WASHINGTON (MNI) – The following are items of interest Tuesday
relating to the pending congressional vote on whether to extend Bush era
tax cuts and to the deficit:
* President Obama meets later in the day with both Democratic and
Republican congressional leaders for the first time since the election
that gave control of the House of Representatives to the GOP next year.
* House Majority Leader-Elect Eric Cantor, who will be
among congressional leaders meeting with President Obama,
Tuesday indicated little give in the GOP position on tax cuts.
He told NBC’s “Today” Show Republicans oppose leaving taxes to
go up for anyone, including the wealthiest.
* White House spokesman Robert Gibbs Monday continued to say that
Bush-era tax cuts cannot be extended for households earning more than
$250,000 a year, saying “We simply cannot afford” to do more.
* Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus told The Hill newspaper
Democrats are mounting a campaign in the Lame Duck Congress to extend
unemployment benefits for one year that are set to expire at midnight.
Without an extension the benefits would disappear for 2 million
recipient by the end of the year. The extension would cost about $65
* The Congressional Budget Office Monday revised downward the cost
to government of the crisis program to rescue banks, AIG and GM, saying
now the ultimate cost will be about $25 billion. Previous estimates had
the cost as high as $350 billion. Other transactions with financial
institutions will, taken together, yield a net gain to the federal
government, the CBO estimated.
* President Obama’s proposal to freeze federal pay for two years,
saving $5 billion, preempted the GOP’s identical proposal, helping sour
relations between the political parties going into the White House
meeting with congressional leaders, analysts said.
* The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform,
scheduled to report its recommendations on how to narrow the deficit
Wednesday, scheduled a news conference for 3:30 p.m. ET Tuesday.
Congressional leaders have said they would consider its recommendations
if 14 of the 18 members agreed on them.
* The New York State Legislature, in special session Monday,
decided not to confront its $315 million budget deficit, the main
purpose of the session called by Gov. David Paterson, blaming the
governor for delivering his suggested deficit cuts two hours too late.
* Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is expected to face
questions on fiscal policy later in the day when he discusses the
economy with business leaders in Columbus.
** Market News International Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 **