Tag Archive: Party leaders of the United States Senate

Reports: Company Tied to Reid’s Son Wants Land in Bundy Standoff

Image: Reports: Company Tied to Reid's Son Wants Land in Bundy Standoff
Rory Reid

Sunday, 13 Apr 2014 08:48 PM

The Nevada rancher who forced the federal Bureau of Land Management to back down last week may have been targeted because a Chinese solar company with ties to Sen. Harry Reid’s son wants the land for an energy plant, several websites report.

A report on Godfatherpolitics.com,  says Chinese energy giant ENN Energy Group wants to use federal land as part of its effort to build a $5 billion solar farm and panel-building plant in the southern Nevada desert. Rory Reid, the son of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, is representing ENN in their efforts to locate in Nevada.

Part of the land ENN wants to use was purchased from Clark County at well below appraised value. Rory Reid is the former Clark County Commission chairman, and he persuaded the commission to sell 9,000 acres of county land to ENN on the promise it would provide jobs for the area, Reuters reported in 2012.

In addition to the county acreage, the federal Bureau of Land Management at one time was looking at BLM property under dispute with cattle rancher Cliven Bundy. The BLM is headed by former Harry Reid senior policy adviser Neil Kornz.

According to BizPac Review, BLM documents indicate that the federal property for which Bundy claims grazing rights were under consideration by a solar energy company. Those documents have since been removed from BLM’s website, but BizPac quotes from one of them:

“Non-Governmental Organizations have expressed concern that the regional mitigation strategy for the Dry Lake Solar Energy Zone utilizes Gold Butte as the location for offsite mitigation for impacts from solar development, and that those restoration activities are not durable with the presence of trespass cattle.”


Federal Land Grab In Nevada To Benefit Chinese Solar Farm

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April 25, 2013

, Associated Press

Online Sales Taxes

FILE – In this Oct. 18, 2010 file photo, an Amazon.com package is prepared for shipment by a United Parcel Service (UPS) driver in Palo Alto, Calif. States could force Internet retailers to collect sales taxes under a bill that overwhelmingly passed a test vote in the Senate Monday, April 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — You don’t see this very often: a majority of Senate Republicans voting to make people who buy stuff on the Internet pay state and local sales taxes.

Anti-tax guru Grover Norquist isn’t happy about it and the conservative Heritage Foundation is questioning the senators’ conservative credentials. But the issue of taxing Internet sales is getting strong support from Republicans and Democrats alike.

The Senate could vote as early as Thursday on a bill to empower states to require online retailers to collect state and local sales taxes for purchases made over the Internet. Under the bill, the sales taxes would be sent to the states where a shopper lives.

On Wednesday, the bill passed a test vote in the Senate, 74 to 23, with 27 Republicans voting in favor. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., vowed to pass the bill this week, before senators leave for a scheduled vacation.

“This is a matter of equity and fairness,” said South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, a Republican. “The same people who are selling the same products should be paying the same taxes.”

Under current law, states can only require stores to collect sales taxes if the store has a physical presence in the state. As a result, many online sales are essentially tax-free, giving Internet retailers an advantage over brick-and-mortar stores.

It is part of GOP orthodoxy to oppose higher taxes, a central issue that divides Democrats and Republicans. That’s why the bill faces an uncertain fate in the House, where some Republicans regard it as a tax increase.

But supporters of the bill insist it is not a tax increase. Instead, they say, the bill merely provides states with a mechanism to enforce current taxes.

“This bill has nothing to do with imposing any kind of new tax or revenue generator,” said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. “What this law does is allow states that already have laws on the books to carry out the implementation of those” laws.

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10 Reasons Even Democrats Oppose the Internet Sales Tax

Published on Apr 24, 2013

Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Max Baucus (D-MT) explain why the Internet sales tax bill, known as the Marketplace Fairness Act, is bad for America.


