Morning News and Stuff

Federal government shuts down, Obamacare opens for enrollment, Qualls picks vice mayor

Capitol Hill
Capitol Hill

Have any questions for City Council candidates? Submit them

here

and we may ask your questions at this Saturday’s candidate forum.

Early voting for the 2013 City Council and mayoral elections is now underway. Find your voting location

here

. Normal voting hours will be 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., although some days will be extended.

The federal government

shut down

today for the first time in 17 years after House Republicans, including local Reps. Steve Chabot and Brad Wenstrup, refused to pass a budget bill that didn’t repeal, delay or otherwise weaken Obamacare, the controversial health care law that Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama strongly support. Federal law requires government agencies to largely shut down and furlough non-essential employees if lawmakers fail to pass a budget that funds government services. The showdown is the latest in Republican efforts to repeal or weaken the president’s signature health care law. Republicans claim Obamacare is an example of government overreach that burdens the economy, while Democrats say the law will help millions of Americans receive health insurance and clamp down on rising health care costs.

Mayor Mark Mallory and other community leaders yesterday

jumpstarted a six-month effort

to get as many people signed up for Obamacare’s online marketplaces, which opened for enrollment today at

www.healthcare.gov

. At the marketplaces, an Ohio 27-year-old making $25,000 a year will be able to buy a “silver,” or middle-of-the-pack, plan for as low as $145 a month after tax credits, while a family of four making $50,000 a year will be able to pay $282 a month for a similar plan, according to

Congressional Budget Office numbers

. Participants with an annual income between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level, or individuals making between $11,490 and $45,960, will be eligible for tax subsidies, with the highest incomes getting the smallest subsidies and the lowest incomes getting the largest. Various local groups, including the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County and Freestore Foodbank, will participate in the outreach campaigns, which will attempt to enroll as many Ohioans as possible despite

Republican legislators’ attempts to obstruct the efforts

.

Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls

says she would pick Councilman Wendell Young as her vice mayor

if she’s elected mayor this November and Young wins re-election. Qualls is running for mayor against fellow Democrat and ex-Councilman John Cranley. Although Qualls and Cranley agree on a host of issues, they are completely divided on the streetcar project and parking plan, both of which Qualls supports and Cranley opposes. The issues

took much of the spotlight

during the first post-primary mayoral debate.

Ohio and Ky. officials say they expect to

break ground on the Brent Spence Bridge project in 2015

, but no funding plan is yet in place. Officials agree tolling will be part of funding the $2.5-billion project, but motor fuel taxes, subsidies and a loan from the federal government could also play a role. The project is nationally recognized as necessary because of the current bridge’s deteriorating condition.

The Cincinnati Reds

set an attendance record

this season.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is still

extremely sure

humans are causing global warming.
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