Category Archives: leading the news

Obama triggers tax fight

The Hill – Leading the News 
By Walter Alarkon and Sam Youngman

President Obama launched a high-stakes fight with big business Monday, calling for changes to the tax code that could raise taxes on U.S. multinationals by $210 billion.

Obama described the tax system as broken, adding that it is filled with loopholes written by corporate lobbyists that provide incentives for shipping jobs abroad.

“It’s a tax code full of corporate loopholes that makes it perfectly legal for companies to avoid paying their fair share,” Obama said.

The administration’s proposals could mean a tax hike of anywhere from 8 to 15 percent for U.S. corporations, on top of a base corporate tax rate that is already high for an industrialized country, said Clint Stretch, a tax expert for Deloitte Tax LLP.

“It doesn’t take some kind of rocket scientist to figure out that really can’t be very good for American businesses from a competitiveness point of view,” Stretch said.

The crackdown on corporate tax incentives is the latest move by the administration to squeeze big business. The president, who had taken heat from the left for continuing unpopular bank bailouts initiated by the Bush administration, has since called for restrictions on executive pay, the firing of General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner and a reorganization of Chrysler that offered a better deal to unions than a collection of hedge funds and investment banks that owned debt from the troubled automaker.

The tax proposals are a frontal assault on U.S. multinational companies, which are expected to engage in an aggressive lobbying and public-relations campaign to fight them off.

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Filed under corporate loopholes, leading the news, tax code, tax policies, The Hill, U.S. multinational companies

>Kilroy win gives Dems 79-seat House majority

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The Hill- Leading the News

Ohio Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy has won the last outstanding House race, handing her party a 79-seat majority and putting its gains for November’s general election at 21 seats.

House Democrats’ majority now stands at 257-178.

Kilroy was declared the winner over Republican state Sen. Steve Stivers after the counting of outstanding provisional ballots put her up more than 2,000 votes. Stivers has conceded.

Kilroy, a Franklin County commissioner, will replace retiring Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio). Kilroy fell just short of unseating Pryce in 2006.

“In Washington, I will work together with Democrats, Republicans, and President-elect Obama to tackle the real problems that our community faces,” Kilroy said in a statement. “Over the next few days I will be in contact with Rep. Deborah Pryce to begin a smooth transition so that no constituent services are delayed during these tough economic times.”

Stivers said in a statement: “While I am extremely proud of the race I ran, ultimately, [it] was not enough. I have called Commissioner Kilroy to congratulate her for her hard-fought victory, and I wish her well in Washington.”

Republicans stole a seat from Democrats on Saturday in the delayed congressional races in Louisiana, when GOPer Joseph Cao shocked indicted Rep. William Jefferson (D) in a low-turnout affair.

In the other Pelican State race delayed by Hurricane Gustav, Republican John Fleming holds a 356-vote lead with all precincts reporting and appears to have defeated Democrat Paul Carmouche, but there might be a recount.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Democratic Majority, leading the news, Mary Jo Kilroy, Ohio Democrat, President-Elect, The Hill, US House of Representatives, Washington

Kilroy win gives Dems 79-seat House majority


The Hill- Leading the News

Ohio Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy has won the last outstanding House race, handing her party a 79-seat majority and putting its gains for November’s general election at 21 seats.

House Democrats’ majority now stands at 257-178.

Kilroy was declared the winner over Republican state Sen. Steve Stivers after the counting of outstanding provisional ballots put her up more than 2,000 votes. Stivers has conceded.

Kilroy, a Franklin County commissioner, will replace retiring Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio). Kilroy fell just short of unseating Pryce in 2006.

“In Washington, I will work together with Democrats, Republicans, and President-elect Obama to tackle the real problems that our community faces,” Kilroy said in a statement. “Over the next few days I will be in contact with Rep. Deborah Pryce to begin a smooth transition so that no constituent services are delayed during these tough economic times.”

Stivers said in a statement: “While I am extremely proud of the race I ran, ultimately, [it] was not enough. I have called Commissioner Kilroy to congratulate her for her hard-fought victory, and I wish her well in Washington.”

Republicans stole a seat from Democrats on Saturday in the delayed congressional races in Louisiana, when GOPer Joseph Cao shocked indicted Rep. William Jefferson (D) in a low-turnout affair.

