WASHINGTON — Congress was set to hand President Obama a victory on his signature economic stimulus plan Friday night.
The Senate was poised to pass the legislation by the filibuster-proof, 60-vote threshold, as it awaited Sen. Sherrod Brown (D. Ohio) to return later in the evening to cast the decisive tally. Brown was flying back from his home state after attending his mother’s funeral.
The House passed the $787.2 billion stimulus package by a vote of 246 to 183 earlier in the day without a single Republican vote.
A cornerstone of Obama’s agenda, the measure is the byproduct of contentious negotiations between a group of three moderate Republicans in the Senate, Democratic leaders in both chambers and the White House. Congressional passage of the economic package comes at a time of massive layoffs, including thousands of job cuts at Saks Inc., Target Corp., Macy’s Inc., Liz Claiborne Inc. and The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., to name just a few of the companies that have suffered from the recession and the nosedive in consumer spending.
Obama has pledged the stimulus plan will create 3.5 million jobs by pumping funds into new programs to repair the nation’s aging roads, bridges and highways, as well as alternative energy programs.
“The goal at the heart of this plan is to create jobs,” Obama told members of the Business Council earlier Friday. “Not just any jobs, but jobs doing the work America needs done: repairing our infrastructure, modernizing our schools and hospitals and promoting the clean alternative energy sources that will help us finally declare independence from foreign oil.”
Business tax breaks in the final bill included: extending a 50 percent bonus depreciation for two years, an extension of small business expensing and expansion of the work opportunity tax credit for unemployed and troubled youth and recently discharged veterans.
A key business tax break allowing businesses an extension of net operating losses to five years from the current two years was changed in the final bill. It now only provides the tax incentive to small companies with gross receipts of $15 million or less, which upset some retail groups.
Obama’s top priority — tax cuts for the lower and middle class — were also trimmed. Tax breaks were cut from $500 per individual to $400 per individual and from $1,000 per family to $800 per family in the final bill.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast