Driving the Day: 8/2/12
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Aug 2, 2012
Need to know…
- House Extends Bush-Era Tax Rates. In a 256-171 vote, the House approved a one-year extension of the Bush-era tax rates last night, with 19 Democrats joining all but one Republican, retiring Representative Timothy Johnson. The House also easily turned aside an attempt by Democrats to substitute a measure the Senate approved last week that would extend the rates only on income up to $250,000.
- Federal Reserve Rejects Action for Now. In what a front page Wall Street Journal report called “an uncharacteristically strong statement,” the Fed yesterday announced no new steps to deal with the sluggish economy, but signaled a willingness to take action if the slowdown continues. The central bank reiterated that it intends to keep interest rates low through 2014. Fed governors will meet again in September.
- Cybersecurity Act Expected to Fail. Unless members strike a last-minute deal, the Cybersecurity Act from Senator Joe Lieberman is expected to fall short of the 60 votes needed to end debate. This would be a defeat for the White House, which made an all-hands-on-deck push to get the bill through Congress.
- Russia Trade Bill On Hold Until After Recess. Congress will not move a bill that would normalize trade ties with Russia before leaving for a five-week recess. Advocates say lawmakers have "dropped the ball" and that they are now looking to September for passage of a measure that would give Moscow permanent normal trade relations by repealing the 37-year-old Jackson-Vanik provision. If Congress doesn’t take up the bill during the eight days that Congress is in session in September, the bill will slip to the post-election lame-duck session and U.S. businesses could face higher tariffs for their exports, leaving them at a disadvantage to exporters in Europe and Canada.
- Promising Energy Report Shows U.S. Oil Reserves Jumped in 2010. The Energy Information Administration said in its annual report that in 2010, proven reserves of crude oil jumped by 13%, with the highest increases seen in Texas, North Dakota, and the Gulf. Proven reserves of natural gas rose by 12%. The jump was the highest marginal increase in at least three decades, lending weight to the idea that the U.S. can meet more of its own energy demand.
Worth the read…
- Small Firms See Pain in Health Law – The Wall Street Journal
- House Small Business Committee Puts Spotlight on Regulation – Fox Business
- Planned Layoffs Decrease for Second Month – Fox Business
- Congress Approves New Iran Sanctions on Oil, Shipping Sectors – Reuters
- Payroll Tax Cut on Track to Quietly Expire – The Wall Street Journal
- Speed Counseling for Struggling Business Owners – The New York Times
- Lagarde Says IMF Stands by Greece, Urges Euro Zone Action – Reuters
- St. Mark’s Bookshop Turns to Crowdfunding in Fight for Survival – Huffington Post
- Entrepreneurs Dream of Jumping on Super-Fast Network – The Wall Street Journal
- With Crowdfunding, Experts Urge Caution Before Businesses Raise Funds – Reuters