President Barack Obama is briefed by National Security Advisor Tom Donilon before a phone call with King Abdullah II of Jordan in the Oval Office, Jan. 6, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Chicago Tribune: Freddie Mac announced Friday that it was giving mortgage servicers the authority to offer up to 1 year of mortgage forbearance to unemployed homeowners who have Freddie Mac-backed mortgages.
The change, with takes effect Feb. 1, means loan servicers can offer six months of forbearance to jobless borrowers without Freddie’s approval and another six months with approval….
Fannie Mae is expected next week to announce guidelines that will align with the new ones at Freddie Mac. The expansions are the result of a directive from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
ThinkProgress: The Affordable Care Act has done very well in court so far; three of the four courts of appeals to consider it have upheld the law…..
….Today, DOJ filed its brief defending the Affordable Care Act’s insurance coverage requirement, and with one sentence the Justice Department takes the plaintiff’s silliest and most successful argument off the table ….
…. This statement, that federal efforts to directly regulate the family, general crimes or education stand on much weaker constitutional footing than the ACA, is a very big deal. It shows that DOJ recognizes the only thing that even vaguely resembles a hole in their previous legal arguments, and that they have now sewn that hole up. When one of the justices asks them “if Congress can do this, what can it not do?” they will now have a clear and well-articulated answer.
With just one sentence in its brief, DOJ took away the last few straws the ACA’s opponents were desperately grasping at.
ThinkProgress: 20-Year Ban On Uranium Mining Near The Grand Canyon | Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is expected to announce a 20-year moratorium on uranium mining in the Grand Canyon region on Monday. The ban has been under consideration for two years, with evidence showing the mining contaminates drinking water. Last year, the most anti-environment House of Representatives attempted to permit uranium mining to overrun the Grand Canyon region, after a 2009 suspension from the Department of Interior.
Washington Post: Chrysler will add 1,250 jobs at two Detroit factories next year – another sign that the once struggling automaker appears to be making a comeback.
The Jefferson North Assembly Plant will get 1,100 new workers and a third shift to help build a Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel model for North America. Another 150 workers will be added when Chrysler reopens the Conner Avenue factory to make a Street Racing Team version of the Dodge Viper muscle car.
Robert Shrum: How about that Romney landslide? It turned out that in Iowa, the Mitt did fit — by two hands worth of votes, minus the thumbs. On paid media alone, Romney spent approximately $113 per vote and Rick Santorum spent just $1.65. The Romney campaign dared, and lost while winning. If Mitt had racked up a convincing margin, he would have been on a glide path to the GOP nomination. Instead, he won by a mere eight votes…..
Democratic presidential candidate Vermin Supreme, who is one of more than 40 candidates who are on the New Hampshire primary ballot for U.S. president in 2012, stands outside a campaign event for Senator Rick Santorum in Manchester, New Hampshire, January 6. New Hampshire, where candidates are required to do nothing more than fill out a form and pay $1,000 to sign up, typically attracts a wide range of candidates.
Philly.com: ….. In 2005, Santorum made headlines – not all positive – for visiting the deathbed of Terri Schiavo, the woman at the center of a national right-to-die controversy.What my Philadelphia Daily News colleague John Baer later exposed was that the real reason he was in the Tampa, Fla., area was to collect money at a $250,000 fundraiser organized by executives of Outback Steakhouses, a company that shared Santorum’s passion for a low minimum wage for waitresses and other rank-and-file workers. Santorum’s efforts were also aided by his unusual mode of travel: Wal-Mart’s corporate jet. And he canceled a public meeting on Social Security reform “out of respect for the Schiavo family” even as the closed fundraisers went on.