The Senate approved a scaled-down package early Tuesday morning aimed at halting historic tax hikes for most Americans and postponing across-the-board spending cuts, just hours after Congress missed a midnight deadline for action.
The Senate voted 89-8 in favor of the package, which was hastily pulled together after a late-night deal between White House and Senate Republican negotiators.
For the near-term, it appears a tax hike will technically go into effect on Jan. 1, as the midnight deadline was missed. In total, $600 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts are scheduled to hit in the new year unless and until the legislation is finalized.
But the goal in Washington is to produce a bill that could patch up the problem in the coming days, sparing most Americans from any major or lasting blow to their paychecks.
The bill now goes to the House side, where its chances are unclear. The House is expected to come back into session at noon on Tuesday.
Senate leaders, though, hailed the deal as an “imperfect” but vital solution to the fiscal crisis.
“The president wanted tax increases, but thanks to this imperfect agreement, 99 percent of my constituents won’t be hit by those hikes,” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said.
President Obama praised Senate lawmakers for passing the bill, imploring the House to do the same.
"There’s more work to do to reduce our deficits, and I’m willing to do it," Obama said in a statement. "But tonight’s agreement ensures that, going forward, we will continue to reduce the deficit through a combination of new spending cuts and new revenues from the wealthiest Americans."
Senate leaders assembled the vote after a marathon weekend of talks during which Vice President Biden and McConnell did much of the hard bargaining. After the White House and Senate Republicans agreed to the framework, Biden was brought in once more to sell the deal to reluctant Senate Democrats Monday night.
Under the proposal, current tax rates would be extended for everyone except families making above $450,000 -- up from President Obama's earlier threshold of $250,000. The bill would also extend long-term jobless benefits for a year and address other expiring provisions like the estate tax.
The late-night deal ironed out the last major sticking point between the two sides -- what to do about the $110 billion in automatic spending cuts set to kick in starting in January.
Officials said the two sides agreed to postpone the cuts by two months, in exchange for a 50-50 mix of revenue increases and spending cuts. Of those cuts, half would come from defense and half would come from other budgets.
Fox News has also learned the deal contains a repeal of an ObamaCare program called the CLASS Act. The provision, which would set up a government-run long-term care program, was never actually implemented amid concerns that it couldn't generate enough revenue to sustain itself.
The big question is whether the Senate plan can pass the House -- and if so, when. The longer the stalemate drags on, the greater the risk for the economy and taxpayers.
House conservatives were already voicing frustration about the lopsided ratio of tax increases in the plan, as compared with net spending cuts. One estimate showed the bill includes $620 billion in tax hikes and $15 billion is spending cuts. As one House Republican told Fox News, "I cant imagine a ratio such as that warming our fiscal hearts."
House Republican leaders made clear they were reserving judgment on the package. The House GOP leadership team said any decision on whether to accept or amend any Senate-passed bill would not be made until the House and the American people “have been able to review the legislation.”
On the other side, Democrats had complained about the move to raise taxes only on those making over $450,000, though it wasn’t enough to hold up the Senate vote.
"Looks like a very bad deal the way this is shaping up," Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said earlier in the day. Harkin voted against the bill, as did Sens. Tom Carper, D-Del.; Mike Lee, R-Utah; Rand Paul, R-Ky.; Richard Shelby, R-Ala.; Michael Bennet, D-Colo.; Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; and Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
But all sides were stressing the urgency of the situation.
Of the looming tax hike, Obama said: "Middle class families can't afford it, businesses can't afford it, our economy can't afford it."
The tax hikes, combined with the spending cuts, could trigger another recession if they are not dealt with soon, economists warn. The fiscal deal, though, still pushes off a permanent decision on the spending cuts until two months down the road, when lawmakers could find themselves in a similar position – only this time, with the debt ceiling playing a far more prominent role. Fox News' Ed Henry, Chad Pergram and Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/01/01/senate-leaders-aim-for-vote-on-fiscal-crisis-deal-as-congress-misses-deadline/#ixzz2GjMoJPQq
Democrat Senator: “Mr. and Mrs. America… turn ‘em all in.”
December 31, 2012
Dianne Feinstein: “If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States, for an outright ban, picking up [every gun]… Mr. and Mrs. America, turn ‘em all in.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein’s ultimate plan has always been to have Mr. and Mrs. America turn in their guns to the government, period. Feinstein has admitted that the bill is about gun confiscation.
She tells us a gun ban is about saving the children and reducing crime, but her comments on 60 Minutes in 1995 reveal her true plan is to disarm the American people.
