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NEWS
December 15, 2011 | By Kathleen Hennessey
After a day of shutdown talk and stalemate, Senate leaders opened today's business with smiles and sunny dispositions. After talking with appropriators and Republican leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he's hopeful about the prospects of reaching a deal on a bill to extend the payroll tax cut and fund the government before a Friday deadline. "We hope that we can come up with something that would get us out of here at a reasonable time in the next few days," Reid said this morning.
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BUSINESS
October 3, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
Mickey Kaus, the neoliberal (whatever that is) blogger from L.A.'s Westside, writes in the Daily Caller that he has just discovered he had no taxed income last year. "I am the 47%," he declares, referring to Mitt Romney's celebrated rant about non-tax-paying Obama voters. On this shallow foundation he erects a towering thought-edifice about whether and why Americans who pay no taxes are pro-government, as dictated by Republican "makers vs. takers" dogma.  When your adjusted gross income falls, "suddenly all sorts of deductions and breaks seem to open up to virtually guarantee that you pay no tax," Kaus observes.
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NEWS
January 29, 2012 | By Richard Simon
Republican leaders predicted Sunday that Congress would reach agreement to extend a payroll tax cut before it expires at the end of February, though it remained unclear under what conditions, ensuring that more partisan, election-year fighting lay ahead before the issue is decided. "I'm confident that we'll be able to resolve this fairly quickly," House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said on ABC's"This Week. " "We'll get it done," Senate Minority Leader Mitch M. McConnell (R-Ky.)
BUSINESS
May 31, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
The release of the annual trustees reports for Social Security and Medicare has generated some of the most overheated hand-wringing about the health of these two crucial programs in recent years, largely because the economic slump has made them look weaker than they may be over the long term.  The reports were released Friday, and so far the reaction has been muted -- possibly because both reports have more good news, or at least neutral news,...
NEWS
December 16, 2011 | By Lisa Mascaro and Kathleen Hennessey
Congressional negotiators have reached a tentative agreement on a two-month extension of President Obama's payroll tax cut, with a vote expected in the Senate on Saturday, sources said. Democrats and Republicans could not find consensus on how to pay for a yearlong extension of the tax break, which expires on Dec. 31 and gives an average $1,000 benefit to 160 million. It assures the volatile political issue will continue into the new year. Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, said he expected the compromise would find support.
NEWS
February 14, 2012 | By Lisa Mascaro
This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details. One day after House GOP leaders announced they would abandon their insistence that a payroll tax break be paid for with spending cuts, negotiators are now close to a broader deal that would also extend unemployment benefits and ensure Medicare doctors don't see a pay cut, sources said. The possible breakthrough Tuesday comes after a tumultuous 24-hour period when House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio)
NEWS
December 23, 2011 | By Peter Nicholas
President Obama thanked Congress for renewing a payroll tax cut and extending unemployment insurance benefits "just in the nick of time for the holidays," while urging lawmakers to ditch the "drama" when they return from vacation and re-open a debate about keeping these measures in place for a full year. Obama's four-minute statement in the White House press briefing room came one day after House Republican leaders ended an impasse that had thrown in jeopardy a payroll tax break that means $1,000 a year to a typical household.
NEWS
February 16, 2012 | By Lisa Mascaro
With a final deal approved by negotiators, Congress moved toward a Friday vote to extend a payroll tax break and other expiring measures that are among President Obama's top priorities. The expected votes in the House and Senate would cap a tumultuous week that produced a deal with prominent detractors on both sides of the political aisle. But as the Feb. 29 deadline neared for the expiration of the tax break, the compromise reflected the desire by Republicans to move on to other battles.
NEWS
November 28, 2011 | By Lisa Mascaro
With the supercommittee in the rearview mirror, Congress returns to session this week to battle on new fronts: a possible extension of the payroll tax holiday and unemployment benefits that expire at year's end that President Obama wants renewed. Failure to extend the payroll tax break would result in an average $1,000 tax hike for working Americans on Jan. 1, an outcome both Republicans and Democrats hope to avoid. The Senate will vote on the proposal this week, but it is likely to fail in the face of GOP opposition.
NEWS
February 13, 2012 | By Lisa Mascaro
Hesitant to be seen as holding up a payroll tax break for American workers, House GOP leaders will put forward a new proposal to extend the tax cut, giving up for now on the GOP-led requirement that it must be paid for,  as talks on a compromise with Democrats have stalled. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and other leaders said their backup plan could come for a vote as soon as this week, as Congress struggles to find common ground before the tax break expires Feb. 29. Keeping the tax holiday is President Obama's top legislative priority.
