrow's war' if pre-emptive action not taken
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) Sunday said that Yemen could be the ground of America's next overseas war if Washington does not take preemptive action to root out al-Qaeda interests there.

Washington Post: Abstinence proponents look for aid from new health bill
Proponents of sex education classes that focus on encouraging teenagers to remain virgins until marriage are hoping that the rescue plan for the nation's health-care system will also save their programs, which are facing extinction because of a cutoff of federal funding.

USA Today: Metro areas get chunk of rural stimulus aid
More than $2.7 billion of stimulus aid for struggling parts of rural America has gone to the nation's biggest metropolitan areas. That's nearly a quarter of the $12 billion in rural assistance the government has paid out so far under President Obama's economic stimulus package, a USA TODAY review shows.

Wall Street Journal: After the Bailouts, Washington's the Boss
In 2008 and 2009, Washington strove to save the economy. In 2010, Americans will get a clearer picture of how Washington has changed the economy. Only as the recession recedes will it become fully evident how permanently the state's role has expanded and whether, as a consequence, a new, hybrid strain of American capitalism is emerging.

Times of London: Democrats pose threat to President Obama’s cap-and-trade climate Bill
Less than ten days after claiming a breakthrough on climate change in Copenhagen President Obama is facing a mutiny from senior Democrats who are imploring him to postpone or even abandon his cap-and-trade Bill.

New York Times: As Aisle Gets Wider, Arms Get Shorter
It was a startling admission. A top congressman revealed that he had voted against an administration priority as a way to score political points as his party battled to regain power. …Keenly aware from recent history that political missteps can cause big swings in the make-up of the House and Senate, members of the party out of power increasingly see little advantage in working with those controlling Congress to help them achieve victories that could come at the minority’s expense.

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