March 2010 Current Events: U.S. News
Here are the key events in United States news for the month of March 2010.
- Rep. Rangel Steps Down As Head of Ways and Means Committee (Mar. 3): Representative Charles Rangel (Dem., N.Y.) steps down as head of the Ways and Means Committee due to growing concerns over ethics violations. An ethics panel is investigating his fund-raising tactics, his failure to pay taxes on his rental property, and the utilization of rent-controlled homes for business purposes. in the meantime, Rangel will remain a member of the Ways and Means Committee.
- NY Governor Paterson Under Ethics Investigation (Mar. 3): New York Governor David Paterson is under an ethics investigation for accepting improper gifts then claiming under oath he intended to pay for them. Paterson sought and accepted five tickets to the World Series at Yankees Stadium last fall, worth $425 each. The Yankees organization was slated to campaign for Paterson for his work on building the new stadium, creating a conflict of interest.
- Kathryn Bigelow Wins Best Director Oscar, The Hurt Locker Wins Best Picture (Mar. 8): Katheryn Bigelow wins big at the Academy Awards. Her film, The Hurt Locker, wins Best Picture, while she takes home the Best Director Oscar. Sandra Bullock wins Best Actress and Jeff Bridges takes the Best Actor prize.
- Education Panel Proposes National Math, English Standards for Public Schools (Mar. 10): A panel of educators reveals a set of national standards for math and English courses in U.S. public schools. Currently, standards vary from state to state, and not all schools comply. National standards could improve the quality of education students receive. These guidelines are endorsed by President Obama, who names an improvement in American education as one of the foundations of his presidency.
- Ground Zero Workers Reach Settlement Over Health Claims (Mar. 11): Thousands of rescue and cleanup workers—who worked for months in Ground Zero after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001—reach a settlement with New York City over their health claims. The deal is worth approximately $657.5 million. The 10,000 plaintiffs will be awarded settlement money according to the severity of their illnesses and the time worked in the disaster zone. Money for the settlement will come from a federally financed insurance company that covers the city.
- House of Representatives Approves Health-Care Bill, Sends to Obama (Mar. 21): After many months of debate and many years of discussion, the House of Representatives passes a bill that will overhaul the American health-care system. The final vote, 219–212, approves legislation passed by the Senate in December 2009. The bill will be sent to President Obama to sign into law. Among other things, the bill will allow children to stay on their parents' health insurance plans until the age of 26, prevent insurance companies from denying coverage due to a patient's "pre-existing conditions," subsidize private insurance for low- and middle-income Americans, and require all Americans to have some sort of health insurance. The budget office estimates that the law will reduce federal budget deficits by $143 billion over the next 10 years. The government plans to earn money for the law with a tax on high-cost employer-sponsored health plans and a tax on the investment income of the wealthiest Americans. (Mar. 23): President Obama signs the health-care overhaul bill, called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, into law. (Mar. 30): Obama signs the "reconciliation" bill, which outlines minor changes and additions to the new health-care act, coupled with the bill that overhauls the student loan industry. The health care revisions were drafted by the U.S. Senate as a measure to prevent Republicans from filibustering the original health-care bill.