Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra – Making nice (or not)

December 15, 2010

It was President Obama’s day for showing the business community he cares. He invited CEOs to Blair House across the street from the White House to discuss ideas for creating jobs and revving up the economy.

USARepublicans tried to turn the olive branch into an inconsequential twig. House Speaker-to-be John Boehner (who wasn’t invited) tweeted while the meeting was underway that it amounted to a “nothingburger.”

Honeywell CEO David Cote, who attended the meeting, had some sympathy for Obama: “We avoided a depression largely because of the actions of the president … I think he gets zero credit for it in the business or political community, because it seems like you get zero credit for the problem you avoid, even though that may be the biggest thing that you do.”

On Capitol Hill, Democrats and Republicans were trying to make a contest out of who had more Christmas spirit.

Faced with the prospect of a legislative session going into and beyond the Christmas holiday, Republican Senator Jon Kyl said it was impossible to get everything done that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wanted “without disrespecting one of the two holiest of holidays for Christians…”

Reid said he didn’t need to hear any “sanctimonious” lecture from Kyl, and added: “My question is where were their concerns about Christmas as they led filibusters on every major piece of legislation this Congress?”

A Gallup poll had a bit of coal for all of their stockings — public opinion of Congress hit a new low with an 83 percent disapproval rating.

Here are our top stories from Washington today…

 

Senate passes Obama’s $858 billion tax-cut plan

A deal President Obama struck with Republicans to extend expiring tax cuts sailed through the Senate. The drama now moves to the House of Representatives, where many of Obama’s fellow Democrats strongly oppose the measure as favoring the wealthy but are becoming more resigned to its passage.

 

For more of this story by Kim Dixon and Richard Cowan, read here.

 

Obama courts U.S. business to spur hiring

President Obama, trying to improve strained relations with the corporate world, prodded America’s top business executives to spend more money to boost hiring and the economy. “We focused on jobs and investment and they feel optimistic that, by working together, we can get some of the cash off the sidelines,” Obama said after more than four hours with 20 company leaders.

 

For more of this story by Alister Bull, read here.

 

Obama administration sues BP, others over Gulf spill

The Obama administration sued BP and four other companies in connection with the Gulf oil spill, charging violations of environmental laws in the opening salvo in what will likely be a lengthy legal battle. The lawsuit seeks damages from BP, Transocean, Anadarko Petroleum, MOEX and Transocean’s insurer. The lawsuit did not name Halliburton, which did the cementing for the Macondo Well, or Cameron International which provided equipment for the well, but the Justice Department said its investigation was continuing and more defendants and charges could be added later.

 

For more of this story by Jeremy Pelofsky and James Vicini, read here.

 

Production data point to sustained recovery

Industrial production rose at its fastest pace in four months in November, implying a self-sustaining recovery is now entrenched, but a mild gain in consumer prices indicated still abundant slack in the economy.

 

For more of this story by Lucia Mutikani, read here.

 

Senate begins START debate, delay bid fizzles

The Senate voted to begin debate on the New START nuclear arms treaty with Russia, facing down a Republican threat to delay the proceedings by reading out the text of the accord.

 

For more of this story by David Alexander and Thomas Ferraro, read here.

 

Senate votes to extend ethanol subsidy for 2011

The Senate voted in favor of a one-year extension of the ethanol tax credit and the ethanol import tariff at existing rates, despite complaints the subsidies were wasteful. The bill will be welcomed by the struggling ethanol industry and by American farmers who supply the corn to produce the fuel that is blended into automotive gasoline.

 

For more of this story by Tom Doggett and Charles Abbott, read here.

 

CFTC admits will miss deadline on position limits

The futures regulator acknowledged it will miss the January target for issuing a final rule on limiting the amount of contracts a trader can control in agricultural, energy and metals markets. The CFTC will also propose phasing in position limits, putting them first on the spot month and then deferred months or positions in all months combined. The group will unveil its plan Thursday in its almost three-year crusade to prevent a repeat of the 2008 surge in commodity prices to record highs.

 

For more of this story by Tom Doggett and Charles Abbott, read here.

 

Christmas ornament shuts Pentagon rail station

A blinking package forced the closure of the Pentagon subway station for 90 minutes at rush hour on Wednesday — until the suspicious item turned out to be a Christmas ornament.

 

For more of this story, read here.

 

What we are blogging…

 

Congress hits new low in public opinion

The American public’s opinion of Congress has hit a new low, with only 13 percent of adults saying they approve of the job the national legislature is doing. That’s according to a new Gallup survey, which finds an 83 percent disapproval rating for Congress — the worst the polling organization has seen in more than 30 years of congressional performance tracking. The ‘good’ news is that Congress’ rating slipped only 1 percentage point from last time.

 

For David Morgan’s full post, click here.

 

A Senate Christmas tale

Christmas bells are ringing. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid doesn’t seem to be listening. Much to the chagrin of staffers and more than a few senators, Reid is threatening to keep the Senate in session until Christmas Eve and beyond to finish all the legislative work that Congress failed to complete before the November elections. That amounts to just about a whole year’s worth of lawmaking.