On Thursday, Feinstein will introduced her dream bill to disarm the American people. The legislation is open-ended and includes provisions to re-register firearms and submit the fingerprints of law-abiding Americans as if they’re sex offenders.
Feinstein’s bill will also include a buy-back provision that will allow the government to confiscate all firearms. Both Feinstein and New York governor Andrew Cuomo have said that is their plan.
It is a gun confiscation bill.
The proposed bill is open declaration of war on the Second Amendment
It’s no coincidence that the communist Chinese, the biggest holders of U.S. debt, have demanded the American people be disarmed. It is the simple action of the authoritarian.
For more on Feinstein’s gun-grabbing legislation, see these articles: Feinstein Vows to Introduce Assault Weapons Ban Bill Obama to Put “Full Weight” Behind Feinstein Gun Confiscation Plan Feinstein and Fellow Gun-Grabbers Are Going For Broke Feinstein & Cuomo Admit Planning Australian Style Government Gun Buy Back
Joe Biden shows the length Democrats will go to steal our guns. In 2008 during the election, he told voters Obama wouldn’t take his shotgun or his Beretta. The Beretta is a semi-automatic pistol. But in 1989, Biden introduced his own version of the assault weapons ban.
The privileged daughter of a prominent city doctor, and her boyfriend — a Harvard grad and Occupy Wall Street activist — have been busted for allegedly having a cache of weapons and a bomb making explosive in their Greenwich Village apartment.
Morgan Gliedman — who is nine-months pregnant — and her baby daddy, Aaron Greene, 31, also had instructions on making bombs, including a stack of papers with a cover sheet titled, “The Terrorist Encyclopedia,’’ sources told The Post yesterday.
People who know Greene say his political views are “extreme,” the sources said.
Cops found the stash in the couple’s West Ninth Street home Saturday when they went there to look for Gliedman, 27, who was wanted for alleged credit-card theft.
A detective discovered a plastic container with seven grams of a white chemical powder called HMTD, which is so powerful, cops evacuated several nearby buildings.
Police also found a flare launcher, which is a commercial replica of a grenade launcher; a modified 12 gauge Mossberg 500 shotgun; ammo; and nine high-capacity rifle magazines, the sources said.
Cops also allegedly uncovered papers about creating homemade booby traps, improvised submachine guns, and various handwritten notebooks containing chemical formulas.
The couple’s arrest Saturday was a sharp turn from their privileged backgrounds.
Gliedman, who grew up on Park Avenue, graduated from Dalton in 2002. Her dad, Dr. Paul Gliedman, is director of radiation oncology at Beth Israel Hospital, Brooklyn Division.
Paul Gliedman — who was included in New York magazine’s list of top doctors in 2011 — received his medical degree from Columbia University.
Morgan’s mother, Susyn Schops Gliedman, is a realtor with Prudential Douglas Elliman.
Greene attended Harvard as an undergraduate and did his graduate work at the university’s Kennedy School of Government.
He has five prior run-ins with the police, with the charges including, assault, and weapons possession, sources said.
Additional reporting by Kirstan Conley and Jeane MacIntosh
President Obama on Sunday said he would make gun control a priority in his new term, pledging to put his “full weight” behind passing new restrictions on firearms in 2013.
“I'm going to be putting forward a package and I'm going to be putting my full weight behind it,” Obama said in an interview aired on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I'm going to be making an argument to the American people about why this is important and why we have to do everything we can to make sure that something like what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary does not happen again.”
In the wake of the Dec. 14 mass shooting at a Newtown, Conn., school, the president has launched a White House task force led by Vice President Biden to present proposals in January to help stem gun violence. Obama has said that he would seek a broad approach to the problem addressing the role of violence in entertainment and measures to improve mental healthcare.But he has also called on Congress to move quickly to reinstate the federal assault weapons ban and a ban on the sale of high-capacity magazines.
Obama on Sunday repeated those calls and said he would meet with lawmakers on both sides of the aisles to see action.
“I've been very clear that an assault-rifle ban, banning these high capacity clips, background checks, that there are a set of issues that I have historically supported and will continue to support,” the president said.
“I'd like to get it done in the first year. I will put forward a very specific proposal based on the recommendations that Joe Biden's task force is putting together as we speak. And so this is not something that I will be putting off."
But the push for heightened gun control will likely face tough political opposition, with the nation’s largest gun lobby, the National Rifle Association (NRA), saying they will oppose any new restrictions.