In the other Pelican State race delayed by Hurricane Gustav, Republican John Fleming holds a 356-vote lead with all precincts reporting and appears to have defeated Democrat Paul Carmouche, but there might be a recount.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Democratic Majority, leading the news, Mary Jo Kilroy, Ohio Democrat, President-Elect, The Hill, US House of Representatives, Washington

>Treasury may have to request funds from Congress

>The Hill, Leading the News-

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is close to running out of money and soon may have to ask Congress for access to the rest of the $700 billion package it approved for rescuing the economy.

Paulson has said that he intends to leave the second $350 billion of the package for President-elect Barack Obama’s administration, but the government’s moves in just the last two days leave Paulson with only about $20 billion in funds for the nearly two months remaining until Obama’s inauguration.

The continuing market volatility and tough credit markets could force Paulson to seek access to the funds, particularly as the government continues to unveil new programs to prop up the economy.
On Tuesday, Paulson did not rule out requesting access to the remaining funds.

“When the time is right, we’ll avail ourselves of the congressional process,” Paulson said during a press conference.

Treasury has the authority to spend $350 billion of the $700 billion Congress authorized in October under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, known as TARP. The government has committed about $330 billion so far, leaving it with about $20 billion before it would have to make its request to Congress.

Paulson must submit to Congress a plan on how Treasury would use the money in order to access the final $350 billion. Lawmakers could choose to restrict how Treasury can use the money.

Two new efforts that the government announced this week have pushed Paulson closer to having to make a request.

One day after putting together $20 billion in aid for Citigroup, Treasury announced it would provide $20 billion to the Federal Reserve for credit protection as part of the two new programs to prop up the home mortgage and consumer credit markets.

The Federal Reserve offered assurances Sunday on $306 billion in troubled assets for Citigroup as part of the effort to save the firm, which was seen as being on the verge of collapse.

The government has set up a new $200 billion program aimed at unfreezing lending in the consumer credit markets for student loans, car loans and other asset-backed securities. Paulson also suggested that the program could be expanded to additional types of assets, such as commercial mortgage-backed securities and non-agency residential mortgage-backed securities.

“That $200 billion is a starting point. This is — it’s going to take a while to get this program up and going. And — and then it can be expanded and increased over time,” Paulson said.

The Federal Reserve set up a program on Tuesday that could support up to $600 billion in debt issued by or backed by the hobbled government-sponsored enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. “Nothing is more important to getting through this housing correction than the availability of affordable mortgage finance,” Paulson said.

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Filed under bailout, Barack Obama, Citigroup, Congress, Financial crisis, Henry Paulson, leading the news, TARP, The Hill

Treasury may have to request funds from Congress

The Hill, Leading the News-

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is close to running out of money and soon may have to ask Congress for access to the rest of the $700 billion package it approved for rescuing the economy.

Paulson has said that he intends to leave the second $350 billion of the package for President-elect Barack Obama’s administration, but the government’s moves in just the last two days leave Paulson with only about $20 billion in funds for the nearly two months remaining until Obama’s inauguration.

The continuing market volatility and tough credit markets could force Paulson to seek access to the funds, particularly as the government continues to unveil new programs to prop up the economy.
On Tuesday, Paulson did not rule out requesting access to the remaining funds.

“When the time is right, we’ll avail ourselves of the congressional process,” Paulson said during a press conference.

Treasury has the authority to spend $350 billion of the $700 billion Congress authorized in October under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, known as TARP. The government has committed about $330 billion so far, leaving it with about $20 billion before it would have to make its request to Congress.

Paulson must submit to Congress a plan on how Treasury would use the money in order to access the final $350 billion. Lawmakers could choose to restrict how Treasury can use the money.

Two new efforts that the government announced this week have pushed Paulson closer to having to make a request.

One day after putting together $20 billion in aid for Citigroup, Treasury announced it would provide $20 billion to the Federal Reserve for credit protection as part of the two new programs to prop up the home mortgage and consumer credit markets.

The Federal Reserve offered assurances Sunday on $306 billion in troubled assets for Citigroup as part of the effort to save the firm, which was seen as being on the verge of collapse.

The government has set up a new $200 billion program aimed at unfreezing lending in the consumer credit markets for student loans, car loans and other asset-backed securities. Paulson also suggested that the program could be expanded to additional types of assets, such as commercial mortgage-backed securities and non-agency residential mortgage-backed securities.

