Weekly Address : End the War and investing in America


President Obama hosted Afghan President Hamid Karzai this week at the White House for talks on the partnership between our two nations and the role of U.S. troops in that country. In this week’s address, President Obama discusses how we will end the war in Afghanistan and how our goal of ensuring that al Qaeda never again uses Afghanistan to launch attacks against America is within reach.

Watch President Obama’s weekly address. Watch President Obama's Weekly Address

In Case You Missed It

President Obama Hosts President Karzai President Obama hosted Afghan President Hamid Karzai yesterday at the White House for talks on the partnership between our two nations and the role of U.S. troops in that country.

West Wing Week: 01/11/13 or “The Interests of Our Country” This week, the President nominated a bipartisan slate of leaders to key administration jobs and the Vice President met with a wide array of organizations to talk about efforts to reduce gun violence.

President Obama Nominates Jacob Lew as Treasury Secretary The President has asked Jacob Lew — the current White House chief of staff — to serve as the next Treasury Secretary.

Big Oil’s Tax Bonanza


By ThinkProgress War Room

The Most Profitable Industry in History Doesn’t Need Tax Breaks

To close out our week of looking at the $1 TRILLION in loopholes, giveaways, credits, and deductions that we could eliminate through tax reform, let’s take a look at some of the most notorious tax giveaways on the books:  billions of dollars in giveaways to Big Oil.

The oil industry is the most profitable industry in history, yet taxpayers will still give the industry $40 BILLION in tax giveaways over the next ten years. The industry is easily on track to make over $100 BILLION in 2012 (we’ll find out for sure when they report fourth quarter profits in a few weeks), so they clearly don’t need any more of our money.

Two of the biggest giveaways have been on the books for nearly 100 years, having been put in place in 1916 and 1926 when the industry was just getting going. Subsidies for clean energy are often extended only on  yearly basis — if at all, but Big Oil’s been getting its tax breaks for 100 years and it will get them for 100 more unless we do something about it.

These tax breaks are not justifiable, particularly with oil at nearly $100 a barrel and the industry booming. A closer look at how Big Oil is spending its profits demonstrates that taxpayers are subsidizing stock buybacks (which only further enrich oil executives and big shareholders), lobbying, and campaign contributions:

It’s immoral for us to continue handing over billions of dollars to Big Oil when we’re cutting programs for seniors, students, and the most vulnerable Americans. Ending the giveaways for just the five largest oil companies alone would still bring in an additional $25 BILLION in new revenue over the next decade.  That’s about the same amount the automatic spending cuts set to go into effect in March will cut from the National Institutes of Health, the government agency that conducts research on cancer and other deadly diseases.

Big Oil and its defenders in Congress argue that eliminating the tax breaks will only hurt consumers because the companies will raise prices to make up the difference. This is simply not true. Experts from Congress’ Joint Economic Committee have concluded that ending these giveaways would no effect on either prices or production.

BOTTOM LINE: It’s time to end Big Oil’s tax bonanza once and for all. They don’t need the money and we simply cannot afford to keep giving them billions of dollars each year.

Evening Brief: Important Stories That You Might’ve Missed

The White House might just ignore the NRA.

No, Obamacare is not responsible for double-digit premium hikes.

Gun shows ban loaded weapons to “promote a safe environment.”

“Legitimate rape” is back — with a new defender.

Shell’s oil rig crash could be an attempt at tax dodging gone wrong.

Three things the NRA wants you to believe about the White House’s gun violence task force — none of which are true.

Pro-gun advocate: arming black people could’ve prevented slavery.

Leader of House conservatives is just fine with a first-ever national default.

President Obama announced that the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan will be accelerated.

watch this


Change.org

2012 was the year that wildfire fighters finally won health insurance. It was the year three teenage girls decided it was time for a woman to moderate a presidential debate, the year a gay Boy Scout  fought for his Eagle award, the year Trayvon Martin’s parents got justice for their son.

You and 25 million people won all of these victories — and thousands more — by starting, signing, and sharing petitions on Change.org in 2012. Take a look:

Watch the video.

We’re blown away by all you accomplished in 2012, and we know this is just the beginning.

We can’t wait to see what you’ll do in 2013.

Thank you, – Katie and the Change.org team

No Brainer


By ThinkProgress War Room

It’s Time to Stop Paying Companies to Ship Jobs Overseas

The presidential election served as a useful opportunity to educate the American people about some of the worst elements of our tax code. Mitt Romney personally demonstrated how the tax code is rigged in favor of the wealthy and his career at Bain Capital demonstrated how corporations can reap massive financial rewards, even if it means leaving closed factories and devastated communities in their wake.

As we look for ways to raise more revenue  to further reduce the deficit, protect vital programs like Medicare and Social Security, and make investments in the middle class, one obvious place to start is cracking down on the tax loopholes and giveaways that incentivize companies to ship jobs overseas and subsidize investing abroad instead of here at home.

