While President Obama and the Senate are fine with the stimulus deal that appears headed for final votes in Congress on Friday and Obama’s signature on Monday, the House is another matter….And it’s not just Republicans….Some House Democrats are upset with some of the changes made to preserve the support of three Republicans in the Senate, who wield virtual veto-power.
And there are reports that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was ticked off that Harry Reid, the top Senate Democrat, announced the compromise Wednesday afternoon before her rank-and-file had signed off. She is expected to say more at a 3 p.m. news conference.
The Washington Post has some details on the latest changes in the bill.
The bill is made up of four broad categories: tax breaks for individuals and businesses; investments in health care and alternative energy; funding for “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects; and aid to state and local governments, including expanded benefits for individuals who are unemployed and lack health insurance.
…initial calculations showed that the bill includes $282 billion in tax breaks, including a temporary fix to the alternative minimum tax and a new tax credit for home buyers, although it was drastically reduced from the Senate-passed version. Spending for highways, bridges and other transportation projects is nearly $50 billion. The measure would provide an additional 20 weeks of unemployment payments and health-care subsidies for people who are out of work. Social Security recipients would receive an additional $250 payment, and the federal government’s contribution to the Medicaid program would increase dramatically.
That all sounds pretty positive anyway.
The final package will substantially reduce the Senate’s $15,000 tax credit for home buyers, placing income limits on who could benefit and reducing the overall cost from $35 billion to about $5 billion, Collins said. While most of the key compromises involved cutting the legislation’s cost, negotiators did raise the amount of funding for highway, bridge and rail construction projects to $49.6 billion, an increase of more than $3.5 billion from the Senate’s legislation.
That doesn’t sound so great. Why are we letting Susan Collins control this bill again?
More details from Bloomberg News:
Lawmakers said they reduced one of Obama’s main proposals, a plan to provide a $500 payroll tax cut to individuals and $1,000 to families. Under the compromise, the bill would provide $400 and $800 tax cuts, respectively. Retirees and disabled veterans who don’t pay payroll taxes would get a one-time payment of $250.
Lawmakers slashed a $35 billion plan designed to increase home sales. The Senate bill called for doubling a $7,500 tax credit for homebuyers. Under the compromise, that credit would increase by $500. The Senate proposal was supported by Centex Corp., the second-biggest U.S. homebuilder by sales, and the National Association of Home Builders.
Also scaled back was an $11 billion Senate proposal to help the auto industry by allowing new car buyers to write off the cost of interest payments on their loans and their sales and excise taxes. Under the compromise, estimated to cost $2 billion, buyers would be able to deduct the sales and excise taxes on cars purchased this year.
A proposed business tax cut that would have allowed companies to convert losses into tax refunds was all but eliminated. Baucus said the provision would have let companies claim $67.5 billion in refunds this year and next year….
Lawmakers dropped provisions, opposed by Wall Street, which would have required companies taking money from the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program to repay the cash portions of bonuses topping $100,000, Baucus said.
I watched Pelosi’s press conference. It was a big dud–no fireworks and a bunch of b.s., IMHO. Maybe Dakinikat will react to some of these details.
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