Senator Jim Risch (R-ID) “on Thursday called the way the U.S. borrows money a ‘Ponzi scheme’ that could soon throw the country into financial turmoil,” according to the Floor Action blog.
"It took time for this to set in," said Risch, according to northern Idaho’s Coeur d’Alene Press. "What I realized was this country is no longer the master of its own destiny."
Risch described in detail how the Bureau of Public Debt, through the U.S. Department of Treasury, goes about borrowing the $4 billion to $5 billion a day needed to keep the federal government running.
"There’s no money," said Risch. "It’s a Ponzi scheme."
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) “struck while the iron was hot Thursday and vowed to shepherd a plan through the panel that ends billions of dollars in tax breaks for the largest oil companies,” The Hill reports.
Baucus released a short “blueprint” of the plan – which would expand investment in “clean” fuels and efficient vehicles – the same day that oil giants Exxon and Shell reported big gains in first-quarter profits.
And the outline arrives a day after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he planned to bring a tax break repeal measure to the floor. The White House and Democrats are targeting the subsidies in the wider political debate that has erupted over high gasoline prices.
The plan would “prevent the five biggest oil companies from claiming a lucrative deduction on domestic manufacturing income, reduce the foreign tax credit for royalty payments to foreign governments and impose an excise tax on certain Gulf of Mexico leases, the blueprint states.”
The plan would “not add to the deficit because repealing the oil industry tax incentives would pay for the ‘clean’ energy programs in the bill, according to the Senate Finance Committee.”
Filed under Energy, Taxes
The suddenly “white-hot issue of deficit caps — now a central front in the battle over raising the debt ceiling — will be the subject of a hearing Wednesday in the Senate Finance Committee,” Roll Call reports.
Panel Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) announced the hearing on the issue Thursday morning. It will include testimony from former Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas), who was part of the bipartisan Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit reduction plan in the 1980s.
Baucus has said he backs the idea of a deficit cap as part of a plan to increase the federal debt ceiling. Republicans generally want spending caps instead, although they also are pushing for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) says “lawmakers should act on legislation retaliating against Beijing’s alleged currency manipulation,” the AFP reports.
"Confronting this issue is an economic imperative," Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer said in a statement that noted he met last week with People’s Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan.
"I am more convinced than ever that legislation is needed to force countries like China that manipulate their currencies to play by the rules and let their currencies freely float," said Schumer.
US lawmakers charge Beijing keeps its currency — and thereby its exports — artificially cheap, hurting their US competitors at a time of deep US worries about historically high unemployment.
Filed under China, Currency
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced in a press release statement today that the Senate “will vote on the budget President Obama submitted to Congress in February.”
“I understand that the Majority Leader would like to have a vote on the House-passed Ryan budget and we will,” McConnell said. “But we’ll have a vote on the President’s budget at the same time. Since there is no Democrat budget in the Senate, we’ll give our colleagues an opportunity to stand with the President in failing to address the problems facing our nation while calling for trillions in new spending, massive new debt and higher taxes on American energy, families and small businesses across the country.”