The Note: Over the Line

The Washington Post's Rich Morin and Jim VandeHei take a closer look at some of the data in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll about support for President Bush's Social Security plan, and found that 56 percent of Americans see the proposal to put new personal retirement accounts together with reduced guaranteed benefits will result in smaller checks for seniors. Sixty-three percent say they think the plan to include private accounts would not improve the stability of the entitlement program in the long run. And overall, they're not impressed with how Bush has been selling his ideas -- 62 percent said they disapprove of the job he's doing on the issue, and 48 percent support a voluntary plan to take some of their Social Security contributions and invest them in the stock market. LINK

Robin Toner and Dick Stevenson of the New York Times write two crisp paragraphs on where the Finance committee stands on Social Security:

"Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa and chairman of the Finance Committee, has already given up the idea of reaching a bipartisan package, at least initially. In fact, he has yet to find a consensus among the 10 other Republicans on his committee on how to shore up Social Security's finances. The Republicans on the committee will meet Thursday morning, and Mr. Grassley is expected to push hard for agreement -- soon -- on how to assure the system's solvency." LINK

"Even if they reach agreement on that front, Republicans on the committee are unlikely to agree unanimously on and produce a majority for investment accounts of the sort sought by Mr. Bush. Senator Olympia J. Snowe, a Republican from Maine and a member of the committee, is opposed to the accounts."

The economy:

The Los Angeles Times' Joel Havemann wraps the White House's economic forecast of 3.5 percent growth and lower interest rates than predicted by private economists. LINK

"A day after General Motors announced it was cutting 25,000 jobs and as concern is rising about the ability of the government to guarantee many troubled corporate pension plans, the president's economic advisers said the economy would expand a solid 3.4 percent this year, down from 3.5 percent forecast six months ago," writes the Chicago Tribune's William Neikirk. LINK

Judicial nomination battles:

The Washington Post's Chuck Babington wraps the confirmation of Judge Janice Rogers Brown. LINK

The New York Times' David Kirkpatrick profiles Brown and writes that her animating principle of jurisprudence appears to be based on her strong abhorrence to subtle forms of slavery. LINK

Despite all the doomsayers, "the centrist bloc met its first commitment" with the cloture votes on Janice Rogers Brown and William Pryor, writes David Rogers in the Wall Street Journal.

The Houston Chronicle examines how the politics of race was a factor in Brown's confirmation. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Maura Reynolds looks at what Brown's confirmation means to Gov. Schwarzenegger's plans to appoint her successor to the California Supreme Court. LINK


Per the Wall Street Journal: "The Congressional Budget Office is expected to tell a House panel today that the federal agency insuring private pension plans has a deficit that will likely more than triple to $71 billion in the next decade, creating more urgency for Congress to consider pension-overhaul legislation."

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