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Warren Defeats Weiss

Sen. Warren wins as Antonio Weiss abandons Treasury nomination. HuffPost: “Weiss, who had initially been nominated as undersecretary for domestic finance, has instead accepted a job as a counselor to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, a post that doesn’t require congressional approval … The news is a major victory for Warren and progressive groups who have been criticizing Weiss’s nomination since November … In recent weeks, more than half a dozen Democratic senators announced they couldn’t support Weiss for the post because of his overly close ties to Wall Street.”

“Open Rebellion Pays Off” says Hullabaloo’s Gaius Publius: “…it was the first clear instance of … ‘open rebellion’ — defiance of Democratic party leadership — among the next crop in Congress … Looks like a dose of public tar, followed by a sprinkling of feathers from the neck of a downy goose, was more than Weiss wanted to endure.”

Van Hollen Shakes Up Tax Debate

Dem Rep. Chris Van Hollen proposes middle-class tax cut. The Atlantic: “The headline proposal is a $1.2 trillion package of tax cuts for middle-income earners, including a $1,000 ‘paycheck bonus credit’ for individuals making less than $200,000 a year, and twice that amount for couples … [It] would also expand the earned income tax credit and the child care tax credit … scrap tax breaks that go disproportionately to the wealthy and to add a new tax on stock trades that he is dubbing ‘a high roller fee.'”

Demos’ Sean McElwee and Lenore Palladino praise Van Hollen’s financial transaction tax in TNR: “The small FTT in this bill—which also includes provisions to boost stagnant wages and close lucrative tax loopholes—wouldn’t burden longer-term investors. The tax is applied to every transaction … so as long as the investor holds the investment for a decent period of time, the tax is a tiny percentage of their overall portfolio … It’s the high-frequency traders who have fought this tax tooth and nail…”

How might conservatives respond? W. Post: “… they have discussed some ideas that could be both conservative and populist at once. Here are a few: 1. Financial support for families and low-wage workers … 2. Shorter prison sentences … 3. Fewer licenses to work…”

Economists predicting modest wage gains in 2015. Bloomberg: “Hourly earnings for employees on company payrolls will advance 2 percent to 3 percent on average, according to 61 of 69 economists surveyed … They climbed 1.7 percent in the year through December … A jobless rate that’s quickly approaching the range policy makers say is consistent with full employment will mean employers will need to pay up to attract and keep talent.”

Veto Threats Aplenty

Obama threatens veto of anti-regulation bill. The Hill: “The House is expected to vote as early as Tuesday on the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2015. While the legislation is expected to easily pass, the White House warned the bill would ‘undermine’ federal regulators with ‘unnecessary procedural steps that seem designed simply to impede the regulatory development process.’ … [And] the White House said the legislation would actually increase costs.”

And immigration bill. Politico: “The White House issued a veto threat Monday on the House GOP plan to use funding for the Department of Homeland Security to fight President Barack Obama’s immigration policies …”

And probably Wall Street bill. Mother Jones: “The Republican-dominated House is poised to approve legislation this week that would obliterate a slew of important Wall Street reforms … Delay the Volcker rule … Water down rules on private equity firms … Loosen regs on derivatives … President Barack Obama would likely veto it. But GOPers could force the legislation into law by attaching bits of it to must-pass bills…”

Senate Dems try to jam Republicans with Keystone amendments. The Hill: “Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), for example, plans to offer a nonbinding resolution on whether lawmakers agree with the 95 percent of scientists who say human activities contribute to climate change … Another promised amendment would require companies transporting crude oil through the Keystone pipeline to pay into an oil spill cleanup fund. And Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey (D) is expected to offer a measure that would ban the export of any oil shipped through the pipeline … Consideration of the amendments is expected to begin Tuesday after the Senate voted to advance the Keystone legislation on Monday in a 63-32 procedural vote. ”

Dems try to stop House rule change undermining Social Security in the Senate. The Hill: “Democrats are pressing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to repudiate a rules change by House Republicans that could cut Social Security disability payments by 20 percent … They noted that Congress has reallocated taxes between the Social Security retirement and trust funds 11 times in the past.”

Senate GOP divide over budget reconciliation strategy. Politico: “Several influential Republicans want to use a filibuster-proof budget procedure to overhaul the corporate tax code — rather than wield it as a weapon against Obamacare … Sen. John Thune, seeks to use the potent tool known as budget reconciliation to give both the GOP and President Barack Obama the sweeping victory on tax policy that business groups want, which could include a significant cut in corporate tax rates as well as provide funding for a long-term transportation bill. In contrast, an attempt to use reconciliation to gut Obama’s health care law might showcase Republicans’ new strength on Capitol Hill but would inevitably end in a veto.”

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