For a while, President Obama enjoyed a revival in popularity after years of public unease and displeasure with his stewardship of the economy and foreign policy. His approval rating jumped as high as 49 percent in mid-January, according to Gallup, and then tapered off a little amid renewed uncertainty about the economic recovery.
In the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, however, 45 percent of Americans say they approve of Obama’s job performance, while 49 percent disapprove. That is his weakest rating in the survey since late 2014. The president effectively lost five points in approval since January and he hasn’t seen majority support since May 2013, according to survey analysis.
Analysts blame the decline in the president’s approval on continued economic anxiety at home – despite a drop in the unemployment rate to 5.4 percent in April and other signs of economic revival – and the advance of ISIS and other Islamic extremists in Iraq and Syria.
The condition of the economy consistently has topped the list of voters’ concerns heading into the 2016 campaign. The economic gains touted by the administration since the end of the Great Recession in June 2009 apparently haven’t been enough to calm fears, analysts say.
Seventy-three percent of those surveyed recently remain worried about the economy’s direction, and among them Obama’s approval drops to 35 percent, according to the survey. What’s more, Obama gets only a 31 percent approval rating specifically for handling the advance of ISIS militants, with 55 percent disapproving. Public approval of the president’s handling of the war against ISIS is 16 percentage points worse than his rating on handling the economy.
Lawmakers are considering three separate bills that are intended to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. Here’s an overview of the proposals, from a series of charts produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation this week. An interesting detail highlighted in another chart: 88% of voters – including 92% of Democrats and 85% of Republicans – want to give the government the power to negotiate prices with drug companies.
From Gallup: “A record 25% of Americans say they or a family member put off treatment for a serious medical condition in the past year because of the cost, up from 19% a year ago and the highest in Gallup's trend. Another 8% said they or a family member put off treatment for a less serious condition, bringing the total percentage of households delaying care due to costs to 33%, tying the high from 2014.”
That’s how much the private debt collection program at the IRS collected in the 2019 fiscal year. In the black for the second year in a row, the program cleared nearly $148 million after commissions and administrative costs.
The controversial program, which empowers private firms to go after delinquent taxpayers, began in 2004 and ran for five years before the IRS ended it following a review. It was restarted in 2015 and ran at a loss for the next two years.
Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who played a central role in establishing the program, said Monday that the net proceeds are currently being used to hire 200 special compliance personnel at the IRS.
The federal budget deficit for October and November was $342 billion, up $36 billion or 12% from the same period last year, the Congressional Budget Office estimated on Monday. Revenues were up 3% while outlays rose by 6%, CBO said.