The Georgia Mae Morning News

President Barack Obama will present his budget plan to Congress today. The plan is expected to propose raising taxes on the affluent and making health care more accessible and affordable for all Americans. More on the budget will be posted this evening.

More bad news: New jobless claims rose more than expected last week and the number of laid-off Americans continuing to receive unemployment benefits topped 5.1 million. While analysts had expected a slight drop in claims, first-time requests for unemployment benefits jumped to 667,000 from the previous week’s figure of 631,000. The 667,000 new claims are the most since October 1982. The four-week average of initial claims, which smooths out fluctuations, rose to 639,000, the highest in more than 26 years. ABC News

President Barack Obama on Wednesday presented legendary singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder with the nation’s highest award for pop music. Wonder received the Library of Congress’ Gershwin Prize for Popular Song during an East Room tribute that featured Tony Bennett, Martina McBride and Wonder himself. Obama thanked Wonder for creating “a style that’s uniquely American” and called Wonder’s music the soundtrack of his youth. The ceremony is scheduled to air on PBS today. MSNBC

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s criticism of federal spending to monitor volcanoes has Royce Pollard, the mayor of Vancouver, Washington, fuming. “Does the governor have a volcano in his backyard?” Pollard said. “We have one that’s very active, and it still rumbles and spits and coughs very frequently.” Jindal, a rising Republican star, singled out a $140 million appropriation for the U.S. Geological Survey as an example of questionable government spending during the GOP response to President Obama’s address to Congress Tuesday night.
“Instead of monitoring volcanoes, what Congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in Washington,” Jindal said. CNN

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