Posted: 03/23/2013 6:00 am EDT

Obama Gun Control

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama put the spotlight back on gun violence on Saturday, praising senators for taking “big steps” to advance gun bills but pressing lawmakers to finish the job and deliver legislation to his desk in the coming weeks.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama said the nation has changed in the three months since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that took the lives of 20 children and six adults. There is “still genuine disagreement” about how to reduce gun violence, he said, but everyone now agrees that it is time to do something.

“Senators here in Washington have listened and taken some big steps forward,” Obama said, pointing to the mix of gun control legislation headed to the Senate floor next month. Provisions on the table include tighter background checks, a new gun trafficking statute, an assault weapons ban and a ban on high-capacity gun magazines.

“These ideas shouldn’t be controversial — they’re common sense,” Obama said. “I urge the Senate and the House to give each of them a vote.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is expected to hold votes in early April on a mix of gun proposals, all of which make up the core of Obama’s gun violence package. The bills with broader support will be lumped together into one package, while the more controversial pieces — including the assault weapons ban — will be taken up as individual amendments to the package.

Here’s the text of Obama’s full address:


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By Alexander Bolton


The bill was approved in an 89-8 vote that came after only 10 minutes of formal floor debate and no official score from the Congressional Budget Office. The Joint Committe on Taxation estimated it would reduce federal revenue by $3.93T over the next decade compared to current law.

Five Republicans and three Democrats voted against the bill: Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Tom Carper (D-Dela.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.).

Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) missed the vote.

A ninety-minute meeting of Senate Democrats ending shortly before midnight sealed the deal negotiated between Vice President Biden and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

It would permanently extend the Bush-era income tax rates on individual income up to $400,000 and family income up to $450,000. It permanently sets the estate tax rate at 40 percent, up from 35 percent, and exempts inheritances below $5 million.

It postpones the automatic spending cuts known as the sequester for two months and offsets the $24 billion cost of the delay with a mix of spending cuts and new revenues. It extends unemployment benefits for one year without offsetting their impact on the deficit, preventing 2 million people from losing government assistance.

It also would prevent a hike in congressional pay that authorized by an executive order from President Obama raising federal worker pay.

Biden made a late-night visit to Capitol Hill to convince Democrats to back the agreement but did not need to do much arm-twisting.

“I am feeling very, very good. I think we’ll get a very good vote tonight,’ Biden said, leaving the meeting with Democrats.

Senate approval sends the bill to the House, where Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the House will review the Senate bill.

The House Rules Committee has already waived the requirement of a three-day review period, setting the stage for a New Year’s Day vote.

“The House will honor its commitment to consider the Senate agreement if it is passed,” Boehner said. “Decisions about whether the House will seek to accept or promptly amend the measure will not be made until House members —and the American people — have been able to review the legislation.”

Yet the bill would appear to be a hard sell with House Republicans, many of whom objected to an earlier bill sought by Boehner that extended tax rates on annual income under $1 million as a tax hike.

The Senate bill also includes few spending cuts, which House Republicans have repeatedly demanded.

“I don’t see any balance yet, that’s the fundamental problem,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) told The Hill. “If you don’t cut spending, there’s no way you’re going to pick up Republican votes.”

Heritage Action for American, a conservative advocacy group, urged lawmakers to oppose the deal.

“To be clear, this is a tax increase.  In 2013, the top marginal rate, death tax, and taxes on long-term capital gains and dividends will all be higher than in 2012.  Comparing tax rates to hypothetical rates that have hardly any support is nothing more than misleading Washington spin,” the group declared in a statement.

Liberal groups and labor unions have begun to line up against the deal, as well. They complained the White House and Democrats were giving up too much, particularly after Obama campaigned on a pledge to raise tax rates on households with annual income above $250,000.


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Deal to avert fiscal cliff appears within reach

Updated at 9:46 p.m. — An agreement in principle to avert broad tax increases and spending cuts appeared imminent Monday night.

A senior Democratic source told NBC News that an accord had been reached. A senior GOP source said it “looks good” and that the outcome in the Senate would be clearer after Vice President Joe Biden conferred with Senate Democrats. Biden arrived at the Capitol to meet with Democratic senators Monday night.

