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Congress: The health-care divide

The Washington Post: "As the Senate prepares to take up legislation aimed at overhauling the nation's health-care system, President Obama and the Democrats are still struggling to win the battle for public opinion. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows Americans deeply divided over the proposals under consideration and majorities predicting higher costs ahead" -- with 48% saying they support the health changes moving through Congress and 49% saying they oppose them.

"But Republican opponents have done little better in rallying the public opposition to kill the reform effort. Americans continue to support key elements of the legislation, including a mandate that employers provide health insurance to their workers and access to a government-sponsored insurance plan for those people without insurance."

The New York Times is the latest to profile Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf. "Mr. Elmendorf, a mild-mannered economist with a Harvard Ph.D., runs the Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan agency charged with assessing how legislation, like President Obama's proposed health overhaul, would affect the federal budget. His detailed analyses — 'scores' in Washington argot — are highly educated guesswork but are more or less the final word, making him a combination oracle and judge on many of the biggest issues of the day."

"Senate Judiciary ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said Monday that he will filibuster the nomination of David Hamilton to serve on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Roll Call says. 'I think I will support not going forward,' Sessions told reporters, criticizing Hamilton's record as a district court judge in southern Indiana. Sessions said Hamilton's past rulings on abortion rights and prayer present 'extraordinary' circumstances for a Senate filibuster, although he predicted the nomination will still be approved by the Senate this week."

Nancy Pelosi is switching to trying to address jobs. "The House change began Monday night when leaders scheduled AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Robert Kuttner, co-editor of The American Prospect, to address the House Democratic Caucus," The Hill reports. "And it could end with an economic package on the floor sometime in December, Democratic sources said."

"With unemployment above 10 percent and Democratic poll ratings dipping, anxious leaders on both sides of the Capitol are gathering ideas and building momentum for what could be a significant new jobs package early next year," Roll Call writes. "President Barack Obama has called for an economic summit at the White House on Dec. 3, which could lay the groundwork for a deal on another stimulus plan. At the same time, resistance among Members to a significant new economic package appears to be fading."