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Jun 8, 2012

Drive toward U.S. fiscal cliff takes election detour

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – If ever there was a case for putting off until tomorrow what could be done today, the deeply divided U.S. Congress and President Barack Obama have found one in the “fiscal cliff” decisions they face.

It’s not that all 535 members of Congress and the Obama administration are sitting around, twiddling their thumbs until after the November 6 elections and putting off momentous tax and budget questions, especially with a European economic crisis scarily threatening U.S. growth.

Jun 8, 2012

Analysis: Drive toward U.S. fiscal cliff takes election detour

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – If ever there was a case for putting off until tomorrow what could be done today, the deeply divided U.S. Congress and President Barack Obama have found one in the “fiscal cliff” decisions they face.

It’s not that all 535 members of Congress and the Obama administration are sitting around, twiddling their thumbs until after the November 6 elections and putting off momentous tax and budget questions, especially with a European economic crisis scarily threatening U.S. growth.

Jun 5, 2012

Senate Republicans block equal pay measure

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked an election-year bid by Democrats for legislation they said would discourage employers from paying women less than they pay men for the same job.

In a party-line vote, Democrats, who control the Senate, failed to muster the 60 votes needed to advance the legislation backed by President Barack Obama.

May 24, 2012

Senate “Fire Department” seeks to ease partisan rancor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Call it a humble effort to douse the flames of dysfunction and paralysis in the U.S. Senate.

Frustrated by an inability to get much done amid the partisan rancor in what has been called “the world’s greatest deliberative body,” two senators – Republican Lamar Alexander and Democrat Mark Warner – have decided to quietly reach across the political divide.

May 17, 2012

Senate votes put Fed board at full strength

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate on Thursday confirmed two nominees to the Federal Reserve, bringing its short-handed board up to full strength for the first time since 2006 as it wrestles with a tepid economic recovery and a revamp of U.S. financial rules.

The Senate voted 70-24 to confirm Harvard economist Jeremy Stein and 74-21 to confirm investment banker Jerome Powell.

May 17, 2012

Avoiding a year-end fiscal cliff

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The November 6 elections are less than six months away, but lawmakers and Washington insiders are already trying to figure out what Congress will do in a post-election session to avoid what is being described as a January 1 “fiscal cliff.”

That refers to a series of decisions on budget and tax matters President Barack Obama and Congress will have to negotiate in November and December. If handled poorly, the economic recovery could be threatened, economists fear.

May 15, 2012

US Senate leaders move toward vote on Fed nominees

WASHINGTON, May 15 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s two
stalled nominees for the Federal Reserve are likely to clear a
Senate procedural hurdle on Thursday, paving the way for
anticipated confirmation, the chamber’s leaders said on Tue sday.

Democratic and Republican aides said they expect Senate
approval of the pair as early as Thursday, shortly after the
procedural vote, which would take the Fed’s Washington-based
board up to its full seven-person strength for the first time
since April 2006.

May 14, 2012

In Republicans’ push for tax overhaul, popular deductions on the block

WASHINGTON, May 14 (Reuters) – It has been nearly 20 years
since President George H.W. Bush lost his bid for re-election
after making a “no new taxes” pledge, and then agreeing to raise
taxes. Since then, Republicans have not touched hundreds of tax
breaks in U.S. tax laws, fearing that doing so could be called a
tax hike.

That could be changing.

They’re not advertising it, but Republicans in Congress,
along with a few Democrats, are exploring the idea of limiting
or ending some of Americans’ most sacred tax breaks. They
include deductions on contributions to 401(k) retirement
accounts and possibly those on home mortgage interest, each of
which save millions of Americans thousands of dollars each year.

Apr 16, 2012

Romney’s remarks on limiting tax deductions draw fire

WASHINGTON, April 16 (Reuters) – Was it case of a politician
being candid behind closed doors? Or was he merely leading a
provocative discussion of tax proposals?

Those were the questions surrounding U.S. Republican Mitt
Romney’s presidential campaign on Monday, after he was overhead
telling supporters at a private fundraiser in Florida over the
weekend that he might seek to limit tax deductions for mortgages
and eliminate the Department of Housing and Urban Development
(HUD).

Apr 10, 2012

Gun owners seek end to state barriers to concealed weapons

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Ryan Jerome took his .45-caliber Ruger with him to Manhattan last September and thought he understood the city’s weapons laws when he carried his loaded handgun on a side trip to the Empire State Building.

But Jerome, who is from Indiana, soon found himself in a legal tangle that he said illustrates the confusing array of gun laws in the U.S. and the need for uniformity.

    • About Donna

      "Washington congressional correspondent specializing in economics, taxes and budget issues. Covered the healthcare reform legislation and President George W. Bush's push to overhaul Social Security. Also covered the savings and loan crisis and spent time covering the White House during President Bill Clinton's administration. Covered trade and Federal Reserve policy as well."
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