“Democratic and Republican Senate leaders made a dramatic bid last night to salvage President Obama’s tax package by adding an array of tax breaks, including ones for alternative energy projects, that could clear the way for passage next week,” the Boston Globe reports. “These changes, which had been included in previous congressional tax proposals, include such disparate items as extending tax credits for railroad maintenance, motor raceway improvements, economic development in American Samoa, and increasing the limit of rum excise tax revenue to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. All told, the package would cost about $855 billion, according to preliminary projections by the Joint Committee on Taxation. The dozens of extensions on business tax breaks, including those for alternative energy, would cost about $55 billion.”
A cloture vote on the tax bill is set for 3:00 pm ET Monday in the Senate, Roll Call reports.
Anger bubbled over in the Democrats’ caucus meeting, where they voted – though it’s non-binding -- against the tax compromise framework. When Rep. Shelly Berkley was defending the proposal, a member muttered, “F--- the president,” Roll Call reports.
“The House Democratic leadership is pushing back against complaints from several departing Members that a Caucus vote rejecting President Barack Obama’s tax cut deal occurred without their input,” Roll Call writes.
Sharpton vs. Weiner: The New York Daily News: “The Democrats' family feud went local Thursday when Rev. Al Sharpton accused Rep. Anthony Weiner of ignoring the needs of working people.” Sharpton said, "I'm against tax cuts for the rich too...but this is absolutely over the top to blame this on President Obama. The goal is to take care of working class people, not to attack the President." More: “Sharpton will use his nationally-syndicated radio show Thursday afternoon to urge Weiner to temper his razor-tongued rhetoric.” He invited Weiner to debate him on his show. "There will be pushback," Sharpton said.
Changing the Ways? Speaker-to-be John Boehner hired a lobbyist to be his policy director.
“Senate Republicans blocked a repeal of the ban on openly gay service members yesterday, potentially dooming any chance for overturning the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy this year,” the Boston Globe writes.
The New York Daily News takes a similar angle with its headline: 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' repeal blocked by Senate Republicans.”
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) is calling for a block of the continuing resolution that would fund the government, deriding it as a “Trojan horse” to fund the health care overhaul, The Hill writes. He said that “is hardly the mandate from the November elections.”
“Three years after promoting a landmark immigration reform bill, [Sen. Lindsay] Graham is now joining hardliners in opposing a measure that would grant the same protections to children of illegal aliens” that he provided to a single child of an immigrant mother in 2007, creating a rare “private bill” on her behalf, McClatchy writes.
Roll Call on earmarks, or whatever you want to call them: “Operating under very tight budget constraints, Congress will keep federal spending flat next year — except for the wild horses of the West, who get an extra $12 million. … While that is technically true [that the bill doesn’t have earmarks in it], the bill does include money specifically aimed at addressing Members’ pet projects, from uranium mining to protecting presidential candidates to rounding up wild horses.”
Fed fight: Guess who’s in charge of the Domestic Monetary Policy Subcommittee… Ron Paul.