Archive for the ‘senators’ Category

Senators question Daschle’s late tax filing

February 1, 2009

Republican and Democratic senators on Sunday questioned how former Sen. Tom Daschle could make a $128,203 mistake on his taxes but said they were not prepared to oppose his nomination as health secretary.

“You have to be troubled by it,” said Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate.

“We’ll have to question former Sen. Daschle and understand his explanation, and then have a conversation about it and see where it goes,” Kyl said on “Fox News Sunday.” As to how much trouble the tax issue could present for the nomination, he said, “I think it’s too early to tell.”

By DOUGLASS K. DANIEL, Associated Press

Angry Republican senators, including Jon Kyl of Arizona, seen ... 
Angry Republican senators, including Jon Kyl of Arizona, seen here in a 2008 Fox News Sunday(FNS) handout, vowed Thursday to put up a fight against President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus bill after the package passed the House of Representatives with no opposition support.(AFP/FNS-HO/File)

Daschle recently filed amended tax returns to report $128,203 in back taxes and $11,964 in interest. The amended returns reflect additional income for consulting work, the use of a car service and reduced deductions for charitable contributions.

The South Dakota Democrat, once the majority leader of the Senate, was scheduled to meet privately Monday with the Senate Finance Committee.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said he was surprised that Daschle had not paid his taxes properly but would not say whether he thought the nomination was in trouble. He said the committee will make a recommendation to the full Senate. “I think I’m going to just wait until they give me their opinion,” he told CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said the problem could disqualify Daschle but that he wanted to learn more about the matter.

“It’s disheartening, obviously. People are struggling to pay taxes on a very small amount of income and he’s got this huge amount,” DeMint said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, also said the tax problem was a concern and needed more explaining, telling CNN’s “State of the Union” that it involved “an awful lot of money” but that she had not decided to vote against confirmation.

On the Democratic side, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska called it “a tough issue” and said he was waiting to hear the results of the meeting between Daschle and the Finance Committee.

“I’m not prepared at this point in time to vote no,” Nelson told CNN.

The Senate‘s No. 2 Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois, defended Daschle but said skepticism, even cynicism, about Daschle not paying his taxes was understandable.

“But if you know Tom Daschle, you know better,” Durbin said on Fox. “He’s found himself having made a mistake and admitted to it. He took the steps necessary to start paying the taxes, make sure they’re paid. Now, that’s the right thing to do. I believe Tom Daschle’s one of the most honest people I’ve ever known or worked with in public life.”

Daschle, chosen by President Obama to lead the administration’s health initiatives, is the second Cabinet nominee to scramble to pay back taxes. Timothy Geithner’s confirmation as treasury secretary was delayed after it was revealed that he had failed to pay more than $34,000 in taxes.

Obama’s first choice for commerce secretary, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, took his name out of consideration when his confirmation appeared headed toward complications because of a grand jury investigation over how state contracts were issued to political donors.

“President Obama wanted to have a very ethical administration starting out and so on, but I think he’s seeing how hard it is to avoid these kind of problems,” Kyl said. “And I just wonder, if President Bush had nominated these people, what folks would be saying about that.”

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Later on Sunday on “Meet the Press” (NBC) Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) also said she had concerns about Mr. Daschle, even though she said, “I like him personally.”

Meet the Press transcript:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28964188/

Related:
 If Bush Had Nominated Daschle, Would He Have Been Confirmed?

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If Bush Had Nominated Daschle, Would He Have Been Confirmed?

February 1, 2009

Senator Jon Kyle (R-AZ) asked on the Chris Wallace Sunday morning news show, “If Former Senator Tom Daschle had been nominated by President George W. Bush, would he have been confirmed?”

Mr. Daschle apparently failed to pay his full income taxes.

Kyle associated Daschle with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who also had a failure to pay due taxes problem, Commerce Secretary nominee Bill Richardson, who withdrew his name while his state was under a grand jury investigation, and Mr. Bill Lynn, the nominee for Deputy Secretary of Defense, who was a lobbyist.

Daschle’s troubles are of concern because President Obama promised that he would uphold the highest standard of ethics and he would bar lobbyists from his administration.

William Krisol also said on the Fox news broadcast, “Daschle is a ‘limousine liberal’ that doesn’t even pay his taxes.”

Daschle also accepted more than $200,000 from health care groups for speeches; a possible conflict of interest.

Related:
Daschle Knew of Tax Issues Last June, Raising Questions on Obama Vetting Process, Ethics

The president’s pick for health secretary, Tom Daschle, failed to pay $128,000 in taxes. Photo: Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times

http://www.bigbook.eu/senators-questi
on-daschles-late-tax-filing

“Bailout Fatigue”: Automakers’ Treatment May Extend To Other Industries

December 15, 2008

In punting on a $14 billion rescue plan for the US auto industry, the US Senate has signaled that the struggle over who gets federal help – and who is left to take their lumps in the marketplace – is likely to be an acute and ongoing issue for lawmakers into the next Congress.

