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Nov 17, 2010

Bernanke defends Fed policy before skeptical lawmakers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Under withering fire at home and abroad, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke paid a visit to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to try to tamp down lawmakers’ anger over the central bank’s bond-buying program.

The program announced on November 3 has triggered far-flung criticism, from charges overseas that it is a plot to drive the dollar’s value down, to home-grown allegations that it sows the seeds for inflation and outstrips the Fed’s authority.

Nov 17, 2010

Soda pop, sales tax targeted to cut US deficit

WASHINGTON, Nov 17 (Reuters) – Warning of a “death spiral”
without drastic changes, a group of experts on the U.S. federal
budget deficit on Wednesday called for a 2011 Social Security
tax holiday, a soft drink tax and government spending freezes.

In an ambitious plan to slash the deficit and the
fast-mounting national debt, the group also called for a new
6.5 percent national sales tax, as well as lower and simpler
individual income and corporate tax rates.

Nov 17, 2010

Sweet drinks, sales tax targeted to cut deficit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Warning of a “death spiral” without drastic changes, a group of experts on the U.S. federal budget deficit on Wednesday called for a 2011 Social Security tax holiday, a soft drink tax and government spending freezes.

In an ambitious plan to slash the deficit and the fast-mounting national debt, the group also called for a new 6.5 percent national sales tax, as well as lower and simpler individual income and corporate tax rates.

Nov 12, 2010

Obama taps NC official to regulate Fannie, Freddie

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will nominate a state bank regulator to be the new head of the U.S. agency that oversees mortgage giants Fannie Mae (FNMA.OB: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Freddie Mac (FMCC.OB: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), the White House said on Friday.

At a time of crisis and growing calls for change in America’s broken housing finance system, Obama intends to tap North Carolina Commissioner of Banks Joseph Smith to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the administration said.

Nov 10, 2010

US deficit panel to detail proposals, clock ticks

WASHINGTON, Nov 10 (Reuters) – A presidential commission
exploring ways to balance the U.S. government’s budget has
scheduled a press briefing for Wednesday at 1 p.m. (1800 GMT)
to discuss proposals being put forward by its co-chairmen.

The 18-member panel, formed this year by President Barack
Obama, held a closed-door session on Capitol Hill on Wednesday
morning. It faces a Dec. 1 deadline to produce a final report
on cutting the national debt and budget deficit.

Nov 10, 2010

Private panel urges shake-up in US budget process

WASHINGTON, Nov 10 (Reuters) – A private panel called for a
shake-up of the U.S. government’s budget process that would set
clear targets for cutting red ink and impose spending cuts and
even tax increases if targets were missed.

The recommendation by the Peterson-Pew Commission on Budget
Reform, a balanced-budget advocacy group that has no official
government role, came as a separate presidential deficit
commission met behind closed doors.

Nov 9, 2010

House panel challenger Ed Royce warns on QE2

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Republican challenger to the chairmanship of a key U.S. congressional bank oversight panel on Tuesday questioned the Federal Reserve’s decision to buy $600 billion in government debt.

The Fed move, known as quantitative easing, was unlikely to diminish uncertainty in the business world or do much to boost lending, Representative Ed Royce told Reuters in an interview.

Nov 4, 2010

U.S. Rep Bachus warns Geithner on “Volcker rule”

WASHINGTON, Nov 4 (Reuters) – The Republican front-runner
to head a key U.S. congressional bank oversight panel has urged
regulators consider whether a new rule limiting risky trading
by U.S. banks may handicap them globally, according to a letter
obtained by Reuters on Thursday.

In a sign of the policy position of the heir-apparent to
the chair of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Financial
Services Committee, Representative Spencer Bachus raised basic
questions in the letter about the impact of the “Volcker Rule,”
enacted into law in July.

Nov 4, 2010

Republicans scuffle over House banking panel

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Just days after winning control of the House of Representatives, Republican leaders on Thursday faced an internal fight over the chairmanship of a key committee that oversees Wall Street.

Representative Spencer Bachus was expected to prevail over rival Ed Royce to become the next head of the House Financial Services Committee, aides said, but the struggle could play a role in setting the panel’s agenda for 2011-12.

Nov 3, 2010

Next US House bank panel head: liquidate GSEs

WASHINGTON, Nov 3 (Reuters) – The next head of a key U.S.
congressional committee overseeing banks and housing finance
told Reuters on Wednesday that mortgage giants Fannie Mae and
Freddie Mac should be in liquidation, not conservatorship.

With Republicans capturing control of the House of
Representatives in Tuesday’s elections, Spencer Bachus is
expected to take over the chairmanship of the House Financial
Services Committee, replacing Democrat Barney Frank.