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Alan K. Ota covers Congressional leadership as a senior writer for CQ Roll Call. Prior to joining the leadership and legal affairs team, he covered taxes and technology, and was a Tokyo and Washington correspondent for The Oregonian.
A Washington native, Alan is a graduate of UC Berkeley and was a Nieman fellow at Harvard University. He grew up in Maryland lives in Arlington, Va.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., is teaming with Senate Appropriations Chairman Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and other senior Republicans in pressing for a permanent extension of faster tax write-offs for operators of motor racetracks, including 29 venues used for NASCAR events.
Liberal Democrats plan to target hedge fund managers and corporations with a push for Senate floor action on a proposed financial transaction tax that has been embraced by two presidential candidates: Sen. Bernard Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.
The problem Congress faces in paying for new highways and other transportation projects is that the Highway Trust Fund, which for decades has financed road and transit spending, is running out of revenue.
A big argument against raising the gasoline tax to provide more money for transportation projects is that the gas tax, by its nature, affects low- and middle-income people more than it does the wealthy.
Jason Chaffetz, the Utah Republican who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has assembled a bipartisan rump group around a proposal to empower states to collect sales taxes from online sellers outside their borders. At the same time, a loose coalition of retailers, state officials and allied groups is trying to rally support for the plan in both chambers of Congress.
Cornyn has emerged in a new role as a conservative lion.
Former Speaker J. Dennis Hastert delivered a blunt reminder to farm-state lawmakers about the clout of the ethanol industry with a visit for nearly an hour to the main lobby off the Senate floor during votes on Tuesday, while he worked to stave off a call by conservatives to eliminate the renewable fuels standard.
Anyone hoping for an online sales tax bill out of the 114th Congress might as well be staring at a spinning circle on a computer screen.
In his inaugural speech as Senate majority leader, Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell said he could see “a glimmer of hope” in new economic data showing a 5 percent annual growth rate in the third quarter of last year. This uptick, he said, coincided with “the expectation of a new Republican Congress” just before the November election.
Republicans who are looking for numbers to bolster their case for conservative economic initiatives point most frequently to the rate at which Americans participate in the labor forces, which is partly responsible for the steep decline in the unemployment rate over the past three years.
The strong support voters showed in the midterm elections for increasing the minimum wage reinforced the idea of broad popular support for raising the wage floor and led Democrats to revive their calls for a higher federal minimum.
Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, a front-runner in the race for chairmanship of the Republican Study Committee in the next Congress, is vowing to guard the independence of the GOP's right wing from influential outside groups like Heritage Action.
A loose alliance of banks, state officials and business groups is pushing for a permanent extension of a low-income housing tax credit enacted during the financial crisis.
A housing recovery moving in fits and starts is fueling new efforts on Capitol Hill to protect tax incentives for home ownership and oppose any reductions in the tax breaks that might be part of a broad tax overhaul.
The House, which passed one permanent extension of an expired business tax break, will delay any action on other so-called extenders until at least June following the demise this week of the Senate’s two-year tax break patch.
A potential agreement on a long-stalled House GOP proposal to streamline federal job training programs is emerging as a possible linchpin for a deal on a five-month extension of expired unemployment benefits.
House Rules Chairman Pete Sessions of Texas and other senior Republicans are pushing proposals to tie the extension of emergency unemployment insurance to jobs measures and the extension of some tax breaks in an attempt to bring the plan to the House floor.
The bipartisan five-month unemployment insurance extension pending in the Senate appears to be driving a wedge between segments of the House Republican Conference.
Liberal Democrats are looking to beef up benefits for part-time workers who face hurdles in finding full-time gigs in a sluggish economy.
A tough partisan fight is developing over how best to meet the needs of part-time workers in light of the 30-hour workweek threshold for employer-mandated health care.
An army of nearly 400,000 workers made the steel industry a powerhouse in the 1980s. With a current workforce a third that size, the industry needs allies to widen its reach in Washington, D.C.
Offshoring became a mantra for corporate America in the past decade, as companies shifted production abroad to save on wages and overhead. Now, a halting recovery in manufacturing employment in the United States — fueled by low domestic energy costs and rising wages in emerging economies — has pushed the industry to the front of a new bipartisan drive to spur job creation before the 2014 elections.
The technology boom of the 1990s that created a wave of new businesses and jobs was built on innovation that lawmakers would dearly love to revive in today’s sputtering economy.
The National Federation of Independent Business and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce stand adamantly against a higher minimum wage, and even a package of tax incentives would make the plan a tough sell for many businesses.
As a top aide to President George W. Bush, Andrew Biggs argued for allowing workers to funnel payroll taxes into stocks instead of the Social Security trust fund backed by Treasury bonds. But Biggs has now emerged as a leader in prodding public pension funds to use a new gauge — based on Treasury bonds, not stocks — to evaluate unfunded liabilities.