Although a Senate vote later Monday night was possible, it’s not clear how an accord would fare in the House.

The interim New Year’s Eve tax deal negotiated by Biden and Senate Republican Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky would raise income taxes on single earners with annual incomes above $400,000 and married couples with incomes above $450,000.

MSNBC’s Milissa Rehberger talks with contributor Ezra Klein and outlines the potential Senate deal that avert the Fiscal Cliff.

As of mid-afternoon Monday, the sticking point involved the “sequester,” the cuts to spending – about $100 billion to start in 2013 — that were mandated by the Budget Control Act which President Barack Obama signed into law last year. Republicans have signaled they might let the sequester take effect unless it was offset by other spending cuts; the GOP has also said it might accept a delay, but only for a few months.

The Obama administration, however, is pushing for a longer delay in implementing the sequester. Otherwise, the president said, replacing those automatic cuts must be “balanced” — shorthand for a combination of new taxes and other spending cuts.

Obama tried to push talks over the finish line earlier in the afternoon with a statement from the White House.

“Today, it appears that an agreement to prevent this New Year’s tax hike is within sight,” the president said at the White House. “But it’s not done.”

In the absence of a broader agreement to resolve the sequester, McConnell appeared in the Senate floor to request a vote only on the tax element of the fiscal cliff.

“Let’s pass the tax relief portion now,” he said. “Let’s take what’s been agreed to and keep moving.”

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By Alexander Bolton – 12/31/12 08:51 PM ET

Democratic opposition to a fiscal cliff deal negotiated between Vice President Biden and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is holding up a deal to extend tax rates and postpone spending cuts.

Biden will meet with the Senate Democratic caucus at 9:15, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office announced. The meetings comes after labor leaders, progressive groups and some Democrats have criticized the tax deal Biden negotiated.

Senate Democrats say they will not sign off on the deal because of details related to the extension of the estate tax. Biden and McConnell agreed to set the estate tax at 40 percent and exempt inheritances below $5 million.

But Senate Democrats do not want to index the estate-tax exemption to inflation, even though Republicans say Biden already agreed to the indexing.

“That’s never going to happen,” a senior Senate Democratic aide said of the Republican demand to raise the inheritance tax exemption to keep pace with inflation. The aide denied that Biden had ever agreed to indexing the level.

But Democrats are divided on the issue. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said he supports pegging the estate tax exemption to inflation.

Republican aides familiar with the talks say Biden signed off on the deal early Monday morning in order to prevent tax hikes from hitting the middle class. With no action, most households would see their taxes rise and the estate tax would jump to 55 percent for inheritances over $1 million.

“Biden signed off on all of it last night,” said a GOP official.

A senior Democratic aide, however, countered, “that’s not true.”

President Obama in comments Monday afternoon also appeared to suggest the deal between McConnell and Biden would hold, saying the sides were close to an agreement though it was “not done yet.”

Republicans say Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has raised various last-minute objections to the deal. They say the first one came at 6 a.m. Monday when Reid balked at language relating to the automatic spending cuts known as the sequester.

The Senate went into recess subject to the call of the chair after 8 p.m. on Monday, leaving it unclear whether there would be a deal or votes in the upper chamber before midnight, when tax rates are set to expire.

A Senate Democratic aide insisted Reid has not yet signed off on what Biden negotiated.

It even appeared that Reid was not fully aware Biden and McConnell had begun substantive negotiations on Sunday as one Senate Democratic aide expressed doubt at the time that the talks were actually taking place.


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By Ramsey Cox
The Hill

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Thursday said it is likely too late for Congress to pull the nation back from the “fiscal cliff.”

Speaking on the Senate floor, Reid castigated Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for sending members of the House back to their districts last week after he was forced to scrap his “Plan B” tax plan for lack of support.

The Democratic leader said that even if Boehner agreed to hold a vote extending the Bush tax rates for incomes up to $250,000 — as Democrats have demanded to avoid one part of the fiscal cliff — it might not make it through Congress in time to prevent tax increases from beginning next year.