The auto bailout now falls to the Bush administration, at least for the moment. The White House said Friday it may tap part of the $700 billion meant to buttress the shaky financial-services sector for the purpose of saving any of Detroit’s Big Three from collapse. At time of writing, the administration was deciding what mechanism to use to help the industry.

By Gail Russell Chaddock
Christian Science Monitor

General Motors workers file out of the General Motors Assembly ... 
General Motors workers file out of the General Motors Assembly Plant in Arlington, Texas, during shift change Friday, Dec. 12, 2008. Festering animosity between the United Auto Workers and southern Senators who torpedoed the auto industry bailout bill erupted into full-fledged name calling Friday as union officials accused the lawmakers of trying to break the union on behalf of foreign automakers.(AP Photo/Tom Pennington)

Regardless, this month’s fight in the lame-duck Congress over the auto bailout is a cautionary tale for how lawmakers are likely to deal with future calls for help. Lesson No. 1 is that swift congressional action based on the premise that an industry is too big to fail – or that job losses in the absence of a government bailout would be cataclysmic for the economy – cannot be counted on.

It’s an argument that worked for the financial-services industry, which in early October extracted from Congress as much as $700 billion in government funds to save it from ruin tied to mortgage-related debt. But the way the Treasury Department has allocated the first $350 billion in the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) has led to buyers’ remorse among many lawmakers – and appears to be making them more reticent to dole out dollars to ailing industries.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/2008
1215/ts_csm/awhyone

Auto Bailout: Not Monday: White House Mulls Option

December 15, 2008

The White House tossed out no lifeline for the teetering auto industry Sunday, although  President Bush reiterated that he was considering using money from the $700 billion financial bailout fund to provide loans to the carmakers.

“An abrupt bankruptcy for autos could be devastating for the economy,” Mr. Bush told reporters Monday aboard Air Force One during an unannounced trip to Iraq and Afghanistan. “We’re now in the process of working with the stakeholders on a way forward. We’re not quite ready to announce that yet.”

In a photo provided by the Ford Motor Co., the final Ford Expedition ...
In a photo provided by the Ford Motor Co., the final Ford Expedition is driven off the assembly line as production ends at Michigan Truck Plant in Wayne, Mich., Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2008. The move signals the beginning of the transformation of the auto plant to be retooled as a car plant to begin producing small, fuel-efficient vehicles in 2010. (AP Photo/Ford Motor Co., Sam VarnHagen)

Mr. Bush wouldn’t give a precise timetable but said, “This will not be a long process because of the economic fragility of the autos.”

White House officials said they did not expect to make an announcement Monday. The administration is considering ways to provide emergency aid to General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, which have said they could run out of cash within weeks without federal aid.

Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee Republican, who blocked legislation that would have provided $14 billion in loans to the automakers, said he had spoken with the White House early Sunday. “I don’t think they yet know what they’re going to do,” he said. Ron Gettelfinger, the president of the United Auto Workers, said the union had not held discussions with the White House.

CBS VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS Sen. Bob Corker spoke with White House officials and said, "I don't think they yet know what they're going to do."

Sen. Bob Corker

Associated Press

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/dec/
15/bush-takes-no-action-to-salvage-auto-industry/

Auto Bailout: White House Has President’s Hand in the Door

December 14, 2008

As if President George W. Bush had his hand stuck after slamming it in a car door, the assembly line is moving and the White House, Treasury and Fed are trying to figure out what to do.

Bush supported and endorsed the Congressional plan, brought down by Senators of his own party last week.

Advocates now want the money to bailout the auto makers to come  from the Troubled Asset  Relief   Program (TARP).  But half the TARP money is gone and only about $15 Billion is available for carmakers.  Add to that the fact that Congress approved the TARP for purposes other than a “bailout” for auto makers.

The White House could get the money from the Federal Reserve.  But this is problematic too:  before the Congressional bailout failed, Fed Charman Ben Bernanke alread said the automakers had insufficient collateral (or ample “unencumbered assets”)  to secure a $15 Billion loan from the Fed.

In a letter to Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., Bernanke wrote that any decision about whether to provide financial aid to Detroit is best left to Congress.

A key consideration in letting an auto company draw emergency cash loans from the Fed is whether the company has sufficient collateral or other security to ensure repayment of the loan. “It is unclear whether the auto manufacturers have unencumbered assets of sufficient amount and quality to meet this requirement,” Bernanke wrote.

US Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Ben Bernanke pauses during ... 
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke

So, President Bush is between a rock and a hard place.

Finally, the sticking point with Republican Senators remains unresolved.  They want to know the plans of the automakers and their unions to get the workers’ pay and benefit packages more in line with the pay of their competitors like Toyota.

Bush Administration people are going over the automakers’ books and some announcemnt on a bailout could come ….on Tuesday….

File photo shows assembly line workers on a Toyota Motor's ... 
File photo shows assembly line workers on a Toyota Motor’s production line at the company’s Tsutsumi factory in Aichi prefecture, Japan. Commercial rating agency Fitch Ratings have downgraded the auto giant by two notches, warning that in the current slump even the strongest carmaker no longer deserved its top rating.(AFP/File/Toshifumi Kitamura)