The group earlier this month held a press conference calling for national program to place armed guards in the nation’s schools, a move they said would be more effective at preventing future tragedies like in Newtown.
Obama in the interview said that he hoped to involve all “stakeholders” in the national debate over gun violence, but he expressed unease with the NRA’s proposal.
“I am not going to prejudge the recommendations that are given to me. I am skeptical that the only answer is putting more guns in schools. And I think the vast majority of the American people are skeptical that that somehow is going to solve our problem,” he said.
Obama said that he expected even firearm owners to understand the need for new regulations in the wake of the Connecticut shooting spree that killed 20 young children.
“I think there are a vast majority of responsible gun owners out there who recognize that we can't have a situation in which somebody with severe psychological problems is able to get the kind of high-capacity weapons that this individual in Newtown obtained and gun down our kids,” Obama said.
By Bill Dedman
Investigative Reporter, NBC NewsA long-lost relative of the reclusive heiress Huguette Clark, who could have inherited $19 million of her $300 million fortune, has been found dead under a Union Pacific Railroad overpass in Wyoming.
Children sledding found the body of Timothy Henry Gray, 60, Thursday afternoon in Evanston, a small mining town in southwestern Wyoming near the Utah border. The coroner said it appeared he died of hypothermia. The low temperature that day was 10 degrees, and had hit zero in the previous week. Lt. Bill Jeffers of the Evanston Police Department said there was no evidence of foul play, and Gray was wearing a light jacket. Gray's siblings said they hadn't heard from him since their mother's funeral in 1990, when he disappeared without a word. It wasn't clear whether Gray was living under the overpass, where transients have been known to camp.
Tim Gray was an adopted great-grandson of former U.S. Sen. William Andrews Clark, known as one of the copper kings of Montana, a banker, a builder of railroads and the founder of Las Vegas. The senator's youngest daughter, Huguette Clark, was a recluse who died in 2011 in New York City at age 104, after living in hospitals for 20 years while her palatial homes sat unused. Gray was her half great-nephew.
Dec 27, 2012
US senators, state governors and others are testing the waters to see if they can sell a national confiscation buy back program under an Obama executive order. This is a way of making all gun owners terrorist. This is the plan, the facts are indisputable. We are in deep shit.
Archaeologists have uncovered a 2,750-year-old temple near Jerusalem, along with pottery and clay figurines that suggest the site was the home base for a ritual cult, the Israeli Antiquities Authority said Wednesday.
The discovery was made during excavations at the Tel Motza archaeological site, about 3 miles (5 kilometers) west of Jerusalem, during preparations for work on a new section of Israeli's Highway 1, the agency said in a statement
"The ritual building at Tel Motza is an unusual and striking find, in light of the fact that there are hardly any remains of ritual buildings of the period in Judaea at the time of the First Temple," excavation directors Anna Eirikh, Hamoudi Khalaily and Shua Kisilevitz were quoted as saying in the statement.
The Bible says the First Temple was built in Jerusalem by Solomon, son of King David, and archaeologists estimate that construction was undertaken in the 10th century B.C. The excavation's directors say the Tel Motza temple must have been active in an era "prior to the religious reforms throughout the kingdom at the end of the monarchic period (at the time of Hezekiah and Isaiah), which abolished all ritual sites, concentrating ritual practices solely at the Temple in Jerusalem."
Tel Motza was thought to be associated with the ancient settlement called "Mozah" in the Book of Joshua
. During previous work, archaeologists uncovered a large structure with storehouses and a number of silos. They said that structure might have served as a storage
facility for Jerusalem's grain supplies.
The wife of a Florida millionaire who vanished six months ago says she is stuck in financial limbo as police try to figure out if she is a widow or an abandoned wife.
Guma Aguiar, a 35-year-old Brazilian-born oil and gas magnate, was last seen June 19 driving his motorboat through Port Everglades. Since he disappeared, Aguiar’s wife, siblings, mother and an uncle have all been fighting over his $100 million fortune, according to the Orlando Sentinel
With no body turning up, it could take five years for Aguiar to be declared legally dead. In the meantime, Jamie Aguiar, who reportedly had threatened to divorce her husband and had tried to challenge their prenuptial agreement, may be forced to continue fighting his legal battles without him, the paper reported.
“It's a very difficult time,” Jamie Aguiar, 33, of Rio Vista Isles, Fla., told the Sentinel. “I try and count our blessings every single day and try and think of what I'm grateful for.”
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/12/27/wife-missing-fla-millionaire-wonders-if-abandoned-or-widow/#ixzz2GGj2VDhm