“I have to be honest — I don’t know, time-wise, how it can happen now,” Reid said.

Boehner said last week that he would give members of the House 48 hours notice if they needed to return for a vote on fiscal matters, but GOP leaders have yet to give the order for them to return.

“[Boehner] should call them back today — he shouldn’t have let them go, in fact,” Reid said.

Senators arrived back at the Capitol on Thursday with time running out to reach an agreement on a slew of tax increases and automatic spending cuts that are set to begin in January.

Boehner last week said it was up to President Obama and Senate Democrats to find a solution to the fiscal cliff, and on Wednesday reiterated that the upper chamber must act first.


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How The ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Affects You

fiscal cliff

The clock is ticking to stop tax hikes and spending cuts threatening your wallet.

By: WSPA Staff, Associated Press, CBS News | WSPA-TV



Local impact of fiscal cliff talks

The clock is ticking to stop tax hikes and spending cuts threatening your wallet.

President Obama is back inWashingtontrying to hammer out a last-minute deal to avoid the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’.

If a plan isn’t approved by Jan. 1, economists say it could be a rough fall for the average family.

“If we revert back to Clinton-era tax rates, anyone who is paying income taxes will see their rates going up,” said Tom Smythe, a business professor atFurmanUniversity.

So how will the fiscal cliff impact you?

A household making $50,000 annually will see their income taxes increase $1,000 to $1,500 per year, according to Smythe.

But that’s not all.  The payroll tax extension is also set to expire.  It funds social security, and that means another tax hike of $1,000 per year for the average family.

“In total, if nothing happens, people with incomes of $50,000 will see their taxes rise on the order of about $2,000 to $2,500,” Smythe said.

7 On Your Side caught up with U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham Thursday before he left forWashingtonto get his take on the impending fiscal cliff.

“If we can’t find a fix from now until January, whatever we do will be retroactive for middle class tax payers,” said Sen. Graham.

Economists believe the fiscal cliff could even cost people their jobs.

For example, Smythe says if a deal isn’t reached, the Department of Defense will lose a big chunk of its budget.  The DOD has contracts with various companies, including Lockheed Martin which has a facility inGreenvilleCounty.

“It is a hidden cost of the political process right now,” says Smythe.  “Most companies have stockpiled lots and lots of cash on their balance sheets very specifically because they don’t know what the financial landscape is going to look like post Jan. 1.  Until that gets resolved, companies are going to hold back cash.”


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Politics, Legislation and Economy News

Filibuster fight adds drama to ‘fiscal cliff’ talks

Susan Davis, USA TODAYShare



Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., are engaged in an increasingly heated battle over how and whether to change the chamber’s filibuster rules. The fight comes as President Obama and congressional leaders are trying to find a bipartisan way to avert an end-of-year budgetary crisis that will raise taxes and dramatically cut spending unless they act.

MORE: Durbin outlines liberal plan to avert ‘fiscal cliff’

McConnell spoke of “how unfortunate it is that the majority leader has chosen to create an extraordinary controversy here in the Senate at a time when we ought to be encouraging maximum bipartisan cooperation.”

On the Senate floor, Reid said McConnell personally was a reason change was needed. “Under Leader McConnell, Republican senators have mounted filibusters so much more on a regular basis.”

When McConnell was in the majority in 2005, he once sought similar rule changes he now opposes. Likewise, Reid then opposed the rules changes he now supports.

Reid wants to use a procedural loophole that allows a majority leader at the start of a new session of Congress — coming in early January — to change the governing rules of the U.S. Senate to limit the ability to filibuster legislation.

There are many ways to filibuster a bill or nomination — most famously as Jimmy Stewart did in the film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington when a senator debates uninterrupted on the floor — but the filibuster can be used in a number of ways to slow down or block legislation moving through the chamber.

Reid has not offered an official proposal, but he wants to eliminate the filibuster used to block debate on a piece of legislation. Proponents of the rule change say it will make the Senate more efficient. Opponents, who call it the “nuclear option,” say it will accelerate growing partisanship in the Senate, making it harder to get things done.


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