BUSINESS
April 8, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- The chairmen of key congressional committees said their bipartisan efforts to overhaul the tax code are on track and still very doable despite the partisan gridlock on Capitol Hill on many issues. "Tax reform can't be about politics," Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) said in a joint opinion article Monday in the Wall Street Journal. "It has to be about the people we serve, about boosting the economy, about creating jobs in Montana, Michigan and across America," he said.
BUSINESS
March 22, 2013 | By Shan Li
As California's unemployment rate remains stuck at 9.8% in January, some counties in the Golden State reported jobless rates edging up slightly. California's employers added just 1,700 jobs in January, according to the state's Employment Development Department. However, December figures were revised upward to show a net gain of 8,200 jobs instead of the 17,500 loss reported initially reported.  The state has been adding jobs every month since July 2011. Economists say California businesses may be pulling back slightly as a reaction to a payroll tax increase and the state's recent implementation of a sales tax bump and increased tax on wealthy individuals.
BUSINESS
March 18, 2013 | By Don Lee and Shan Li, Los Angeles Times
California's jobless rate was unchanged at 9.8% in January for the second straight month, and that lack of improvement put the Golden State in a tie with Rhode Island for the worst unemployment in the U.S. On the other end of the spectrum, North Dakota had the lowest jobless rate, 3.3%, the government said Monday in releasing updated and revised employment data for all 50 states. California will release its county-by-county breakdown of jobs Friday, which economists expect will reflect the slow growth that is predicted in the state for 2013.
BUSINESS
March 8, 2013 | Michael Hiltzik
Everybody loves lists. Most of those you see in the papers or online tend toward the inconsequential (The Six Best "Fast & Furious" Movies). So here's a list with a bit more gravitas: The five biggest lies you're being told about entitlement programs. Never mind that the very word "entitlement" is a lie. Social Security and Medicare got that name because workers became "entitled" to those benefits by paying into the system. In recent years, however, the term has become distorted to signify benefits people are entitled to without earning them.
BUSINESS
March 6, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- The economy grew modestly in California and the West this year, helped by increasing auto sales and a strengthening housing market, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday in its periodic business survey. Modest growth was reported in an additional four of the central bank's 12 districts, and five others reported moderate expansion in the so-called Beige Book, an economic snapshot published eight times a year. The Boston and Chicago districts reported slow growth for the period covering January and much of February, before the start of automatic federal budget cuts.
BUSINESS
February 25, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - When it comes to the nation's debt, payback time might be here. Years of low tax rates and rising federal spending, amplified by the devastating economic effect of the Great Recession, have driven the U.S. borrowing tab to more than $16 trillion from less than $1 trillion in 1981. Deficit reduction has become the dominant issue in Washington. The first major tax increase since 1993 took place last month. And large automatic spending cuts - $1.2 trillion over the next decade - are set to kick in Friday.
NATIONAL
February 17, 2012 | By Ian Duncan, Washington Bureau
Congress swiftly passed a bill Friday extending the payroll tax cut through the end of the year, ending a months-long tug of war with an unusual bipartisan accord. The House passed the bill on a 293 to 132 vote, with Democrats helping to put the legislation over the top in the face of 91 Republican no votes. A few minutes later, the Senate passed the legislation, 60 to 36. President Obama welcomed the passage of the bill, which also includes an extension of long-term unemployment benefits and blocks a scheduled 27% cut in Medicare payments to doctors.
BUSINESS
February 21, 2013 | By Don Lee
WASHINGTON -- Despite worry in some corners about the Federal Reserve's stimulus efforts stoking inflation, there continues to be little indication that consumer prices are heading higher. The consumer price index was flat in January for the second month in a row, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday. A drop in gas prices and a halt to recent gains in food prices held down the overall index. Compared with a year ago, the consumer price measure for January was up a mild 1.6%.
BUSINESS
February 19, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, who have been pushing for a major deficit reduction plan since co-chairing a bipartisan commission on fiscal reform, released a new proposal Tuesday to cut the nation's debt by $2.4 trillion over the next decade. Called "A Bipartisan Path Forward to Securing America's Future," the plan attempts to avoid the large automatic spending cuts set to hit March 1 while also dealing with long-term debt drivers such as Medicare. "The problem is real, the solutions are painful, and there is no easy way out," the two said in a summary of their plan.
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