“That $200 billion is a starting point. This is — it’s going to take a while to get this program up and going. And — and then it can be expanded and increased over time,” Paulson said.

The Federal Reserve set up a program on Tuesday that could support up to $600 billion in debt issued by or backed by the hobbled government-sponsored enterprises, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. “Nothing is more important to getting through this housing correction than the availability of affordable mortgage finance,” Paulson said.

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Filed under bailout, Barack Obama, Citigroup, Congress, Financial crisis, Henry Paulson, leading the news, TARP, The Hill

>Bush Grants 14 Pardons, Two Commutations

>From the Hill- Leading the News
President Bush on Monday granted what could be a first round of pardons for a number of convicted criminals before he leaves office in January.

Bush granted 14 pardons and two commutations Monday. Speculation has swirled around whether the president will grant a full pardon to I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, after commuting his sentence in 2007 for committing perjury in the CIA leak investigation. In addition, Bush could grant some form of executive clemency to a number of Republican congressmen who have been convicted and jailed for corruption.

But no big Washington names were present in the batch of pardons released by the Justice Department on Monday. Instead, many small-time criminals benefited from Bush’s pardon power. Several drug dealers, a bank embezzler and even someone who violated the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act saw their criminal records wiped clean by the White House.

Additional high-profile figures have petitioned the Justice Department’s Office of the U.S. Pardon Attorney, such as media baron Conrad Black and “America Taliban” John Walker Lindh. Several lawmakers have also pushed for Bush to weigh in on behalf of Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos, two U.S. Border Patrol agents who have been sentenced to prison after shooting a Mexican drug smuggler during a routine border stop three years ago.

Bush has not been known to be generous with his power to wave away a criminal record, though. The president has now pardoned 171 individuals and commuted sentences for eight people, a relatively small number compared to past administrations.

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Filed under Commutations, Dick Cheney, Justice Department, leading the news, Pardons, perjury, President Bush, Scooter Libby, The Hill, US Attorney

Bush Grants 14 Pardons, Two Commutations

From the Hill- Leading the News
President Bush on Monday granted what could be a first round of pardons for a number of convicted criminals before he leaves office in January.

Bush granted 14 pardons and two commutations Monday. Speculation has swirled around whether the president will grant a full pardon to I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff, after commuting his sentence in 2007 for committing perjury in the CIA leak investigation. In addition, Bush could grant some form of executive clemency to a number of Republican congressmen who have been convicted and jailed for corruption.

But no big Washington names were present in the batch of pardons released by the Justice Department on Monday. Instead, many small-time criminals benefited from Bush’s pardon power. Several drug dealers, a bank embezzler and even someone who violated the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act saw their criminal records wiped clean by the White House.

Additional high-profile figures have petitioned the Justice Department’s Office of the U.S. Pardon Attorney, such as media baron Conrad Black and “America Taliban” John Walker Lindh. Several lawmakers have also pushed for Bush to weigh in on behalf of Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos, two U.S. Border Patrol agents who have been sentenced to prison after shooting a Mexican drug smuggler during a routine border stop three years ago.

Bush has not been known to be generous with his power to wave away a criminal record, though. The president has now pardoned 171 individuals and commuted sentences for eight people, a relatively small number compared to past administrations.

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Filed under Commutations, Dick Cheney, Justice Department, leading the news, Pardons, perjury, President Bush, Scooter Libby, The Hill, US Attorney

>Obama urges extension of unemployment benefits

>The Hill – Leading the News

President-elect Barack Obama on Saturday lauded President Bush for convening a meeting of the world’s largest economies to address the global financial crisis but also urged more action at home.

The Illinois senator, in a radio address that for the first time was also videotaped and posted online, said a “coordinated global response” is needed to address the crisis. In addition to world leaders discussing the issue this weekend, Obama argued that Congress must do more to help struggling Americans.

“Millions of our fellow citizens lie awake each night wondering how they’re going to pay their bills, stay in their homes, and save for retirement,” he stated.

However, Obama added that Congress can take steps to address the crisis and “must act right now.”

“Next week, Congress will meet to address the spreading impact of the economic crisis. I urge them to pass at least a down-payment on a rescue plan that will create jobs, relieve the squeeze on families, and help get the economy growing again,” the president-elect said. “In particular, we cannot afford to delay providing help for the more than one million Americans who will have exhausted their unemployment insurance by the end of this year.”

