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  • 13Sep

    November Elections on the Horizon for Congress

    From npr

    Congress is back at work this week, after a five-week recess. This is the last legislative session before midterm elections.

    There are reams of bills waiting for attention that would include more than 300 measures the House has sent the Senate but the Senate has put on the shelf so far.

    Add to that, President Obama’s calls for billions of dollars for small business tax breaks.

    But there are only about four weeks of work scheduled before lawmakers head back on the campaign trail.

    There’s plenty for Congress to do but what will actually get done? Most experts agree: not much. Most lawmakers don’t want to alienate voters ahead of elections.

    The down economy remains the focus of lawmakers and the search is on for that magic cure to turn things around.

    For instance: There are those Bush-era income tax cuts due to expire at the end of this year. Obama wants those cuts extended but only for couples earning up to $250,000.

    Republicans such as House Minority John Boehner says those tax cuts should also be extended for the 3 percent of Americans who earn more.

    “If the only option I have is to vote for some of those tax reductions, I’ll vote for them,” Boehner said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday. “But I’ve been making the point now for months that we need to extend all the current rates for all Americans, if we want to get our economy going again and we want to get jobs in America.”

    And while those comments seemed to signal to some the potential for compromise, the Republican leader was outright dismissive of the president’s plan for more spending.

    Obama has been calling on the Senate to pass a multi-billion dollar package of tax breaks and loans for small businesses that’s been stalled for months. And another $50 billion in spending on roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

    “I wonder what’s new about more stimulus spending, more taxes and more uncertainty for American small businesses,” Boehner asked. “That’s what the president’s proposing. And what’s new about that?”

    But Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says the GOP alternative proposal to cut government spending down to 2008 levels will only make things worse.

    “If you in effect withdraw investment from the economy now, in an effort to, the republicans say, simply cut spending, it’s going to go further dow,” Hoyer said. “And you are going to be in a downward spiral because then revenues are going to go down and you are going to be chasing your tail down a rat hole.”

    And there are still more bills sitting on the table.

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