Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

Is a deal near on taxes? That depends…

An outline of a bipartisan economic package is emerging that would temporarily extend the Bush-era tax rates for all taxpayers, while extending jobless benefits for millions of Americans. Differences remained over details, including White House demands for middle- and low-income tax credits. But Republicans and Democrats appeared to come together Sunday, raising the possibility of a deal in Congress by the end of the week. Some Democrats continued to object to extending current tax rates for high earners. But without action, lawmakers face the prospect of delivering a tax hike to all taxpayers at the end of the year, when
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Republicans block tax cuts for middle class

President Barack Obama’s Republican foes in the Senate have blocked a move to let Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans expire, rejecting in the process Democrats‘ efforts to extend those breaks just for the middle class. Obama said he was “very disappointed” at the vote. “It makes no sense to hold tax cuts for the middle class hostage to permanent tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans,” he added. In a rare weekend session that followed days of stormy debate, the 100-member Senate on Saturday fell short of the 60 votes necessary to approve the Democratic proposal
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To spend or not to spend…that is Obama’s question

In less than three hours, the extraordinary forces tugging at Barack Obama‘s presidency — and the Republicans who will soon take more control of Congress — came into sharp relief: a sky-high jobless rate, an out-of-control deficit and pressure to keep taxes down. Together, they illustrate the difficulty of balancing immediate, costly fixes for the economy with the long-term austerity needed to control the nation’s debt. What’s more, Obama must show that his handling of those challenges has been deft enough to earn him four more years in the White House. To be sure, the competing demands create a conundrum
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Rangel’s censure doesn’t take edge off his swagger

Charles Rangel has his swagger back, but not his power. The 40-year congressional veteran on Thursday became the 23rd House member in the nation’s history to be censured for misconduct. As the final chapter of a more than two-year ethics investigation played out, Rangel moved through several zones of emotion: contrition, anger, relief, defiance. The 80-year-old Democrat remains a political leader in New York‘s Harlem. But in the House, his influence has waned. He stepped down from the chairmanship of the Ways and Means Committee last March after he was criticized in a separate ethics investigation. In the next Congress,
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Suddenly, a rally behind tax cuts

Defying expectations, a bipartisan majority of President Barack Obama‘s deficit commission has rallied behind the panel’s controversial deficit-slashing proposals. A key Obama ally, liberal Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, endorsed the plan Thursday night, joining two of the Senate’s most conservative Republicans. The plan now has public commitments of support from a majority of the 18-member commission, but it still will fall short of the 14 votes needed to officially adopt it when the deficit-cutting panel votes on Friday. Among its many contentious provisions, the plan would raise the Social Security retirement age and scale back popular tax deductions
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Weeked vote set for tax cuts

A deal to extend expiring tax cuts for all taxpayers is starting to take shape even as Senate Democrats plan weekend votes on bills that would let the tax cuts for the wealthy die. The White House is seeking to expand the tax package to include other measures designed to boost the nation’s sluggish economy. Among them are extending jobless benefits for millions of unemployed workers and continuing tax breaks that were part of President Barack Obama‘s massive economic recovery package enacted last year. Without action by Congress, unemployment benefits will run out this month for 2 million people, and
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Democrats defecting to GOP after election disaster

Staggering Election Day losses are not the Democratic Party‘s final indignity this year. At least 13 state lawmakers in five states have defected to Republican ranks since the Nov. 2 election, adding to already huge GOP gains in state legislatures. And that number could grow as next year’s legislative sessions draw near. The defections underscore dissatisfaction with the Democratic Party — particularly in the South — and will give Republicans a stronger hand in everything from pushing a conservative fiscal and social agenda to redrawing political maps. In Alabama, four Democrats announced last week they were joining the GOP, giving
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Obama, Republicans to meet but don’t expect much

A House Republican leader heading into a postelection meeting with President Barack Obama Tuesday said the GOP remains steadfastly opposed to any tax increases. House GOP Whip Eric Cantor said his party wants to “make sure no one gets a tax hike while we’re trying to create jobs in the private sector.” Cantor, who will be House majority leader when the new Congress convenes in January, seemed to co-opt a principal issue set for discussion later when Obama hosts the leadership of both parties. It will be their first formal sitdown since the GOP recaptured control of the House and
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Former Congressman Solarz dead at 70

Former New York Congressman Stephen J. Solarz, a foreign affairs expert who in 1986 revealed the extravagance of Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos, including her 3,000 pairs of shoes, died on Monday. He was 70. Solarz also angered many of his fellow Democrats when in 1991 he co-sponsored the resolution authorizing President George H. W. Bush to wage the first war against Iraq. A year later, he lost his seat in a dramatically redrawn Brooklyn district that he had served since 1974. Solarz’s son-in-law Glen Prickett said the nine-term congressman died at George Washington Hospital in Washington after a four-year
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Lame-duck Congress still has a full plate

Congress has more than a plateful of leftovers to deal with as lawmakers return to the Capitol on Monday. At the top of the pile are the George W. Bush-era tax cuts, enacted in 2001 and 2003 and due to expire at year’s end. President Barack Obama and most Democrats want to retain them for any couple earning $250,000 or less a year. Republicans are bent on making them permanent for everybody, including the richest. The cuts apply to rates on wage income as well as to dividends and capital gains. A failure to act would mean big tax increases
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