- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 4, 2010

TREASURY

Geithner: Extending tax cuts a mistake

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said Wednesday that extending the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthier would be a $700 billion mistake.

Mr. Geithner said cuts for families making more than $250,000 annually should be allowed to expire on schedule at the end of the year. But the administration thinks tax cuts for the 95 percent of taxpayers making less than $250,000 should be extended, he said.

Mr. Geithner’s comments came during a speech at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, and focused on what is likely to be a key economic battle leading up to the November midterm elections. Unless Congress acts, all of the tax cuts approved in 2001 and 2003 will expire at the end of December.

Republicans have argued that all of the tax cuts should be extended. They contend that raising taxes on any group at the current moment would be harmful for the economy.

Mr. Geithner said extending the tax cuts for the top 2 percent of taxpayers would cost $700 billion over a decade and $30 billion for a single year. He said wealthier families are more likely to save the money, which doesn’t help the economy in the short run.

PENNSYLVANIA

Clinton to stump for Senate nominee

SCRANTON | Former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to campaign for U.S. Senate candidate Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania, months after trying in vain to persuade the congressman not to run.

The Democratic congressman is running against Republican Pat Toomey for the seat held by outgoing Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter. The Sestak campaign says Mr. Clinton will appear with Mr. Sestak on Tuesday afternoon at a rally at Scranton High School.

At the request of the White House, Mr. Clinton had tried to get Mr. Sestak to drop his primary challenge of Mr. Specter by offering him an unpaid presidential advisory position. Mr. Sestak turned Mr. Clinton down and went on to defeat Mr. Specter.

In the 1990s, Mr. Sestak, a retired admiral, worked in the Clinton administration as director for defense policy on the National Security Council.

SENATE

Senators again seek border security cash

The Senate will make another stab at increasing spending for border security before closing down for its monthlong summer recess at the end of this week.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, is going to try to push through a bill that provides an additional $600 million for the border. That includes $176 million to hire 1,500 more officers to form a strike force to be deployed in critical areas along the border, his office said Wednesday.

The House passed a measure with $701 million for border security before it left for its recess last week. The White House has sought the additional funding, and, with illegal immigration shaping up as a major issue in the fall election, both parties have pressed for action to restore some semblance of order to the country’s southern border.

It’s unclear whether Mr. Schumer’s proposal will gain the Republican support needed to act on it before the Senate recesses. Republicans have proposed similar legislation, but would pay for it by taking unused money from the Obama administration’s economic-stimulus program, an idea unacceptable to Democrats.

Mr. Schumer would pay for his measure by raising fees on visas for temporary skilled workers sent to the United States by Indian companies.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Haley paid taxes late, records show

COLUMBIA | South Carolina Republican gubernatorial nominee Nikki Haley has repeatedly paid fines for not paying her income taxes on time.

Tax records released Wednesday by Mrs. Haley’s campaign show she and her husband filed their taxes late, beginning in 2005. Mrs. Haley is a fiscal conservative and “tea party” favorite who cites her experience as an accountant on the campaign trail.

The state legislator and her husband have been fined more than $4,000 over five years.

Haley’s spokesman, Rob Godfrey, said he would respond to questions later.

The Haleys jointly made $65,700 in 2004, the year she first won her state House seat. They reported $196,300 last year.

Mrs. Haley faces Democrat Vincent Sheheen, a state senator, in November.

HOUSE

Waters wants ethics trial before election

Rep. Maxine Waters is asking a House ethics panel to hold her trial before the November congressional elections.

The California Democrat has been charged with ethics violations for asking regulators to help a bank in which her husband had a financial interest.

Mrs. Waters also asked the House ethics committee to release the specific charges against her, and she said she was “deeply concerned” that the committee had not announced a date for a public hearing.

The committee was following standard practice this week when it issued a statement saying Mrs. Waters has been charged, but did not specify the allegations pending the first meeting of the eight lawmakers who will try her case.

Mrs. Waters said again she had not violated any House rules.

WHITE HOUSE

Obama honors 13 for good deeds

President Obama is honoring 13 people for their commitment to helping their communities, country or fellow Americans.

Mr. Obama said the winners of the Presidential Citizens Medals see a need and meet it despite the challenges they may face in their own lives.

Those honored have fed the poor and advocated for deaf children. One person started a volunteer rifle squad to provide military honors for deceased veterans. Another is a Sept. 11 widow who has helped widows in Afghanistan.

Mr. Obama said their lives are “shining examples of what it means to be an American.”

The medal is the second-highest honor that can be bestowed on an American civilian.