 

For Donna Smith’s full post, click here.

It was President Obama’s day for showing the business community he cares. He invited CEOs to Blair House across the street from the White House to discuss ideas for creating jobs and revving up the economy.

Republicans tried to turn the olive branch into an inconsequential twig. House Speaker-to-be John Boehner (who wasn’t invited) tweeted while the meeting was underway that it amounted to a “nothingburger.”

Honeywell CEO David Cote, who attended the meeting, had some sympathy for Obama: “We avoided a depression largely because of the actions of the president … I think he gets zero credit for it in the business or political community, because it seems like you get zero credit for the problem you avoid, even though that may be the biggest thing that you do.”

On Capitol Hill, Democrats and Republicans were trying to make a contest out of who had more Christmas spirit.

Faced with the prospect of a legislative session going into and beyond the Christmas holiday, Republican Senator Jon Kyl said it was impossible to get everything done that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wanted “without disrespecting one of the two holiest of holidays for Christians…”

Reid said he didn’t need to hear any “sanctimonious” lecture from Kyl, and added: “My question is where were their concerns about Christmas as they led filibusters on every major piece of legislation this Congress?”

A Gallup poll had a bit of coal for all of their stockings — public opinion of Congress hit a new low with an 83 percent disapproval rating.

Here are our top stories from Washington today…

 

Senate passes Obama’s $858 billion tax-cut plan

A deal President Obama struck with Republicans to extend expiring tax cuts sailed through the Senate. The drama now moves to the House of Representatives, where many of Obama’s fellow Democrats strongly oppose the measure as favoring the wealthy but are becoming more resigned to its passage.

For more of this story by Kim Dixon and Richard Cowan, read here.

Obama courts U.S. business to spur hiring

President Obama, trying to improve strained relations with the corporate world, prodded America’s top business executives to spend more money to boost hiring and the economy. “We focused on jobs and investment and they feel optimistic that, by working together, we can get some of the cash off the sidelines,” Obama said after more than four hours with 20 company leaders.

For more of this story by Alister Bull, read here.

Obama administration sues BP, others over Gulf spill

The Obama administration sued BP and four other companies in connection with the Gulf oil spill, charging violations of environmental laws in the opening salvo in what will likely be a lengthy legal battle. The lawsuit seeks damages from BP, Transocean, Anadarko Petroleum, MOEX and Transocean’s insurer. The lawsuit did not name Halliburton, which did the cementing for the Macondo Well, or Cameron International which provided equipment for the well, but the Justice Department said its investigation was continuing and more defendants and charges could be added later.

For more of this story by Jeremy Pelofsky and James Vicini, read here.

Production data point to sustained recovery

Industrial production rose at its fastest pace in four months in November, implying a self-sustaining recovery is now entrenched, but a mild gain in consumer prices indicated still abundant slack in the economy.

For more of this story by Lucia Mutikani, read here.

 

Senate begins START debate, delay bid fizzles

The Senate voted to begin debate on the New START nuclear arms treaty with Russia, facing down a Republican threat to delay the proceedings by reading out the text of the accord.

For more of this story by David Alexander and Thomas Ferraro, read here.

Senate votes to extend ethanol subsidy for 2011

The Senate voted in favor of a one-year extension of the ethanol tax credit and the ethanol import tariff at existing rates, despite complaints the subsidies were wasteful. The bill will be welcomed by the struggling ethanol industry and by American farmers who supply the corn to produce the fuel that is blended into automotive gasoline.

For more of this story by Tom Doggett and Charles Abbott, read here.

CFTC admits will miss deadline on position limits

The futures regulator acknowledged it will miss the January target for issuing a final rule on limiting the amount of contracts a trader can control in agricultural, energy and metals markets. The CFTC will also propose phasing in position limits, putting them first on the spot month and then deferred months or positions in all months combined. The group will unveil its plan Thursday in its almost three-year crusade to prevent a repeat of the 2008 surge in commodity prices to record highs.

For more of this story by Tom Doggett and Charles Abbott, read here.

Christmas ornament shuts Pentagon rail station

A blinking package forced the closure of the Pentagon subway station for 90 minutes at rush hour on Wednesday — until the suspicious item turned out to be a Christmas ornament.

For more of this story, read here.

What we are blogging…

 

Congress hits new low in public opinion

The American public’s opinion of Congress has hit a new low, with only 13 percent of adults saying they approve of the job the national legislature is doing. That’s according to a new Gallup survey, which finds an 83 percent disapproval rating for Congress — the worst the polling organization has seen in more than 30 years of congressional performance tracking. The ‘good’ news is that Congress’ rating slipped only 1 percentage point from last time.

For David Morgan’s full post, click here.

A Senate Christmas tale

Christmas bells are ringing. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid doesn’t seem to be listening. Much to the chagrin of staffers and more than a few senators, Reid is threatening to keep the Senate in session until Christmas Eve and beyond to finish all the legislative work that Congress failed to complete before the November elections. That amounts to just about a whole year’s worth of lawmaking.

For Donna Smith’s full post, click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young (Obama walks back to White House after meeting with business leaders)

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