Tag: Chuck Grassley

Another Day Gone, and Tax Uncertainty Grows

Surveying the tax policy debate today, we ascertain that the only thing certain is uncertainty.
Washington Post, “Obama, Democrats fail to agree on plan for expiring tax cuts“:

President Obama and congressional Democrats failed to agree on a strategy Thursday for extending an array of expiring tax breaks, with the party badly divided over whether to temporarily extend the cuts for all taxpayers or stick with their pledge to protect only the middle class

Radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt has been urging Congressional Republicans to demand a permanent extension of tax cuts, and he discussed tax policy with Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana, in an interview at the Republican Governors Association meeting in San Diego Thursday.

HH: Right now, this tax hike is looming at us. It’s coming at us like a tidal wave. And Paul Ryan said on Hannity the other night, and we love Paul Ryan, but he said we’ll take a two or three year extension of the existing tax rates. What do you think of that policy? What ought to be the policy of the Republicans going into this negotiation?

MD: Those are two different questions. I mean, first of all, I trust Paul Ryan. He’s one of the best assets the country’s got now. And he and I think alike about a lot of things. I mean, the right policy, of course, would be certainty, permanence, predictability. This is always the case in tax policy. A lot of businesses say they can live with a sub-optimal tax system as long as they know what the rules will be. You know, in Indiana, we passed the biggest tax cut in state history, and we cut property taxes, which are now the lowest in America. But maybe the more important thing that we did was we, and we just made this part of our constitution two weeks ago, we put those caps, there’s a cap now at 1% on the value of your house, 2% on your farm or rental property, 3% your business, permanently. It can be lower than that, but it can never be above it. And a lot of businesses say that it’s the certainty of that that’s as important to them as the fact that the rates are low. And the same would apply, I think, to federal policy.

But look, if Paul Ryan and other folks down there who know that think that let’s get the best deal we can now and fight another day, I’d defer to their tactical judgment.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) held a colloquy on the Senate floor on Thursday. From Sen. Hatch’s release, “Hatch Outlines Cost of Looming Tax Increase on Utah Families, Businesses.”
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Going to Iowa, Mr. President? Talk Trade

From The Sioux City Journal, “Obama headed to southeast Iowa, won’t stop in NW Iowa“:

CEDAR RAPIDS — When he comes to southeast Iowa next week, President Obama should talk about South Korea, Colombia and Panama, Sen. Chuck Grassley said Wednesday.

The president needs to address small business job creation and that means opening markets in those countries so U.S. manufacturers, producers and workers can compete on a level playing field, the Iowa Republican said.

Preliminary plans call for Obama’s White House to Main Street Tour to make stops in Fort Madison, Mount Pleasant, Ottumwa and April 27 between stops in Illinois and Missouri.

Senator Grassley (R-IA) used a darn good example to make his argument:

He cited Peoria, Illinois-based Caterpillar as an example of Midwest-based manufacturer that is at a disadvantage because of the lack of free-trade agreements. Equipment Caterpillar builds in Europe can be shipped to Colombia, for example, duty-free because of trade agreements, Grassley said.

“If they are made in Peoria, they pay a 35 percent tariff,” he said. “So level the playing field for the American worker by getting these agreements passed.”

And since we’re mentioning Sioux City, thanks to the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce for inviting NAM President John Engler to speak to the group during their Washington Conference this week. All the reports we’ve heard is that the visit went very well.

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Senate to Debate Health Care Next Week…Maybe

CBS Marketwatch, “Reid hoping to bring up health bill in Senate next week“:

“We hope to move to health reform,” said Reid spokeswoman Regan Lachapelle on Friday. No date has been set to bring the bill to the floor for debate, she said, adding that Reid wants to bring it up “as soon as we can.”

Reid hasn’t yet unveiled a bill he melded together from separate measures passed by the Senate committees on finance and health. The Congressional Budget Office is still poring over the majority leader’s plan, and the analysis it comes up with be influential in the debate.

Here it is. Vote.

Maybe it won’t go quite that quickly. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, told a Republican gathering in Iowa that anticipates extended debate. From IowaPolitics.com, “Grassley looking for “weeks” of Senate debate on health care reform“:

“You’re restructuring one-sixth of the economy,” Grassley said. “Health care, just the words; life or death issues for 306 million Americans. It ought to be taken pretty seriously. And when most of the program doesn’t get started until 2013, what’s the hurry of getting to get it done right now instead of getting it done right?

In the meantime, all sorts of new tax increases are being thought up to finance the health care bill’s new programs, coverage and government control.

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The Public Option Lives, It Lives! Rural Hospitals Anxious

The Senate Finance Committee’s approval of the framework of a structure of a plan for health care reform legislation Tuesday is just a step, one step:

From TPM Live Wire, “Schumer To Reid: The Fate Of The Public Option May Be In Your Hands,” a quote of Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY): “It’s very important to see if a public option is in the bill that Leader Reid puts together. He hasn’t yet made up his mind, but many of us who believe in the public option are urging him to do so, and so far we’re getting heard.”

From CBS News, “Snowe: Public Option the Breaking Point,” quoting Sen. Olympia Snowe’s  interview on the CBS “Early Show” today: “Because I prefer in utilizing the private sector as we do in this legislation that doesn’t include a public option. I think the government would have a disproportionate advantage in the marketplace against private insurers…But at the same time, I want to make sure the insurance industry performs and that’s why we eliminate and prohibit many egregious practices.”

And, outside the Beltway, from The Grand Forks Herald, “N.D. health system CEOs: ‘Public plan’ with Medicare rates threatens hospitals“:

If uninsured and/or underinsured individuals in North Dakota were covered by a public plan at Medicare rates, this would add a total of $16 million to MeritCare, Altru, Medcenter and Trinity’s revenues.

But if 10 percent of individuals who have private coverage switched to a public plan, this would result in a loss of $34 million in revenues to the big four hospitals. If 30 percent switched, this would result in $101 million in decreased revenues to the hospitals.

This gap will continue to grow as Washington cuts in Medicare payments uniformly throughout the nation.

In North Dakota, a million dollars is still real money.

Seconds ago on Fox News, Sen. Chuck Grassley warned that the public option still has broad support from the Democrats — “that’s where they want to go.” He is especially worried about its effects on rural hospitals.

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