WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Democratic leaders on Wednesday unveiled the top 10 bills on their legislative agenda, with a huge economic recovery package as the centerpiece.
In addition to the economic recovery plan, which aides to President-elect Barack Obama have said could cost an estimated $775 billion, the Senate Democrats’ high priorities include measures to address pay discrimination, border and immigration issues, new protection for homeowners, tax reform, alternative energy initiatives and comprehensive health care reform.
Reid released few details about the bills, but said help for the middle class would be a central part of the Democrats’ plans.
“We have to talk about the economy and let the American people know that we know how serious it is,” Reid said. “We’re in a very, very deep rut.”
He said the public has watched job losses increase from thousands a month to hundreds of thousands a month.
“We have to have a way to recover,” Reid said. “We are going to do everything we can to create jobs and put the middle class first.”
To that end, Democratic leaders have been meeting with Obama and his economic team to craft the stimulus and recovery package with the aim of creating 3 million jobs, providing tax relief to the middle class and repairing the nation’s aging roads, bridges and highways.
Obama, who is set to deliver a major policy speech on the economy today, and Democratic leaders are considering $300 billion in tax cuts for workers and businesses over two years, representing about 40 percent of the overall package.
The plan is to include a $500 tax credit for individuals and $1,000 for families. Those breaks will come in the form of lower withholding taxes in paychecks that will give people more in their take-home pay. The Bush administration opted to stimulate the economy this summer through rebate checks, but that concept does not appear to have traction in the new proposal.
Business might get an estimated $100 billion in tax incentives across two years, including an extension of small business expensing to allow companies to deduct as much as $250,000 through the end of next year, enacting a new jobs tax credit for employers who retain or hire more employees, extending net operating losses to five years to allow businesses to more easily borrow funds and extending a 50 percent bonus depreciation for two years.
Reid said another bill at the top of the Senate’s agenda is the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which would make it easier to combat pay discrimination. Ledbetter is a former Goodyear Tire & Co. employee whose Supreme Court case involving pay bias led Congress to craft legislation last year.
The bill, which passed the House but stalled in the Senate under GOP pressure, aimed to reverse the Supreme Court decision and allow employees to sue as long as they filed a lawsuit within 180 days of any paycheck. In the Ledbetter case, the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 that alleged victims of wage discrimination must file a complaint within 180 days of their first paycheck or lose the right to sue, upholding a federal statute of limitations under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The House is expected to vote on the Ledbetter bill this week.
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye