Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Morning Must Reads

Politico: Congress Punts Problems to 2010: “The House, anxious to go home, is to begin voting Wednesday on four year-end bills, most of which share one thing in common: a two-month punt on every tough issue, from managing the federal debt to helping the nation’s growing ranks of long-term unemployed… It makes for a remarkable February, when President Barack Obama’s 2011 budget is also due. And all this will be sandwiched between January’s Senate debate on the Federal Reserve’s management and what promises to be a painful March fight in the House over new war funding for Afghanistan.”

Roll Call: GOP Promises Consequences for GITMO Move: “Congressional Republicans expressed outrage Tuesday over President Barack Obama’s plan to transfer detainees from the Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, prison facility to Thomson, Ill., and warned that Democrats in the House and Senate will pay a stiff price if they agree to the proposal. Ownership of the Thomson prison could be transferred to the Justice Department by January, but the first vote on whether to allow detainees to be held indefinitely on U.S. soil — a key aspect of the proposal — might not occur until next September at the earliest, right as the 2010 elections enter the home stretch…But Republicans said broader efforts in the House and Senate appeared unlikely for now. Instead, Republican aides said GOP lawmakers are content to continue their rhetorical war on the administration and Congressional Democrats.”

Wall Street Journal: Obama's Push on Jobs Gets a Slow Start: “President Barack Obama used the backdrop of a suburban Virginia Home Depot Tuesday to press his plans for job creation, the third event in four days in which the president has tried to show his concern for economic woes on Main Street.

But political realities are clouding Mr. Obama's efforts. On Tuesday, House Democratic leaders unveiled a $75 billion job-creation package that doesn't include the two new ideas the president proposed last week: tax rebates for home energy-efficiency renovations -- dubbed "cash for caulkers" -- and tax credits for small businesses that hire new employees.

A presidential push to loosen lending to small business has been weakened by the big banks' repayment of federal bailout money to get out from under government control. And looming over all of Mr. Obama's efforts on the jobs front is an annual budget deficit running at a projected $1.4 trillion that White House aides promise to address in the fiscal 2011 budget release in February.”

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