Pres­sure in­creases on Se­nate for a deal

Some GOP sen­a­tors back Obama’s call for agree­ment to fore­stall tax hikes.

Austin American-Statesman - - THE SECOND FRONT - Byjonathanweis­man New York times

WASHINGTON — With lit­tle more than a week for law­mak­ers to avert huge tax in­creases and spend­ing cuts, at­ten­tion is turn­ing from the grid­locked House to the Se­nate, where some Repub­li­cans on Sun­day en­dorsed Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s call for a par­tial deal to in­su­late most Amer­i­cans from the tax in­creases but de­fer a res­o­lu­tion on spend­ing.

Sen. Kay Bai­ley Hutchi­son, R-Texas, and Sen. Johnny Isak­son, RGa., im­plored Se­nate lead­ers to reach an ac­com­mo­da­tion with Obama when Congress re­turns Thurs­day, even if that means that taxes would go up for those with high in­comes but that spend­ing cuts would be put off.

Hutchi­son, ap­pear­ing on the CBS pro­gram “Face the Na­tion,” said the tax cuts signed into law by Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush should be ex­tended “at a rea­son­able salary level.”

“We can’t let taxes go up on work­ing peo­ple in this coun­try,” she said, back­ing Obama’s calls for a stripped-down tem­po­rary mea­sure. “It is go­ing to be a patch be­cause, in four days, we can’t solve ev­ery­thing.”

The failed at­tempt Thurs­day by the House speaker, John Boehner, to at­tract enough Repub­li­can sup­port for leg­is­la­tion that would have pre­vented tax in­creases on in­come be­low $1 mil­lion left lit­tle chance for a “grand bargain” on deficit re­duc­tion.

It also shifted the ac­tion to the Se­nate as the last hope to stop more than a half tril­lion dol­lars in tax in­creases and across­the-board spend­ing cuts from kick­ing in on Jan. 1. The pres­i­dent urged sen­a­tors to take up leg­is­la­tion ex­tend­ing the Bush-era tax cuts on in­come un­der $250,000 and prevent­ing the ex­pi­ra­tion of un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fits, while de­lay­ing the de­fense and domestic spend­ing cuts to al­low ne­go­ti­a­tions on a deficit deal con­tinue.

“The fact that the House Repub­li­cans spent a week wast­ing time we didn’t have has greatly ex­ac­er­bated the prob­lem,” said Dan Pfeif­fer, Obama’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor.

The hope is that the less po­lar­ized Se­nate will be dif­fer­ent from the House. It is run by Democrats and in­cludes sev­eral Repub­li­cans who are openly back­ing a deal.

“The pres­i­dent’s state­ment is right,” Isak­son said Sun­day on ABC’s “This Week.” “No one wants taxes to go up on the mid­dle class. I don’t want them to go up on any­body, but I’m not in the ma­jor­ity in the United States Se­nate, and he’s the pres­i­dent of the United States.”

Demo­cratic lead­ers say they will move for­ward on leg­is­la­tion this week only if Sen. Mitch McCon­nell of Ken­tucky, the Repub­li­can leader, can as­sure them that it will not be fil­i­bus­tered, and that once it is passed, Boehner will bring it to a vote in the House.

In­vestors are an­tic­i­pat­ing a tur­bu­lent week in the mar­kets if the White House and Congress con­tinue their stand­off. Last Fri­day, the Stan­dard & Poor’s 500-stock in­dex fell nearly 1 per­cent as pes­simism mounted over the prospect of any deal be­ing reached.

By Becky Bohrer HONOLULU — Sen. Daniel Inouye was re­mem­bered Sun­day as an Amer­i­can hero whose legacy as a war veteran and long­time se­na­tor would be felt across Hawaii for years to come.

The me­mo­rial ser­vice at Honolulu’s Na­tional Me­mo­rial Ceme­tery of the Pa­cific was at­tended by about 1,000 peo­ple, in­clud­ing Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Harry Reid, Hawaii’s con­gres­sional del­e­ga­tion and a num­ber of other sen­a­tors, Cab­i­net sec­re­taries and other dig­ni­taries.

“Daniel was the best se­na­tor among us all,” Reid told those as­sem­bled, adding later: “When­ever we needed a no­ble man to lean on, we turned to Sen. Dan Inouye. He was fear­less.”

The ceme­tery, a beau­ti­ful site in an ex­tinct vol­cano, is the fi­nal rest­ing place to thou­sands of World War II veter­ans. More than 400 mem­bers of the sto­ried Ja­pane­seAmer­i­can 442nd Reg­i­men­tal Com­bat Team — of which Inouye was a part — are buried at the site.

Adm. Sa­muel Lock­lear, com­man­der of the

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama stands at at­ten­tion as the cof­fin bear­ing Daniel Inouye is car­ried into the ceme­tery for the me­mo­rial ser­vice.

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