By Tracey Webb Follow @WebbWriterguru
Your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, March 26, 2014.
When is a deadline not really a deadline?
1. Obamacare's deadline delay. The Obama administration is giving more time to people who have already begun but are experiencing difficulty in buying insurance coverage through the federal marketplace. March 31 is the deadline to enroll for coverage for this year or face penalties under the Affordable Care Act. Those who will be granted an extension will have to attest to their circumstances as part of the application process. Republicans blasted the decision. "What the hell is this, a joke?" said House Speaker John Boehner. "As if he (President Barack Obama) hasn't put enough loopholes into the law already, the administration now resorting to an honor system to enforce it." But administration officials say the move will help people who have begun the enrollment process but have complex cases or special circumstances. "We're experiencing near-record volume and the site, and we're not going to turn people away who tried and couldn't complete their enrollment." said HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters.
2. MH370 mystery. New French satellite images show 122 objects floating in the southern Indian Ocean near other satellite sightings of possible debris. No obvious airplane parts were discovered in Wednesday search for the missing jetliner. USA Today, citing an unnamed Malaysian official with knowledge of the investigation, is reporting that investigators have narrowed their suspicions to the plane's senior pilot and believe the incident was "premeditated." But a senior U.S. government official versed in the investigation tells CNN that investigators are still looking at both pilot and co-pilot and there is nothing “jumping out” right now as to motive.
3. Sidestepping the Speaker. A group of House conservatives who don't like the midterm strategy of Speaker John Boehner's and other top Republicans are unveiling their own campaign message on the economy. "I think our leadership has been good about showing what we're against. I think one area where we've had weakness is we really haven't shown what we're for," Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, told CNN. Scalise is introducing a jobs bill that calls for approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline, stepping up natural gas exploration and rolling back some financial services reforms.
4. Condoleezza Rice. The former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser is headlining annual fundraising dinner Wednesday night for the group responsible for getting Republicans elected to Congress. Rice is expected to help House Republicans set a new fundraising record. "She is living proof that our country is the land of opportunity. We are very grateful that she is our keynote speaker and appreciate her help making this event such a success," said Rep. Greg Walden, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. Rice has raised her political profile in recent weeks as a keynote speaker at the California GOP's annual fundraising dinner and the headliner at a fundraiser for Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell.
5. GOP's enthusiasm edge. Republicans have the advantage in enthusiasm over Democrats so far this midterm election season. According to a new CBS News poll, 70% of registered Republican voters say they are very or somewhat excited about voting in November, compared to just 58% of Democrats. The survey also found that 52% of GOP voters see the midterms as a chance to vote against President Obama, while 43% of Democrats see 2014 as a chance to support the President.