- - Tuesday, June 19, 2012

President Obama’s immigration move last week is a hit with American voters, according to a Bloomberg News poll out Tuesday.

The telephone survey of 734 likely voters showed a better than 2-1 majority agreeing with the policy, which would let many illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children stay here.

According to Bloomberg, 64 percent of respondents favored the president’s order, 30 percent opposed it and 6 percent said they were not sure.

The survey, which had an error margin of 3.6 percentage points, was taken from Friday, the day Mr. Obama made the announcement, through Monday.

While a majority of Republican likely voters — 56 percent — opposed the deportation halt, a solid majority of independents (65 percent) and an overwhelming share of Democrats (86 percent) supported it.


College Board sets up 857 empty desks on Mall

While schools across the country are letting out this week, class is in session on the Mall. That is where the College Board set up 857 student desks in the blazing sun on Tuesday.

The empty desks — one for each student who drops out each hour of every school day, according to the College Board — are part of its Don’t Forget Ed! campaign.

The College Board is an association with members representing more than 6,000 educational organizations. It offers standardized tests including the SATs, among other educational services.


Senators request live TV for Supreme Court ruling

Leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee are asking the Supreme Court to allow live television coverage when it delivers its ruling on President Obama’s health care overhaul.

Chairman Patrick J. Leahy and ranking Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley said the issues in the case are as important and consequential as any in recent court history.

In a letter to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the senators said the court should be aware of the great interest Americans have in the outcome of the case. They also noted that millions of citizens would be able to view what only a few could see from the court’s limited public seating.

News organizations already have asked the court to allow cameras in the courtroom for the decision.


Rural air-service subsidies win approval in committee

Tea-party lawmakers from rural areas were among those fighting the hardest to preserve taxpayer subsidies for airline flights into and out of small towns last year after senior Republicans tried to eliminate the oft-criticized program. Now the House Appropriations Committee is awarding the program an 11 percent budget increase.

Next year, the subsidies would reach a record $214 million under a bill the GOP-run committee approved Tuesday.

The subsidies can reach hundreds of dollars per ticket and can exceed $1,000 in a few routes. A recent change to the program will soon take care of such $1,000-plus cases, but critics of the program say more needs to be done to shelter taxpayers from runaway costs.


Many expect Fed to unveil new step after meeting

Anticipation is high that the Federal Reserve will announce some new step Wednesday to try to rejuvenate the U.S. economy and boost investor confidence.

Just what that might be is unclear.

One option would be an effort to drive long-term interest rates even lower to try to spur borrowing and spending. A more modest step would be for the Fed to stress its readiness to do more should the economy weaken further.

Or the Fed might do or promise nothing more — for now, anyway.

Yet Wall Street rallied Tuesday on hopes that the Fed would announce when its two-day meeting ends Wednesday that more help is on the way.


Plan to cut food-stamp costs rejected in farm bill

The Senate on Tuesday began plowing through 73 amendments to a $500-billion bill that will set farm policy and fund the food-stamp program over the next five years. One of its first votes was to reject a proposal to trim food-stamp spending.

The farm bill, one of the last major pieces of legislation that could clear Congress before the election, carries out major changes to the federal safety net for farmers, replacing their direct payments, even when they don’t plant crops, with greater emphasis on crop insurance and a new program to protect farmers from revenue losses.

The Senate is expected to vote on all the amendments and pass the bill by the end of the week. It then goes to the House, where it could run into resistance from fiscal conservatives.


Romney won’t condemn hecklers at Obama stops

Mitt Romney has declined to call on his supporters to stop heckling President Obama’s campaign.

He told Fox News Radio on Tuesday that he doesn’t believe in “unilateral disarmament” but said it would “be a nice thing” if both sides would stop yelling at each other during campaign events.

Over the weekend, Obama adviser David Axelrod condemned anti-Romney heckling during the Republican candidate’s bus tour, which ends Tuesday in Michigan.

Mr. Romney was asked if he also would condemn heckling during Obama events. He declined.

Responding to Mr. Romney later Tuesday, the Obama campaign said it had sent a strong message to its supporters that the campaign should be about an open exchange of ideas, not drowning out the other side by heckling and crashing events.


House approves waiver of border environmental laws

The Republican-controlled House on Tuesday approved a bill that would allow the Border Patrol to circumvent more than a dozen environmental laws on all federally managed lands within 100 miles of the borders with Mexico and Canada.

Supporters said the measure is needed to give border agents unfettered access to rugged lands now controlled by the Interior Department and Forest Service. Laws such as the Wilderness Act and Endangered Species Act often prevent agents from driving vehicles on huge swaths of land, leaving it to wildlife, illegal immigrants and smugglers who can walk through the territory undisturbed, they said.

The bill was approved 232-188.


Tribes work for record Native American vote

The head of the largest organization representing American Indians and Alaska Natives says federal and state governments should provide voter registration at Indian Health Service facilities.

Jefferson Keel, president of the National Congress of American Indians, says the health facilities should be designated voter-registration sites in the same way state-based public assistance agencies are. He says the facilities are ideal for voter registration because they’re in many tribal communities.

During his State of Indian Nations address earlier this year, Mr. Keel called for American Indians and Alaska Natives to turn out a record number of voters.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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