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GOP senator says he will not block hike in debt ceiling

November 3, 2010 Senate conservative leader Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said Wednesday he would not stand in the way of hiking the $14.3 trillion statutory debt ceiling, which Congress will have to tackle early next year to avoid default on U.S. government obligations. Republicans will extract a price for such action, however, which may ...

Dems aim to send health bill to CBO Friday

January 14, 2010 Healthcare overhaul negotiators have set a Friday goal to send a completed package to CBO, although they said deal-making could stretch into Saturday. While lawmakers must iron out several issues, the White House and labor officials shored up a tentative agreement today to bring unions on board with an excise ...

Senator blocks Treasury nominees

January 7, 2010 Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., is blocking pending Treasury Department nominees with jurisdiction over tax policy and international finance in response to the Obama administration's delay of new Internet gambling prohibitions, according to Senate aides. Kyl, a longtime foe of Internet gaming, helped push through the law banning the ...

Senator seeks review of 'cash for clunkers' effort

January 6, 2010 Senate Finance Committee ranking member Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, wants to know how the money to get the $3 billion "cash for clunkers" program up and running was spent. Citing a quick timetable that required the Transportation Department to start issuing rebate checks to consumers only a month after the program ...

Grassley: Nominees are lax on compliance

November 20, 2009 Senate Finance Committee ranking member Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, took a swipe on Friday at White House and congressional Democrats for not taking nominees' tax troubles seriously enough. "The bar has definitely been lowered with this administration's nominees, in regard to tax compliance," Grassley said at the outset of a hearing ...

Panel: Treasury nominee made tax errors

November 18, 2009 Another Obama administration nominee is in hot water over tax issues. Senate Finance Committee leaders Wednesday announced that Lael Brainard, President Obama's nominee for Treasury undersecretary for international affairs, made several late payments and errors on her 2005-2008 tax returns. There were late payments related to District of Columbia unemployment ...

Customs reauthorization bill picking up support

August 14, 2009 An effort to elevate trade facilitation as a top priority alongside security and enforcement within U.S. customs agencies for the first time since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, has a good shot at being enacted in the 111th Congress, stakeholders say. A customs reauthorization bill introduced late last week ...

Buy America provision triggers rebuke

July 22, 2009 A one-sentence amendment benefiting domestic automakers quietly inserted into a $33 billion spending bill approved Friday has reverberated across the Atlantic, marking another flashpoint in the continuing "Buy America" debate. The amendment to the fiscal 2010 Energy and Water Appropriations bill by Rep. Larry Kissell, D-N.C., stipulates that "none of ...

Private debt collection firms find supporters in Senate

February 27, 2009 A fight over the Internal Revenue Service's use of private debt-collection firms might be looming next week as the Senate takes up the $410 billion fiscal 2009 omnibus spending bill, which would cut off funds for the program. An aide to Senate Finance ranking member Charles Grassley on Friday said ...

Bond provision could give NE Amtrak trains major boost

February 19, 2009 Amtrak emerged a big winner in the $787.2 billion economic stimulus bill, despite the efforts of conservatives to slash its funding. The government-subsidized passenger rail service got $1.3 billion in direct appropriations in the final bill -- $450 million more than the Senate version, although the excess is earmarked for ...