This Week In Washington - February 24, 2012



Congress was in recess this week, returning to session next week.

After the House and Senate agreed on legislation to extend the payroll tax cuts, President Obama quickly signed the measure into law last Friday. House Republican leaders announced this week that they will now shift away from efforts to pass a long-term transportation bill and, in a win for urban Democrats, to decouple transit funding from the Highway Trust Fund. Much of the U.S. business community supported Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) bill, but some House conservatives opposed it on spending grounds. The Senate currently is pursuing a two-year reauthorization bill and will resume consideration of that package next week.

On Wednesday, President Obama offered a broad framework for corporate tax reform. The proposal includes a lower corporate tax rate of 28 percent and a requirement that companies pay a minimum tax on foreign earnings, paid for by the elimination of several tax breaks, including some used by oil and gas companies. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told reporters on Wednesday that he would meet with Congressional tax writers as early as next week to discuss the proposal.

President Obama traveled to the 2012 presidential battleground state of Florida Thursday to deliver a speech at the University of Miami focused on energy policy. In the midst of rising gas prices, President Obama took the opportunity to address critics and discuss his Administration’s long-term plan for energy independence.....


Syrian Conflict. Late last Friday, the Senate adopted a resolution (S. Res. 379) condemning the Syrian regime for “brutal and unjustifiable use of force” against Syrian citizens. On Wednesday, American journalist Marie Colvin and French journalist Remi Ochlik were killed in Homs by what the State Department characterized as “ongoing intense shelling by the Syrian regime.” Thursday, the United Nations and the Arab League named former U.N. General Secretary Kofi Annan as a Special Envoy for Syria. Also Thursday, the U.N. International Commission of Inquiry on Syria compiled a list of top Syrian officials who could face investigation for crimes against humanity. On Friday, in Tunisia, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined the Friends of Syria meeting, which reportedly is focusing on a possible shortterm ceasefire to ensure humanitarian assistance access, a longer-term U.N./Arab League peacekeeping plan, and possible support for arming the Syrian opposition. The Secretary also met separately with Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Al-Jabali and President Moncef Marzouki....

Please see full newsletter below for more information.

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