Obama promised that, if Congress does not pass a second stimulus measure during its upcoming lame duck session, he would make it his “first order of business” upon taking office.

The president-elect also sought offer Americans encouragement in tough economic times. Not only did Obama express confidence that the country would overcome the crisis, he also said that the current crisis could lead to opportunities “to create new jobs, strengthen our middle class, and keep our economy competitive in the 21st century.”

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Filed under Barack Obama, extension, Financial crisis, leading the news, President-Elect, Radio Adress, The Hill, unemployment benefits, video

Obama urges extension of unemployment benefits

The Hill – Leading the News

President-elect Barack Obama on Saturday lauded President Bush for convening a meeting of the world’s largest economies to address the global financial crisis but also urged more action at home.

The Illinois senator, in a radio address that for the first time was also videotaped and posted online, said a “coordinated global response” is needed to address the crisis. In addition to world leaders discussing the issue this weekend, Obama argued that Congress must do more to help struggling Americans.

“Millions of our fellow citizens lie awake each night wondering how they’re going to pay their bills, stay in their homes, and save for retirement,” he stated.

However, Obama added that Congress can take steps to address the crisis and “must act right now.”

“Next week, Congress will meet to address the spreading impact of the economic crisis. I urge them to pass at least a down-payment on a rescue plan that will create jobs, relieve the squeeze on families, and help get the economy growing again,” the president-elect said. “In particular, we cannot afford to delay providing help for the more than one million Americans who will have exhausted their unemployment insurance by the end of this year.”

Obama promised that, if Congress does not pass a second stimulus measure during its upcoming lame duck session, he would make it his “first order of business” upon taking office.

The president-elect also sought offer Americans encouragement in tough economic times. Not only did Obama express confidence that the country would overcome the crisis, he also said that the current crisis could lead to opportunities “to create new jobs, strengthen our middle class, and keep our economy competitive in the 21st century.”

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Filed under Barack Obama, extension, Financial crisis, leading the news, President-Elect, Radio Adress, The Hill, unemployment benefits, video

>Obama Says Economic Stimulus Is First Task

>The Hill – Leading the News

President-elect Barack Obama said Friday that the nation is facing “the greatest economic challenge of our lifetime,” and a new economic stimulus package is a top priority.

In addition to the stimulus package, Obama said an extension of unemployment benefits tops his list for when he is sworn in — if these two items are not passed and signed by President Bush beforehand.

Speaking in his first press conference since being elected, Obama was flanked by his transition economic advisory board as Friday morning brought news that unemployment numbers had jumped and about 1.2 million jobs have been lost this year.
Obama cautioned that the country “only has one government and one president at a time,” but he said he is confident that he can restore confidence in the economy. Obama said he wants a new stimulus package “sooner rather than later,” and if Bush and Congress fail to pass one in a lame-duck session it “will be the first thing I get done as president of the United States.”

Obama said a second economic stimulus package is “long overdue,” and he will “act swiftly” to “confront this economic crisis head-on.”

With unemployment now at 6.5 percent nationwide, Obama warned that solving the economic crisis will not be a fast process, but he said a new president can do an enormous amount to restore confidence.”

Obama also stressed that the auto industry needs help to preserve manufacturing jobs, and he said that extending unemployment benefits as a top priority.

The White House has said repeatedly that the president is “open” to ideas for plans that would help stimulate the economy, but administration officials have also expressed skepticism about the various stimulus package proposals floating around Capitol Hill.

White House spokesman Tony Fratto said Friday morning that “we have right now to deal with the economy as it is.”

“Some of the ideas that we’ve seen, things like infrastructure spending, for example, have an exceedingly limited impact on the economy in the short term,” Fratto said.

The president-elect said he is grateful for Bush’s efforts to reach out to him, and he said he would go into his Monday meeting at the White House “with a spirit of bipartisanship.”

Obama also said that future first lady Michelle Obama will scout D.C. schools for their young daughters. And as for the puppy Obama promised his girls on election night — they are looking for a dog that is both allergy-friendly and rescued from the pound.

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Filed under Barack Obama, economic advisory team, Economic Stimulus Package, leading the news, President-Elect, The Hill, unemployment