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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Today in Washington D. C. - Oct. 1, 2008

At 7 PM, the Senate will resume consideration of the Amtrak bill (House message to accompany H.R. 2095). After 30 minutes of debate the Senate will vote on the motion to concur with the House amendment to the bill. The Senate will then resume consideration of the US-India agreement (H.R. 7081) and vote on the amendments and passage of the bill. The senate has been negotiating the the Senate will proceed to consideration of the economic rescue package (H.R. 1424). The Senate will resume consideration of the economic rescue bill and vote on adoption of the Dodd amendment and final passage of the bill.

From Senate & News Sources: Reuters reports, “The Senate agreed to vote on Wednesday night on a $700 billion financial rescue package that will include a sharp increase in the amount of bank deposits insured by the FDIC, but also includes a package of tax breaks the House of Representatives has rejected.” Both Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) will return for this vote.

Confused -- Let's Examine the legislative process (not the value of the bill): Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid agreed last night to move forward with a slightly modified version of the economic rescue legislation negotiated over the weekend. The key change to the bill is a provision that will raise the limit of deposits the government insures from $100,000 to $250,000. This will apply to banks through the FDIC and to credit unions through the NCUA.

The bill will also include the Senate version of a previously-passed tax extenders bill. The tax bill, which passed 93-2 last week, provides for $100 billion in net tax relief and prevents over 20 million Americans from being hit with the alternative minimum tax (AMT) next year. Included in the bill are extensions for the state sales tax deduction, the research tax credit, and deductions for tuition and education expenses. The tax bill also includes billions in renewable energy tax incentives.

The tax extenders bill is being attached to the rescue bill not as a sweetener, but to secure its passage in the House. Previously, House Democrats, led by Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Ways and Means Committee Chair Charlie Rangel (D-NY), had refused to pass the extenders bill unless it included tax increases to offset the AMT relief. The Senate and White House have repeatedly made it clear that neither will support such an approach, but House Democrats have not budged. Attaching the extenders bill to the rescue plan is a way to break this logjam in the House.

The tax extenders bill will be combined with the economic rescue bill into a substitute amendment to be offered by Senate Banking Committee Chair Chris Dodd (D-CT). The amendment will require 60 votes to pass, and must be approved by Reid and McConnell.

The Dodd substitute amendment will be offered to a shell bill, H.R. 1424, which was originally a mental health bill that was passed by the House. This is a common procedure in the Senate and nothing from the original bill will be retained, save its number. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) will also be allowed to offer an amendment to raise tax rates on wealthy individuals. That amendment will receive a voice vote, which is almost certain to fail. Later tonight, the Senate will vote on adopting the Dodd amendment and then vote on final passage of the rescue plan.

Final Comment: Expected the Senate to stuff several other items into this bill. Watch closely to the political sleight of hands and hang on to your wallets.

Tags: AMT, bailout, economic rescue, economic stabilization, tax extenders, US Congress, US Senate, Washington D.C. To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 11:00 AM - Post Link


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