Capitol Hill (CNN) – In the past two years, the deficit has risen to become the near center of the political universe. It lies underneath every congressional debate and has soared up public opinion polls. (In a December CNN poll, 93 percent of those surveyed said the deficit is a concern, 68 percent saying it worries them "a lot".)
But why, exactly, does the deficit matter? We lay it out in this week's American Sauce podcast.
And this Mardi Gras week, we take listeners to an old mansion in New Orleans, to hear how the city's recovery is unfolding for residents of Big Easy.
Capitol Hill (CNN) - What precisely does the high-blood pressure in the oil markets mean for the U.S.? And, uh, where is the U.S. with dependence on foreign oil exactly?
This week's American Sauce gives you a 101 on American oil dependence. (And so as to not be too depressing, we also have a segment on some good news – how violent crime is dropping.) We give you three media forms to choose from:
Watch this video report to dip your toe in and get a general idea.
Or if you have just a few minutes more, listen to the podcast here, for a more full understanding.
And, of course, keep reading, for some bullet points.
Capitol Hill (CNN) – Did President Obama's stimulus bill help at all? And how much did that package of spending cost in the end?
The Congressional Budget Office just provided some new answers. (We at American Sauce confess to checking the CBO webpage for fun.)
The summary? Government analysts now believe the 2009 stimulus bill, or American Recovery and Reinvestment Act or ARRA, will cost $821 billion over ten years. That's an increase of $7 billion over their last estimate.
How many jobs did it provide? CBO says the stimulus bill funded the equivalent of at least 2 million full-time jobs, and up to 5 million full-time jobs, at its peak in mid-2010.
But don't just settle for those headlines, read more.
Capitol Hill (CNN) – The government shutdown game is back on, predictably and awkwardly, the way bell-bottoms inevitably pop up on the scene every 15-20 years. (And this raises the odd side question of whether Speaker Boehner or Leader Reid ever wore bell-bottoms.)
Here’s your user-friendly guide to the deadlines, timelines and changing political battle lines in the fight right now. Note: American Sauce spent no government funds in producing this.
Let us know what you think or if we missed anything in the comments section.
Washington (CNN) – No doubt, members of Congress are especially happy on this Presidents Day, as they sleep off the political hangover from last week’s relentless, lengthy and refreshingly specific budget debate in the House. But many American brains may still be hurting. This week, American Sauce boils down the dueling budget debates (House Republicans vs. President Obama) in clear terms.
And, more true to the holiday, we present profiles of three of the least-known, but more interesting, U.S. presidents.
After many nominations and much discussion on Twitter, the final three are: 1. Chester Arthur 2. James Polk and 3. Grover Cleveland. We explain why they stand out in the podcast, with help from the students of Two Rivers Charter School in Washington DC.
Listen to the podcast here.
Or keep reading.
Capitol Hill (CNN) – Washington is celebrating this Valentine’s Day by launching what may be the bloodiest, most eyeball-scratching and character-demeaning battle of the next year: the fight over spending.
So on this tricky holiday, we at American Sauce look at (and question) love and hate at the Capitol. Things may not be quite as partisan as you think. And, we pull off a semi-historical event: American Sauce brings together the modern-day kin of Charles Sumner and Preston Brooks. Who? If you don’t know, it’s quite a story.
To listen to the podcast, click here.
Or keep reading.
(CNN) - After a relatively slow startup in January (yes, we know Republicans passed new House rules and imposed spending cuts on themselves, but we said “relatively slow”), things are heating up at the Capitol.
Here’s the American Sauce cheat sheet on three things to watch in the next day: 1. The Spending Battle, 2. Patriot Act Extension and 3. The State of The U.S. Economy.
Capitol Hill (CNN) - Let's get down to the main question: what the heck is going on with jobs?
Friday confused economists tweeted in question marks as the Labor Department reported both that the unemployment rate plummeted in January (from 9.4 percent to 9 percent) and that job creation barely has a pulse (just 36,000 jobs created, a figure that usually corresponds to an increase in unemployment).
In this week's American Sauce, we are not content to be confused. We look at exactly what's going on with jobs and what's generating these conflicting numbers.
Capitol Hill (CNN) - Today the 112th Congress holds its first hearing on the Iraq War. The conflict that drove the headlines three years ago is now barely on the media radar. Many Americans who recognize Gen. David Petreus' name now draw a blank if asked to list his two successors.
As the world watches Egypt and the Middle East and as the Senate Armed Services Committee hears from the current U.S. commander in Iraq, American Sauce brings you a quick look at key names and figures.