CNN's GUT CHECK | for May 29, 2013 | 5 p.m.
– n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
DEVELOPING: Rhode Island Gov. changes party ID–again... Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, an independent, plans to run for re-election next year as a Democrat, two Democratic sources confirmed Wednesday to CNN. – Peter Hamby and Paul Steinhauser
CATCHING UP: 5 things about the controversy surrounding AG Eric Holder... Attorney General Eric Holder, a political lightning rod for Republican critics of the Obama administration, is under fire for two cases involving secret subpoenas or searches for phone records and other information of journalists involved in reports about leaked classified information. – Tom Cohen
MARKET WATCH: U.S. stocks end lower on fears that Fed will end stimulus. Dow falls 105 points. NASDAQ loses 0.6%, S&P drops 0.7%.
The second to last of the original 13 colonies became a state on this day in 1790. Name the state.
Do furloughed federal employees qualify for unemployment benefits?
This is the question our colleague – CNN Money’s Annalyn Kurtz – posed in her piece about Navy engineers who anticipate collecting unemployment benefits when they are likely furloughed for 11 days between July and September.
“The local union affiliate of International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers has signed an agreement with the Navy which would allow their civilian federal workers to group furlough days in one-week blocks,” Kurtz writes. “It's a strategy with one key goal: enable those employees to recoup some of their lost wages through unemployment checks.”
So here is how workers can qualify:
Instead of taking furlough days scattered throughout the three month period, workers at a Navy engineering station in Philadelphia will take their furlough in five-day blocks. This way, the workers will bypass the maximum for what unemployed workers can make in one week while also collecting unemployment benefits.
By taking entire weeks off, workers will “lose a full week of wages at a time,” according to Kurtz, and Pennsylvania will consider them “like any other worker on a temporary layoff.”
One worker in particular, Bill Coleman, hopes the change will allow him to collect $1,100 in unemployment checks over the three-month period.
"I went through a very expensive divorce, I have five kids - two of them are in college - and I can't afford this," Coleman told Kurtz. "When you take away 20% of my salary during those three months, it's putting me into the range where I do not have money left for gasoline and food."
Though this is just one facility in Pennsylvania, the national implications decisions like this will have on budget cuts and government spending are important.
How does a government save money when the attempts to cut budgets are being subverted by paying unemployment to people who aren’t actually unemployed? Isn’t that counterproductive?
For now, Kurtz writes, “California, Virginia, Texas and the District of Columbia - the four places with the most federal workers - have not yet reported a notable pickup in unemployment claims from federal employees.”
But CNN Money and Gut Check will keep watching to see if this trend changes.
Did you miss it?
Leading CNNPolitics: Rep. Bachmann looks forward to 'limitless' future, but not in the House
Rep. Michele Bachmann, a conservative firebrand whose bid for president last year ended after the Iowa caucuses, will not seek re-election to her Minnesota congressional seat in 2014. Making her announcement in a video posted to her campaign website on Wednesday, Bachmann stressed she had no plans to fade from public view. – Alison Harding
Leading Drudge: Record 10,978,040 Now On Disability
The total number of people in the United States now receiving federal disability benefits hit a record 10,978,040 in May, up from 10,962,532 million in April, according to newly released data from the Social Security Administration. – Terence P. Jeffrey for CNS News
Leading HuffPo: Bye Bye Bachmann
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) announced early Wednesday that she will not seek a fifth term in office. The decision to bow out of the 2014 race was announced in a YouTube video on the congresswoman's website and on her Facebook page.
Leading Politico: Vulnerable Democrats' 2014 President Obama problem
As Democrats try to keep their lock on the Senate next year, some of their most vulnerable incumbents have a problem with President Barack Obama: They can’t win with him, but they probably can’t win without him, either. – James Hohmann
Leading The New York Times: Finding Democrats to Run Where Republicans Win
In South Dakota, where Democrats are trying to retain a Senate seat next year, the party is reflecting on exactly what kind of candidate should represent it. – John Eligon
The political bites of the day
– Holder to hold meetings with journalists –
A DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE OFFICIAL TO CNN: “Attorney General Eric Holder will hold meetings with several Washington bureau chiefs of national news organizations in the next two days as part of the review of existing Justice Department guidelines governing investigations that involve reporters. … During these sessions, the attorney general will engage with a diverse and representative group of news media organizations, including print, wires, radio, television, online media and news and trade associations.”
– Tea party groups praise Bachmann –
SAL RUSSO, CHIEF STRATEGIST FOR TEA PARTY EXPRESS, IN A WRITTEN PRESS RELEASE: “As a presidential candidate, (Michele) Bachmann raised the tea party profile to new heights, and her contributions to the movement will be long standing. It is with great disappointment we learn she will not seek re-election to Congress in 2014. However, we know that her fight for liberty and free markets will not stop at the end of her term. We look forward to working with her as she continues her journey as an influential conservative leader.”
– White House: Wish her well –
PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY AT THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS BRIEFING: “I came to the briefing room from the Oval Office from a meeting and I can tell you that that subject did not come up, so I do not have a response from the president. We all wish her well in her future endeavors.”
– House committee to hold further hearings on IRS –
REPUBLICAN REP. DAVE CAMP OF MICHIGAN, CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS, IN A WRITTEN STATEMENT: “While we now know that the IRS began targeting individuals based on their personal beliefs three years ago, we still need to know who began this targeting and why, and we need to understand how individuals were affected by the IRS’s abuse. This hearing will provide a voice to those Americans who wound up under the IRS’s political microscope on the basis of their beliefs.”
– Linking Iran and Syria –
SPOKESPERSON JEN PSAKI AT THE STATE DEPARTMENT PRESS BRIEFING: “Iran has not played a constructive role in regard to Syria. They have sent weapons, they have sent money, they've provided fighters, they have financed Hezbollah and we have no reason to believe that Iran wants a peaceful transition.”
What stopped us in 140 characters or less
TRIVIA ANSWER from @DanMericaCNN
In 1788, Rhode Island rejected the newly written U.S. Constitution by popular referendum. The vote was overwhelming – 10 to one in favor of rejecting the document.
Even though the colony had not ratified the document, the Constitution became the official governing document of the United States on June 21, 1788, when New Hampshire approved ratification.
By failing to ratify the Constitution, Rhode Island remained a colony when the federal government was commenced on April 1, 1789.
In response, Rhode Island’s government called a ratifying convention in 1790 to consider the document. After the United States federal government threatened to treat Rhode Island like a foreign government, the ratifying convention approved the document by two votes on May 29, 1790.
As we previously have noted, Vermont was the last of the original 13 colonies to ratify the Constitution and become a state.
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