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