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Perry Stein

Perry is a News Writer for Talking Points Memo based in Washington D.C. Prior to TPM, she was a reporter-research at The New Republic and worked for her hometown paper, The Miami Herald. Perry can be reached at perry@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Perry

President Barack Obama defended his decision to delay the employer mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act, saying it was within his power to do so and serves as a way to provide administrative relief to the majority of businesses that are already providing health insurance to their employers.

"Businesses came to us and said, listen, we were supportive of providing health insurance to employees, in fact, we provide health insurance to our employees; we understand you want to get at the bad actors here, but are there ways to provide us some administrative relief?" Obama said in a wide-ranging interview with the New York Times published over the weekend. 

"And what we said was, given that that is not critical to standing up the marketplaces where people are going to actually be able to buy lower-cost, high-quality insurance and get the tax credits that make it affordable for them, we thought it made sense to give another year not only for companies to prepare, but also for us to work with Treasury and others to see if there are just ways we can make this a little bit simpler for companies who are already doing the right thing."

When the interviewer, Jackie Calmes, asked Obama if he was acting within his executive power to unilaterally delay the employer mandate, Obama said he wasn't concerned with Congress' opinion on the matter, alluding to the fact that he is a constitutional lawyer.

"If Congress thinks that what I’ve done is inappropriate or wrong in some fashion, they’re free to make that case," Obama said. "But there’s not an action that I take that you don't have some folks in Congress who say that I'm usurping my authority. Some of those folks think I usurp my authority by having the gall to win the presidency. And I don't think that's a secret. But ultimately, I’m not concerned about their opinions -- very few of them, by the way, are lawyers, much less constitutional lawyers."

Read the entire interview here.

Anthony Weiner's campaign manager for his New York City mayoral bid resigned over the weekend, a spokeswoman confirmed Sunday, according to Reuters. 

News of Danny Kedem's departure comes as the scandal embroiled candidate's polling numbers plummeted in recent days after new revelations of his sexually explicit Internet exchanges with women emerged. 

Kedem joined Weiner's campaign in early spring, and no reason was provided for his sudden departure. 

Weiner spoke to reporters in Brooklyn Sunday and said Kedem had done a "remarkable job" and lauded the rest of his staff. 

"They've dealt with a presidential level of scrutiny and they've dealt with a candidate who has made some mistakes in his past and they are coming back up now," he said, according to Reuters. 

The resignation was first reported by The New York Times Saturday. 

At least a dozen men since 2011 in Baton Rouge have been arrested under an unenforceable law "to ensnare men who merely discussed or agreed to have consensual sex with an undercover agent," an investigation by The Advocate newspaper found.

The District Attorney said his office refused to prosecute each of the cases because no crime was found to have occurred, and a Sheriff's Office spokeswoman denied to the Advocate that investigators had been misapplying the anti-sodomy law, which is currently a state-statute. 

“This is a law that is currently on the Louisiana books, and the sheriff is charged with enforcing the laws passed by our Louisiana Legislature,” Casey Rayborn Hicks, a Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman, said. “Whether the law is valid is something for the courts to determine, but the sheriff will enforce the laws that are enacted." 

The now leading Democratic candidate for New York City mayor, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, said Anthony Weiner is not qualified to be mayor and news of his latest sexual scandal is a distraction from the real issues of the race. 

The latest numbers show Weiner, the former frontrunner, plummeting in the polls, giving Quinn the edge.

"Has he disqualified himself? Yes. He disqualified himself, but not just because of these scandals," Quinn said on "Meet the Press" Sunday. ""He didn't have the qualifications when he was in Congress. He was in Congress for 12 years, he passed one bill."

"When you see scandal after scandal about this, what it does is create even more distrust and maybe even disgust in government," Quinn added. "We really need to move beyond that."

 

The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald said Sunday one of the most "amazing" parts of the whole NSA-leak incident  has been that top-level national security officials like Direction of National Intelligence James Clapper haven't lost their jobs. 

"One of the most amazing parts of this entire episode has been that top-level national security officials like James Clapper really did get caught red-handed lying to the American Congress, which everyone now acknowledges, about what the NSA is doing, and it’s amazing that he not only hasn’t been prosecuted but still has his job," Greenwald said on ABC's 'This Week.'  "And what that does is it lets national security officials continue to lie to the public, which is what happened in that exchange you just referenced."

Greenwald added that he will be publishing a story in a week that shows the access that low-level NSA analysts and contractors have to phone and email records. 

"There are legal constraints for how you can spy on Americans," Greenwald said. "You can’t target them without going to the FISA court, but these systems allow analysts to listen to whatever emails they want, whatever telephone calls, browsing histories, Microsoft Word documents.  It’s an incredibly powerful and invasive tool, exactly of the type that Mr. Snowden described, and NSA officials are going to be testifying before the Senate on Wednesday, and I defy them to deny that these programs work exactly as I just said."

 

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said Sunday his now infamous, illegible signature is still a work in progress.

When Chris Wallace asked Lew on "Fox News Sunday" if he had been working on a more standard signature, Lew responded that he has been working on his handwriting for "many decades" and obviously still has "some more work to do."

"I will confess to having a certain challenge with penmanship," Lew said.  "And I always do my best."

Lew's original signature had been criticized as being too "loopy," prompting the Treasury Department to unveil a new signature from the treasury secretary that would appear on the U.S. currency. 

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew appeared on the Sunday talk show circuit, reiterating President Barack Obama's position on the importance of raising the debt ceiling.

“The mere fact of negotiating over the debt limit, after 2011, would introduce this notion that somehow there’s a question about whether or not we’re going to pay our bills, whether or not we’re going to protect the full faith and credit of the United States,” Lew said on ABC's 'This Week.' “Well, it’s not OK to default.  Congress can’t let us default.  Congress has to do its work."

Lew also appeared on 'Meet The Press', 'FOX News Sunday' and CNN's 'State of the Union.'  

 

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) touted Janet Yellen as the next chair of the Federal Reserve, saying "a woman as head of the Fed, a qualified woman , would be a positive thing for this administration."

Yellen is currently the vice-chariman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and her name has been floated as a possibility for the top post. Larry Summers, the former chairman of the Treasury, is also said to be a top pick. 

"Janet Yellen has been close to [Fed Chairman Ben] Bernanke," Feinstein said. "I am one that has thought Bernanke has done a very good job."

A number of Democratic senators, including Feinstein, signed a letter to President Barack Obama urging him to pick Yellen for the position.

Senate Democrats have signed onto a letter urging President Barack Obama to appoint Janet Yellen to be Ben Bernanke's successor as chairman of the Federal Reserve, according to The Wall Street Journal. 

Yellen currently serves as the vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

The Journal reported it could not confirm the full list of senators who signed on, but the list appears to represent the more liberal wing of the Democratic caucus -- a third of the 54 seats they currently hold in the upper chamber.

"There's a lot of concern among a lot of Democrats about an appointment of Larry Summers to that long-term position as Fed chairman," Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), who signed the letter, told the Journal. "He was one of the architects of getting rid of Glass-Steagall, of getting rid of other regulations. There's real concern about his economic views not really being in line with Obama's views."

Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Angus King (I-ME) are also confirmed to have signed the letter.

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