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Returning from Hawaii. (Photo/WWR)

Friday, July 23, 2010

West Wing Report: July 23, 2010

A quiet day here at the White House. We won't be seeing the President - he has no public events on his schedule:

11:00 - Intelligence Briefing, Oval Office

11:30 - Senior Advisors, Oval Office

There's no press briefing, either - not uncommon in the summertime. A few items this sticky Friday morning:

Jobless Benefits

The President has signed a bill extending jobless benefits through the end of November - a desperately needed lifeline for some 2.5 million Americans. But the cost - 34-billon dollars - is now added to the government's already record deficit. And it runs counter to Obama's prior insistence that any new spending must be paid for. The White House says this is different - it's an emergency. This means, of course, the debate over benefits will be revived just after Thanksgiving.

Vacation Plans

We've also learned that the First Family will spend the weekend of Aug. 14th on the Gulf Coast - Florida, specifically. The trip is seen as blunting some of the criticism directed at the Obamas for encouraging Americans to vacation in the oil spill region - but going to Maine themselves last weekend. The Obamas will also take a longer breather on Martha's Vineyard, like they did last year.

Another Court Vacancy?

Looking ahead to next week: Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is expected to be confirmed by the Senate. This as speculation increases that yet another Justice may step down soon. It is Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She is 77 and battling cancer; the Clinton appointee has been on the court since 1993.

- Paul Brandus at the White House

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