House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that Democrats would not support a bargain with Republicans that only includes revenue increases from eliminating tax deductions and credits. Tax rate increases must also be part of the package, Pelosi insisted. Conservative pundit Bill Kristol said he expects Republicans to go along with a tax rate increase.
Congressional leaders met with President Barack Obama on Friday to discuss plans to avoid the "fiscal cliff" and chart a path forward on a "grand bargain" deficit reduction package. Pelosi described the meeting as congenial.
"The spirit at the table was one of, everybody wants to make the best effort to get this done," Pelosi said in an interview on ABC's "This Week." more >>
The Rolling Jubilee project, an offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement, is following the Bible's example of forgiveness by offering an early Christmas present to those throughout the country who are suffering debt from medical expenses, credit card bills, or college tuition fees.
A brainchild of the Occupy Wall Street movement's subgroup, the Strike Debt committee, the Rolling Jubilee is a volunteer-run debt relief project with a simple goal: to use donated money to absolve the debt amounts held by collection agencies.
As the project's official website states, the word jubilee "comes from many faith traditions including Judaism, Christianity and Islam. A jubilee is an event in which all debts are cancelled and all those in bondage are set free. It worked in Biblical times and it can still work today." more >>
As members of Congress begin work on a plan to avoid the "fiscal cliff" and work toward a "grand bargain" on deficit reduction, one of the main disagreements between the political parties appears to be whether the plan will have tax rate increases or revenue increases. Republicans say they will accept increases in revenue by eliminating deductions and credits; Democrats are saying that tax rates must be increased on families making more than $250,000 per year.
On "Fox News Sunday," Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), chair of the Republican Policy Committee, which represents some of the more conservative House Republicans, said that he will accept some revenue increases as part of a compromise, but he would not agree to increases in the tax rates.
"As long as you close the loopholes, you limit the deductions, limit the credits, you can lower the rates and broaden the base, that's formula for a solution. And it's a real solution," Price said. more >>
Congress and President Obama have delayed some of the nation's toughest decisions until after the election. With the election now over and Americans choosing the status quo – a Democratic president, Democratic Senate and Republican House – political leaders will need to work together before the nation falls off the fiscal cliff.
A slew of tax cuts are set to expire at the end of the year, including the payroll tax "holiday," income tax cuts and a capital gains tax cut. The child tax credit for parents is slated to be reduced from $1,000 to $500. And, tax increases on companies that make health products will begin next year as part of the Affordable Care Act.
Automatic spending cuts are also supposed to go into effect at the beginning of the year – $55 billion in defense spending and $55 billion in non-defense spending, due to the Budget Control Act of 2011. more >>
As much of the U.S. took part in the usual Halloween festivities last night, residents in the Northeast were still coping with the widespread damage caused by the monster storm that hit Monday. By mid-evening Wednesday, the death toll from superstorm Sandy had reached 72 people and about 6 million homes were still without power.
Financial experts predicted an estimated $20 billion in damage and $10 billion to $30 billion in business loss as a result of the storm.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie declared that Halloween trick-or-treating be postponed until next Monday, saying that it was too dangerous for children to participate in the tradition while floodwaters, downed electrical wires, power outages and fallen trees continued to be a problem, various news agencies reported. more >>
In Monday night's third and final presidential debate on foreign policy, President Obama said the deep cuts to the military budgets that are scheduled to take effect on Jan. 2 were not his idea and will not happen. The comment has brought the spotlight back to last year's budget battle and now they are set to take place.
"First of all, the sequester is not something that I've proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed," Obama said during an exchange with Mitt Romney. And he added his strongest pronouncement to date on its future: "It will not happen."
To most Americans the term "sequester," used politically, may not bring back memories of 2011's late summer budget battles between Congress and the White House. The end result was a Super Committee composed of members from both sides of the aisle, from both chambers, whose job was to make the tough decisions. more >>