Today’s edition of quick hits:
* Taking his show on the road: “President Barack Obama hit the road Wednesday to press for the economic agenda he presented Tuesday night in his State of the Union speech. At his first stop at a Costco store in Lanham, Md., Obama urged Congress to increase the federal minimum wage by 39 percent, but acknowledged that Congress might choose to not act on his proposal and that states might need to act on their own.”
* Farm bill: “House lawmakers approved a $956.4 billion farm bill Wednesday that makes significant changes to the nation’s farm support programs, but also cuts billions of dollars in federal food stamp aid. The measure passed 251 to 166 amid opposition from liberals, who said that the food stamp cuts go too far, and conservatives concerned that the legislation failed to further curtail government spending.”
* Syria: “After five days of deadlock and dispute in Syrian peace talks, opposition negotiators seized on hints of government willingness to discuss political transition on Wednesday as evidence of progress. But the United Nations mediator dampened expectations, saying he did not anticipate any substantial result from the current round of talks.”
* The photos of stranded locals sleeping in store aisles are striking: “Snow and ice paralyzed Atlanta and other parts of the southeastern United States Tuesday and Wednesday, as my colleagues, Kim Severson and Alan Blinder reported. Thousands of motorists were stranded in their cars overnight while others abandoned their vehicles and slept in shopping centers. Hundreds of accidents were reported. Some schools kept students through the night, scrambling to feed them.”
* Taper: “The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday another $10 billion cut in its monthly bond purchases, in a statement that attributed the decision to ‘growing underlying strength in the broader economy.’”
* A TPP surprise: “Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Wednesday he is not inclined to put trade promotion authority on the floor, less than 24 hours after President Obama called for action on the legislation. Reid made clear he is opposed to the trade promotion bill – sometimes called ‘fast track,’ which labor unions staunchly oppose.”
* A possible opening for a MyRA plan? “Major players in the financial industry are backing President Obama’s move to create a new type of retirement account through executive order.”
* Indiana’s latest anti-gay initiative is struggling to advance. I’m glad.
* I quite like the whole idea of “Big Block of Cheese Day,” in part because it’s life imitating art imitating life.
* The news about the DCCC’s Jesse Ferguson, whom I’ve known for many years, that brings me nothing but joy: “This week, eight months after being diagnosed, Ferguson returns to the job he never really left, this time with no sign of the cancerous cells that threatened his life.”
Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.