Morning News - Trade and Transit Edition
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The White House and key senators are close to a deal on expanding the trade adjustment assistance program, according to Sen. Max Baucus. The bill would expand assistance to service workers whose jobs have moved overseas, double annual retraining funding to $440 million, and increase a tax credit to help displaced workers pay for health insurance. Baucus said Congress won’t consider any more trade votes until this deal is done, and even then, there’s no guarantee lawmakers would allow a vote on Colombia, South Korea, and Panama.
House Democrats needed a two-thirds vote yesterday to extend unemployment insurance for an additional 13 weeks and didn’t get it. They say they will try again.
There’s new evidence of how high gas prices are driving Americans to mass transit. APTA said ridership is at the highest level since 1957 – passengers took 10.3 billion trips last year on public transportation. Congress hopes the public will use it even more – yesterday it approved $15 billion in funding for Amtrak over 5 years, and another $1.5 billion for Washington’s Metro system over ten years. The legislation is considered veto-proof.
McCain shared some thoughts on the price of oil yesterday, saying it was unlikely to fall before the November elections, and might even go up further, due primarily to supply and demand. He said oil companies have got to “be more participatory in alternate energy, in sharing their profits in a variety of ways, and there is very strong and justifiable emotion about their profits.”
Belgium beer giant InBev thinks this Bud’s for them - they have made an unsolicited bid of $46 billion for Anheuser-Busch. Anheuser said that its board will carefully evaluate the nonbinding, $65-a-share proposal. The Busch family appears to oppose the bid, but only controls 4% of the stock.
For the first time, U.S. life expectancy has surpassed 78 years, the government reported yesterday. The increase is due mainly to falling mortality rates in almost all the leading causes of death. However, the United States continues to lag behind about 30 other countries in estimated life span.