By Walter Alarkon - 08/05/10 10:05 AM EDT
RECESS INTERRUPTED — The House will come back Tuesday to pass the $26.1 billion jobs bill with fiscal aid for state and local governments. Senate Democrats plus the two Maine Republicans voted Wednesday to end debate on the package of $10 billion for a fund to stave off teacher cutbacks and $16.1 billion in more Medicaid funding for states. The Senate is expected to pass the package Thursday. The House wasn't planning on coming back until after Labor Day; it will be in pro forma session Monday, and vote on the bill Tuesday. The Hill: http://bit.ly/cur8Wa
Speaker Pelosi's decision was announced via Twitter: @SpeakerPelosi: I will be calling the House back into session early next week to save teachers' jobs and help seniors & children #FMAP http://bit.ly/b03yXz
Why Twitter? Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami: "We wanted to get the word out quickly on the decision that the House will be voting to keep teachers on the job. The Senate cloture vote was a major topic that was being followed closely on Twitter, the blogs, online news site, newspapers, TV and wires. So that is why we used Twitter, and we e-mailed the news release within minutes." http://bit.ly/buP7XB
House GOP Leader John Boehner's (Ohio) response tweet: It’s official: Dems to call House back on Tuesday to pass more “stimulus” spending, "paid for" with new job-killing tax on U.S. job creators http://bit.ly/bpABFn
Unions pressed for House's return. "A K Street lobbyist said
the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
(AFSCME) pushed Pelosi to call back the House for the vote. States
would have to lay off thousands of teachers if Congress doesn’t approve
the money by the end of August."
AFSCME memo circulating K Street. “The House must pass this bill with no changes as soon as
possible. ... Please call offices of allies and those who had deficit
concerns with the tax extender bill."
Jobs bill paid for with deeper food-stamp cuts than expected. "SNAP benefits face a $11.9 billion rollback starting in April, 2014," reports the Washington Independent's Annie Lowrey. "A family of three can expect their benefits to drop about $50 a month. Never before have congressional policies actually created a month-to-month cut in food stamps." http://bit.ly/9aE4ao
OBAMA ASKS UNIONS TO BACK DEMS — "President Obama on Wednesday asked labor leaders to set aside their disappointments with his administration’s progress so far and rally around Democratic Party candidates ahead of the midterm elections," reports The Hill's Kevin Bogardus. "Speaking before the AFL-CIO’s executive council in Washington, Obama said he understands union members’ frustration over their priorities being stalled in Congress despite Democratic control."
Obama: “You have to remind [union members] that for the next three months, this election is a choice." http://bit.ly/bE2QXq
PRIVATE JOB GROWTH STILL WEAK IN JULY — The private sector added 42,000 jobs last month, which was slightly better than expected, ADP said Wednesday. But the report found "no evidence of acceleration." http://bit.ly/9VuuMJ
Labor Department jobs report is due out Friday. A slight rise in jobless rate expected, from 9.5 percent to 9.6 percent.
And/but... stocks were up Wednesday. WSJ: "Investors were cheered by hints of an improving employment picture, pushing U.S. stocks higher Wednesday ahead of closely-watched official jobs numbers on Friday that could shed light on the durability of the recovery." The Dow was up 44 points, or 0.2 percent. http://bit.ly/bL5Jqf
ALSO UP... THE PRICE OF BREAKFAST — The Economist: "The price of orange juice has also risen recently, probably thanks to bets placed on the likelihood of tropical storms. Coffee prices, which hit a 13-year high, are a result of poor harvests. Taken together, the raw ingredients for breakfast in much of the rich world have increased in price by 25% since the beginning of June." http://bit.ly/agGM2t (Hat tip: NPR http://n.pr/ahDEDN)
SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE TRUSTEES REPORT DUE OUT THURSDAY — Projections could shape the fiscal commission debate on entitlements. CBO's report back in March found Social Security will pay out more in benefits this year than it will take in.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue will release the report at 11 a.m. at Treasury.
GEITHNER, GOP CLASH ON TAX CUTS: WaPo: "Geithner pushed back hard Wednesday against GOP criticism that allowing tax cuts to expire for the wealthiest Americans could harm small businesses. Senate Republicans held a news conference Wednesday afternoon with a trio of small-business owners..." http://bit.ly/c8tVh0
Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.): "The impact of all this taxation, regulation and, yes, litigation as well, has a deterrent effect on what we all would like to do, and that is to create jobs."
Geithner at the Center for American Progress: "If you actually want to help small businesses get needed tax relief as opposed to using them as a cover for supporting tax cuts for the most well-off, those people should be supporting Senate passage of the Small Business Jobs Act this week."
With the jobs bill and the Kagan nomination still left to do, the Senate isn't likely to get to the small-business bill until after the recess.
Reid sets tax cut debate set for September. The Hill's Alexander Bolton: "That would make tax cuts a front-and-center issue in the days leading up to the midterm election. The debate promises to be contentious, pitting Democrats against Republicans, liberals against centrists and the Senate against the House." http://bit.ly/bo9Qlr
BILLIONAIRES TO POOL MONEY FOR CHARITY — "Forty of the nation's wealthiest American families and individuals have agreed to give away at least half of their fortunes to charity, providing the potential for billions of dollars to be pumped into charitable organizations," The Hill's Vicki Needham writes. "In June, Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates invited American billionaires to pledge their fortunes within their lifetimes or after their deaths." http://bit.ly/9iGEkR
Also pledged: hotel mogul Barron Hilton, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, entertainment executive Barry Diller, Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, energy tycoon T. Boone Pickens, Ted Turner, David Rockefeller, film director George Lucas and investor Ronald Perelman.
Full list: http://givingpledge.org/#enter