WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama conferred with congressional leaders Monday on his economic stimulus package amid the fallout from New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson’s withdrawal for consideration as commerce secretary.
Obama met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and other key Democratic and Republican lawmakers to make the case for a recovery plan that could cost an estimated $775 billion over two years.
“We think it is very important to have a balanced recovery and reinvestment package,” Obama said. “Part of it is going to be addressing consumers and making sure they have money in their pockets. Part of it is to provide incentives to businesses so they start investing in equipment that ultimately leads to jobs. Part of it is going to be investment in the kind of job-creating, growth industries…whether it’s health, IT or energy, that assure economic competitiveness over the long term.”
Obama’s transition team has begun to release details of proposals intended to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure and create three million new jobs. He is considering $300 billion in tax cuts for workers and businesses over two years, representing about 40 percent of the overall package, a transition aide said.
The plan will include a $500 tax credit for individuals and $1,000 for families. Instead of giving people more money through rebate checks to jump-start the economy, which the Bush administration opted for in a smaller package enacted in the summer, Obama would withhold less from workers’ paychecks. Businesses might get an estimated $100 billion in tax incentives over the next two years.
Democratic leaders said Sunday they probably won’t complete the legislative process for the stimulus package by Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, which was initially a target date for the bill’s passage. They hope to get it through the House and Senate soon after Obama is sworn in as the 44th president.
In addition to his session with lawmakers, Obama convened a meeting of top economic advisers at his transition office here. Timothy Geithner, treasury secretary-designate; Peter Orszag, director-designate of the Office of Management and Budget, and Lawrence Summers, director-designate of the National Economic Council, were among those set to attend.
Notably absent from the group was Richardson, who said Sunday he was withdrawing from the new administration because of a federal investigation into whether his office urged a state agency to award a government contract to a California firm that had donated money to Richardson’s political action committees. Richardson has denied wrongdoing.
Industry lobbyists said Richardson’s decision spared Obama a lengthy and contentious Senate confirmation process, but it left a gap in a key position as the incoming president grapples with the recession.
“Richardson did the right thing to not slow down the nomination for the Commerce Department,” said Julia Hughes, senior vice president of international trade for the U.S. Association of Importers of Textiles & Apparel. “Particularly in these economic times, who is secretary of commerce is going to be a very important element in the economic recovery package.”
Auggie Tantillo, executive director of the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition, said Richardson’s withdrawal will delay the appointment of the deputy assistant secretary for textiles and apparel, who chairs the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements, an interagency group responsible for factors that impact textile trade policy and for overseeing the implementation of textile trade agreements.
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews