The members of President Obama's bipartisan fiscal commission agree on one big thing: The problem of runaway deficits and public debt requires urgent attention. Democrats and Republicans on the panel even seem to have moved toward consensus on some of the policy responses to the problem. But getting to "yes" on a plan to stabilize the national debt still faces big hurdles. Here are four of big areas of disagreement.
Rep. Charles Rangel (D) of New York on Thursday may become the 23rd House member to be censured by his colleagues, in the history of the institution. For lawmakers who break the rules, censure is one of the punishment options specified in the US Constitution (the others are expulsion, reprimand, or a fine). A public verbal rebuke from the House speaker is usually the outcome of a censure vote – humiliating, yes, but much less draconian than expulsion. Mr. Rangel is in trouble for 11 ethics violations related to his personal finances and fundraising efforts for a New York college. A censure vote has not occurred in the House in 27 years. Here are the five congressmen censured most recently, for matters ranging from fraud to sexual misconduct to “unparliamentary language.”