News/Legislation/Economy & Budget

News/Legislation/Economy & Budget

Kyl looks for deal on estate tax

Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) on Tuesday said a process should be agreed to in dealing with the estate tax before the Senate takes up future legislation.


Obama adviser says economy on brink of recovery

A member of the White House Economic Recovery Advisory Board indicated that an economic recovery is just around the corner.

Laura Tyson, an adviser to President Barack Obama, said "we may have hit stability, we may be in the beginning of an upturn" on Saturday. Tyson cited the latest jobs report in making her remarks.

Tyson also said that more stimulus funds would be injected into the economy in the coming months.

Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman added that the jobs report showed "It's quite possible, though not certain, that retrospectively, we'll say that the recession ended in July or August, maybe September," said in a separate interview with Bloomberg News.

The U.S. Labor Department reported last week that job losses amounted to 247,000 in July, less than the 320,000 jobs that economists expected to disappear.

In June, 443,000 Americans joined the ranks of the unemployed. The unemployment rate fell to 9.4 in July from 9.5 percent in June, the first time the figure declined in 15 months.

House Dems: FTA Is DOA

House Democrats opposing President Bush's Colombia Free Trade Agreement criticized the deal today after Bush sent it to Congress.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) said in a joint statement that they could not support the deal. Bush's "unprecedented decision to send a free trade agreement to Congress without following established protocols," they said, was "counter-productive."

Members of the House Trade Working Group offered even sharper criticism. Rep. Mike Michaud, the group's co-founder, said the deal was "dead on arrival."

"If the Bush Administration really believes this agreement is vital to national security interests, it would not send it to a certain defeat," Michaud said in a statement. "They would work with Democrats to stop labor leader assassinations and address forced displacement and murder of Afro-Colombians."

Assassinations of labor leaders by the Colombian military have formed the cornerstone of U.S. labor unions' opposition to the deal.

Bush Lays out Agenda for Congress

President Bush set out an agenda for Congress this morning: reform FISA, modernize the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), and approve his Colombia free trade agreement.

Congress returns today from two weeks of recess, and Bush spoke this morning as he departed from the White House for NATO's summit in Bucharest, which will begin Wednesday.