Ending these perverse incentives would bring in at least $168 BILLION over the next ten years. Just to put that into perspective, it’s about as much as you’d save by reducing future Social Security benefits ($175 BILLION) and far more savings than is achieved from the GOP’s pet proposal: raising the Medicare retirement age (which saves the government $125 BILLION, but costs the rest of us twice as much).

(For a very detailed explanation of these and other giveaways in the tax code, check out this paper from our colleagues at the Center for American Progress.)

Closing these tax loopholes will also help make sure that corporations aren’t gaming the system in order to avoid paying their fair share in taxes. It will also encourage companies to invest and create jobs here at home, rather than stashing money abroad.

BOTTOM LINE: Instead of cutting vital programs, it’s time to stop corporations rewarding corporations for shipping jobs overseas and gaming the system in order to avoid taxes.

Evening Brief: Important Stories That You Might’ve Missed

Anti-gay pastor withdraws from Inauguration ceremony.

Five people who could replace the anti-gay pastor.

Vice President Biden outlines measures to reduce gun violence.

Biden’s gun violence event was interrupted by news of another school shooting.

Zero Dark Thirty and the emptiness of the War on Terror.

NRA leaders not interested in any common sense measures to reduce gun violence.

Multimillionaire lobbyist suggests slashing health benefits for vulnerable Americans to reduce the deficit.

The ban on high-capacity magazines worked before it was allowed to expire.

Consumer watchdog outlines new rules to curb predatory mortgage lending.

CONGRESS: Republicans::: how many sessions will be held in 2013 :::: Democracts


UScapitoltakenfromkenschramstory

The Senate stands in recess under the provisions of S.Con.Res.3.  The Senate will meet at 11:30am on Monday, January 21, 2013 for the Joint Session for the Inaugural Ceremonies.

  • The Senate will recess upon conclusion of the Joint Session.
  • the Senate Convenes: 10:00amET January 22, 2013
    • Following any Leader remarks, the Senate will be in a period of morning business for debate only until 12:30pm with Senators permitted to speak therein for up to 10 minutes each.
    • The Senate will recess from 12:30pm until 2:15pm to allow for the weekly caucus meetings.

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The next meeting in the House is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on January 14, 2013.

2:00:22 P.M.   The House convened, starting a new legislative day.
2:00:28 P.M.   <The Speaker designated the Honorable Jo Ann Emerson to act as Speaker pro tempore for today.
2:01:02 P.M.   Today’s prayer was offered by the House Chaplain, Rev. Patrick J. Conroy.
2:01:50 P.M.   POSTPONED PROCEEDINGS ON APPROVAL OF THE JOURNAL – The Chair announced that she had examined the Journal of the last day’s proceedings and had approved it. Mr. Kildee demanded that the question be put on agreeing to the Speaker’s approval of the Journal and by voice vote, the Chair announced that the ayes had prevailed. Mr. Kildee demanded the yeas and nays and the Chair postponed further proceedings on the question of agreeing to the Speaker’s approval of the Journal until later in the legislative day.
2:02:46 P.M.   PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE – The Chair designated Mr. Kildee to lead the Members in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
2:03:12 P.M.   ONE MINUTE SPEECHES – The House proceeded with one minute speeches.
2:10:13 P.M.   The House received a message from the Clerk. Pursuant to the permission granted in Clause 2(h) of Rule II of the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Clerk notified the House that she had received the following message from the Secretary of the Senate on January 4, 2013 at 2:35 p.m.: That the Senate passed H.R. 41, without amendment.
2:10:50 P.M.   The House received a communication from Steve Israel, Member of Congress. Mr. Israel notified the House that he had requested a leave a absence from the Appropriations Committee in the 113th Congress, effective today. The request was accepted without objection.
2:11:05 P.M.   The House received a communication from C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Member of Congress. Mr. Ruppersberger notified the House that he had requested a leave a absence from the Appropriations Committee for the remainder of the 113th Congress. The request was accepted without objection.
2:11:15 P.M.   The House received a communication from Mike Quigley, Member of Congress. Mr. Quigley notified the House that he had requested a leave of absence from the Committee on the Judiciary, effective today. The request was accepted without objection.
2:11:22 P.M.   The House received a communication from the Honorable Mike Quigley. Mr. Quigley submitted his resignation from the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The resignation was accepted without objection.
2:11:30 P.M.   The House received a communication from the Honorable William L. Owens. Mr. Owens submitted his resignation from both the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Agriculture. The resignation was accepted without objection.
2:11:42 P.M.   The House received a communication from Luis V. Gutierrez, Member of Congress. Mr. Gutierrez notified the House that he had requested a leave of absence with seniority retained from the Financial Services Committee, effective today. The request was accepted without objection.
2:11:52 P.M.   The House received a communication from the Honorable Janice Hahn. Ms. Hahn submitted her resignation from the Committee on Homeland Security. The resignation was accepted without objection.
2:11:58 P.M.   The House received a communication from the Honorable Denny Heck. Mr. Heck (WA) submitted his resignation from the Committee on the Budget. The resignation was accepted without objection.
2:12:29 P.M.   The Speaker announced that the House do now recess. The next meeting is scheduled for 5:00 P.M. today.