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Major Conference To Explore How To Create Jobs
TOMORROW: Building The New Economy conference. Check out our Online Forum previewing the conference, with new posts from Richard Trumka, Robert Borosage and Natasha Chart on how we start to lead the global economy and make things in America again.
Right-Leaning Dems Push Back Against Reid's Public Option
Sen. Lieberman lies about public option as he threatens filibuster, but Politico reports some Dems are downplaying the notion he would follow through on the threat.
NYT lists Senate Dems not yet on board: "Among the Senate Democrats who have not committed to supporting the bill are Evan Bayh of Indiana, Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor, both of Arkansas, and Ben Nelson of Nebraska."
LA Times looks at what the holdouts may really be looking for: "Reid has made [Bayh] more amendable to supporting it by promising to significantly modify a proposed 10-year, $40-billion excise tax on manufacturers of medical devices, a major Indiana industry. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), a former state insurance commissioner, is adamantly opposed to a provision that would impose new antitrust requirements on the health insurance industry, one of his big campaign contributors. The Democratic leadership is exploring ways to address Nelson's concerns. ... Democratic leaders may find another point of leverage far removed from the healthcare bill: Landrieu's conservative state has been clamoring for more government aid to repair damage from Hurricane Katrina."
Politico reports Sen. Carper making plans to swap out Reid's public option "opt-out" compromise on Senate floor: "Once the bill is on the floor, Carper said Democrats could strip out the public option with the state exemption at some point and move to an alternative. Carper said he was working on a plan to allow states with affordability issues to opt into a national public option on Day One."
Uncertainty about kind of public option for House bill. The Hill: "Democratic leaders said a House bill could be unveiled as early as Wednesday, and go to the floor for a vote next week. But the leftward momentum in the Senate doesn't appear to have won the day for the most liberal alternative ... A Democratic leadership 'whip list' showed 47 Democrats lined up against the more liberal option, dubbed the 'robust' option in the parlance of the House. It takes 39 Democrats voting with all Republicans to kill a bill. But there is room for error in those numbers. The no list includes lawmakers who have said they would support the Medicare-based plan, but oppose the bill for other reasons, such as the income surtax it includes."
Senate Climate Bill Hearings Begin
David Roberts says "Baucus is a problem" for criticizing emissions targets and keeping EPA authority over Clean Air Act, but remains optimistic: "Altogether, it as a good day for the forces of climate sanity. The jobs and economics messages were front and center and wavering conservative Dems were grappling with the legislation in a way that showed they’re taking the possibility of passage seriously."
Climate Progress' Joe Romm downplays Baucus criticisms: "Sen. Baucus (D-MT) and Sen. Voinovich (R-OH) were a tad more negative than I expected. I’ve no doubt Baucus will support the final bill, but I definitely have doubts Voinovich will. "
HuffPost's Jeff Muskus highlights the concerns raised by Dems: "most of the committee's Democrats praised her efforts on Tuesday. That didn't stop them from demanding more carveouts for themselves, however. [Sen. Specter] said he wants a bill that the United Mine Workers of America can support. [Sen. Klobuchar] called for more nuclear-energy funding and suggested that she would work to weaken the bill's impact on farmers in the agriculture committee ... Baucus said the bill's 2020 emissions target, a 20 percent reduction from 2005 levels, was too strong. He didn't say, however, how weak the target should be, and wouldn't tell reporters outside the hearing room whether he would accept the 17 percent reduction mandated by the House climate bill that passed in July."
To kickoff Senate climate hearings, Sen. Kerry schools Sen. Inhofe on cost-savings from carbon cap
W. Post looks at possible nuclear deal to get GOP support for climate bill: "The Obama administration and leading congressional Democrats are wooing wavering Democrats and Republicans to back a climate bill by dangling federal tax incentives and new loan guarantees for nuclear power plant construction, even though financial analysts warn that huge capital needs and a history of cost overruns would constrain what many lawmakers hope will be a 'nuclear renaissance.' ... Asked how many Republicans could be won over to a climate bill with a substantial nuclear power provision, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said: 'At least half a dozen, depending on how this issue comes out. Maybe more.'"
Too-Big-To-Fail Legislation Released
The measure, directed at institutions whose troubles might pose risks to the financial system, would create a powerful financial services oversight council, led by the Treasury secretary and composed of top regulators, to set policy and tougher regulations for the largest companies and mediate disputes between federal agencies. It would also give the Federal Reserve Board a lead role in directly supervising many of the largest financial conglomerates.
...in the future, [the bill] would not permit any more commercial companies to own banks.
...striking a compromise with the administration, [it] preserves the thousands of thrift charters that the White House proposed to eliminate, but it gives supervision of thrift holding companies to the Fed to prevent them from shopping for the least restrictive regulator.
The legislation would permit the government to impose tough new capital requirements on the largest companies as well as take them over, making their shares virtually worthless, and remove management when they fail. It would provide new authority for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which seizes weak commercial banks, to take over other large failing financial institutions like insurance companies or hedge funds.
...future rescues of large institutions would be paid for by other big firms. The proposal says that any financial company with assets of more than $10 billion would have to contribute to the rescue of a failed firm. The legislation emerged after community banks lobbied to ensure that small institutions would not have to pay for future bailouts.
Dean Baker is skeptical: "if we had the large banks pay policy in place last fall, does anyone think that we would have imposed special assessments on Citigroup, Bank of America and the rest to cover the cost of bailouts of AIG and Lehman? And, if it wouldn't have helped in the last crisis, why does anyone think this approach will help in the next one?"
In These Times delivers final analysis from Showdown in Chicago: "There was broad agreement on anger at the banks for providing so little, if any, public benefit for the massive bail-out, and for so quickly returning to the greed and abuse that precipitated the crisis. Stoking anger at the banks is not only justified, it is politically important and beneficial. But the variety of demands hint at the problem of organizing that anger. It’s often hard to educate people about important but complex initiatives–like reforming the Fed or regulating derivatives–or to link those reforms to their personal experiences."
Tax Cut "Stimulus" Blocked
Tax cuts stymied in Senate. The Hill: "A bipartisan push to extend a number of provisions in the $787 billion stimulus fizzled Tuesday, with senators opting to move ahead with a simple extension of jobless benefits instead. Democrats and Republicans had hoped to use the bill extending unemployement benefits by at least 14 weeks as the vehicle to extend other provisions set to expire this year. Senators from both parties had offered amendments that would have prolonged the $8,000 first-time homebuyer's tax credit and a tax provision allowing small businesses to write-off taxes on operating losses during the recession."