“She told a crowd at the first Iowa rally of her campaign that Obama should address the concerns of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Democratic rank and file in Congress, who want the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement to include better protections for American workers,” report the The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker and John Wagner. “Without improvements, she said, ‘there should be no deal.'”
The tough stance is not a good sign for President Obama and his push to court enough Democrats to save his trade plans.
TAX EXTENDERS, ALWAYS ON THEIR WAY TO EXPIRATION. Time for your annual reminder that dozens of tax breaks and benefits are on pace to expire at the end of the year! The miscellaneous breaks, known as extenders, are a perennial headache for lawmakers, who must figure out how, or if, they are going to make up the cost of renewing the programs. The Wall Street Journal explains how the extenders work and which tax breaks are headed for the chopping block.
“It sounds like a cruel prank: Congress creates juicy tax breaks but makes them only temporary,” WSJ writes. “Then, after the benefits expire, lawmakers procrastinate, leaving taxpayers wondering for many months whether those breaks will be extended — and whether they might be altered.”
On the expiration list: the sales tax exemption, tax-free transfers from IRA savings accounts to charities and tax breaks for teachers.
EPA IS LATEST AGENCY ON APPROPRIATIONS HIT LIST. The House is moving ahead with its latest deep-cutting appropriations bill, and the target this week is the Environmental Protection Agency. Republican leaders are staying true to their promise to consider all 13 funding areas under their jurisdiction. President Obama is staying true to his promise to send a veto threat for each one written under the sequester-passed spending caps.
The Hill has the details of this week’s cuts:
“Republicans are pushing an Interior and Environment funding bill that cuts $718 million, or 9 percent, from the EPA’s budget in fiscal 2016, on top of the 20 percent cut the agency has absorbed since Republicans took the House in 2011.”
SCOTT WALKER HAS A BUDGET FIGHT OF HIS OWN. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has been making headlines as a rising star in the GOP presidential field, but back home he’s got a big budget fight on his hands. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that spending cuts in his budget have little support in the state Senate. Conservatives in his party could revolt over issues like the state’s prevailing wage.
“The budget deadline is barely two weeks away, Walker is traveling in Canada and Fitzgerald has no margin for error — right now almost every one of the 19 Republicans in the 33-member Senate can be seen as the deciding vote for the bill,” the Journal Sentinel reports.