Archives for Capitol Hillbillies

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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Looks like the end is near for Michael Steele

A significant bloc of Republican National Committee members wants embattled chairman Michael Steele to step aside, but the rank and file have failed to settle on a clear alternative, according to Associated Press interviews with committee members. More than four dozen interviews with members of the 168-member central committee found fear that a badly damaged Steele could emerge from the wreckage of a knockdown, drag-out fight to head the party as it challenges President Barack Obama in 2012. While most agree that Steele’s time has been rough — and costly — the members also recognize that a leadership fight could
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Obama back on basketball court…as a spectator

A day after it took 12 stitches to patch a busted lip President Barack Obama suffered during a game of pickup basketball, he was back on the hard court Saturday — as a spectator. Obama took the whole family to Howard University, where they watched the Oregon State Beavers defeat the Howard Bison, 84-74. His brother-in-law, Craig Robinson, is the Oregon State coach. Obama was joined by his wife, Michelle; her mother, Marian Robinson; and daughters Malia and Sasha. Coach Robinson’s wife, their infant son, and his two children from a previous marriage also attended. They sat in the first
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Pelosi’s mission: Sabotage Obama deals with GOP

Hers was the face on the grainy negative TV ads that helped defeat scores of Democrats. His agenda, re-election chances and legacy are on the line. Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, chosen after a messy family feud among Democrats to remain as their leader in the new Congress, and President Barack Obama share a keen interest in repairing their injured party after this month’s staggering losses. But Pelosi’s mandate is diverging from the president’s at a critical time, with potentially damaging consequences for Obama’s ability to cut deals with Republicans in the new Congress. Their partnership is strained after an
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Obama plays Annie: ‘The sun will come out tomorrow’

Saying America has a history of doing what it takes to make a better tomorrow, President Barack Obama is calling on a country climbing out of its worst economic slump in decades to summon that spirit again this holiday season. “This is not the hardest Thanksgiving America has ever faced. But as long as many members of our American family are hurting, we’ve got to look out for one another,” Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address, released for Thanksgiving. “As long as many of our sons and daughters and husbands and wives are at war, we’ve got
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