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Washington Insider

  • December 13, 2011

    House Sets Up Battle Over Payroll Tax Cut, Pipeline

    The House and Senate are set to clash this week on a high-priority package to extend the Social Security payroll tax cut as part of the ongoing partisan debate over how to boost the economy and spur job creation. Although party leaders in both chambers support renewing the tax cut and long-term unemployment benefits, lawmakers are divided over how to finance the measure and whether to include unrelated matters.
  • December 05, 2011

    Competing Payroll Tax Bills Both Rejected by Senate

    The contours of the debate over preserving a year-old Social Security payroll tax cut came into focus last week, with senators from both sides of the aisle embracing an extension of the benefit even as they disagreed over how to pay for it. The dispute over offsets sank two bills in the Senate, one each by the Democrats and Republicans.
  • November 28, 2011

    Facing the Consequences of the Fall of the Supercommittee

    The next time Congress makes a serious run at reducing the deficit, sometime after the 2012 presidential election, it seems a safe bet that lawmakers won’t be creating a super-committee. While congressional leaders created the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction four months ago with a mandate of trimming at least $1.2 trillion from the budget, it was always unclear just how invested members were in an actual deal.
  • November 21, 2011

    Deficit Panel Heads Toward Its Likely Demise with Little Drama

    The joint deficit committee remained deadlocked as the panel headed toward a likely announcement Monday that it had failed in its months-long quest to reach an agreement to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion.
  • November 16, 2011

    Prospect of Automatic Cuts Weighs on Supercommittee

    The prospect of painful automatic spending cuts in January 2013 has been one of the main factors keeping difficult budget talks alive over the past month. It may also serve to contain the fallout among investors if negotiators fail to bridge a persistent divide in the coming week. The sequester, as those automatic cuts are called, remains a potent political topic as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction struggles to reach a deal.
  • November 09, 2011

    President Obama Unveils Jobs Initiatives to Help Veterans

    President Obama put his American Jobs Act back on the agenda last week by announcing several new programs geared toward getting veterans back in the workforce. In a Rose Garden ceremony with veterans by his side, the president announced new executive actions designed to encourage companies to help those who have served in the military.
  • November 02, 2011

    Deficit Reduction Plan in Peril? Depends on Who You Ask.

    November 23, the mandated deadline for the supercommittee to formulate a deal to cut the nation's deficit by $1.2 trillion, is only weeks away, but a bipartisan compromise appears far from certain. Some lawmakers, like Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) (pictured at right), are encouraged that the chances of a deal are improving, but others remain skeptical.
  • October 25, 2011

    Administration Plans to Tackle Underwater Mortgages

    President Barack Obama announced this week a new plan designed to fix the nation’s ailing housing market and shore up the economy. At a time when more than 10 million Americans owe more on their homes than they are worth, President Obama said his administration aims to remove restrictions that prevented millions of Americans from taking advantage of existing programs designed to reduce monthly mortgage payments.
  • October 18, 2011

    President Obama's Jobs Bill to Return, Piece by Piece

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said Monday that he plans to begin breaking apart President Barack Obama’s ambitious $447 billion “American Jobs Act” by planning a vote on new legislation to help states pay teachers and first responders. The bill, "Putting Teachers and First Responders Back to Work Act," was sponsored by Senators Robert Casey (D-PA) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ).
  • October 12, 2011

    China Currency Legislation Tops Washington Agenda

    Republican leaders in the U.S. House are under increasing pressure to pass legislation relating to China’s so-called currency manipulation. China has been accused by government officials of purposefully undervaluing its remnibi, leading to an unfair trade advantage over the United States. The legislation, which is widely expected to pass the Senate, is characterized by Senate Democrats as a major jobs bill that will help stimulate the stagnant American economy.
  • October 06, 2011

    Republicans Oppose Jobs Bill; Senate Democrats Rewrite Plan

    House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) (center) continued his opposition to President Obama's jobs bill this week, saying the measure was "dead on arrival" and would not be brought up on the House floor for a vote. In response, Senate Democrats, led by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), have begun looking at the bill with an eye towards moving forward with a plan later this week.
  • September 20, 2011

    President's Deficit Reduction Plan Takes Aim at Wealthiest

    President Obama recently unveiled a plan that would cut over $3 trillion from the federal budget deficit over the next 10 years through spending cuts and raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans. His deficit blueprint does not address Medicare and Social Security but calls for a personal income tax overhaul.
  • September 06, 2011

    U.S. Chamber Sends Jobs Plan to Congress and Administration

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to President Obama and Congress urging their immediate action on six steps that can create millions of American jobs without increasing the deficit or expanding the government. The plan is covered in an Associated Press story, a video and an op-ed.
  • August 31, 2011

    Obama Names Alan Krueger New Economic Advisor

    President Obama has chosen a leading labor economist, Princeton professor Alan Krueger, to head his White House economics team. By tapping Krueger, who served as the Treasury Department’s secretary for economic policy and chief economist from 2009-2010, the president sought to highlight the urgency of jump-starting the nation’s economy.
  • August 16, 2011

    Deficit Reduction "Supercommittee" Line-up Set

    In the aftermath of the debt-ceiling debate, Congressional leaders have formally appointed members to the deficit reduction "supercommittee," the group created in the compromise legislation to identify trillions in budget savings over the next 10 years.
 
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