Republicans Fight to Keep Bush-Era Tax Breaks
Not long after House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio) suggested he would grudgingly support plans to extend Bush-era tax breaks only to individuals who earned less than $250,000 a year, his Senate counterpart called for a fight to the death to preserve tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans. “We can’t allow America’s job creators to pay for Democrats’ out-of-control spending,” said Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader. The New York Times reported that Democrats appear unlikely to force through a vote on the issue before the November elections.
Primaries Held in Seven States and DC, Tea Party Gains Expected
Primary season wraps up Tuesday with Democratic and Republican voters in seven states as well as the District of Columbia naming their legislative choice. The incumbents are expected to face a strong challenge, particularly Rep. Charles Rangel of New York and DC’s Mayor Adrian Fenty, reported Democracy Now!. So far, seven incumbent members of Congress have been defeated in the primaries.
Several of the Republican Party’s mainstream players are facing close-run primary races against Tea Party candidates on the ballot, reported The Wall Street Journal. Insurgents are on the ballot in Delaware, New York, New Hampshire and Wisconsin, with Delaware’s Senate primary expected to be a nail-biter. According to latest polls, Tea Party backed Christine O’Donnell is tied with GOP Rep. Mike Castle.
Iran Frees One Hiker, but US Won’t Pay Bail
Sarah Shourd, one of three Americans held imprisoned in Iran for more than a year, has been released by Iranian authorities, her attorney confirmed. Shourd’s release has been at the center of a squabble between the Iranian government and judiciary, and though she is allowed to leave Iran, she must return for future court proceedings, reported The Washington Post. Shourd and three other hikers were captured in July 2009 hiking along the Iraq-Iran border and charged with illegal entry and spying.
The Obama administration has announced it won’t pay the $500,000 bail to secure the release of Shourd, reported Democracy Now!, citing US policy not to fund prisoner bail.
US Agrees to Record $60 Billion Weapons Deal With Saudi Arabia
The Obama administration has finalized a $60 billion deal to provide Saudi Arabia with advanced military aircraft, making it the largest-ever single arms deal in US history. The White House has yet to submit the deal for Congressional approval, but according to State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley, “the core of our policy is making sure that there is stability in the region,” reported Democracy Now!.
Cross-Border Firefight Sparked by Drug Bust; Mexico Massacre Investigator Believed to Be Dead
A firefight across the Rio Grande between gunmen on the Mexican side of the border and Border patrol agents carrying a 1,000-pound marijuana bust near Mission, Texas, this weekend has come as the latest escalation in border violence. The incident was the second time in three months that US agents have fired into Mexico, reported CNN.
Mexican authorities identified the bodies of two law enforcement officials who were involved in an investigation of the massacre of 72 migrants last month, reported The New York Times, underscoring the tight grip of criminal organizations on the region. The officials had been missing for more than two weeks, since they made an initial report on the massacre in late August.
Chief of Staff Position May Be Opening Up
Since Chicago’s Mayor Richard Daley announced he will not be seeking a seventh term in office, Rahm Emanuel’s name has been thrown into the mayoral ring. If Emanuel chooses to run, Obama will need to pick a new chief of staff. The Hill pegged four names that have surfaced as possible replacements: Ron Klain, Joe Biden’s chief of staff; Clinton aides Leon Panetta, Erskine Bowles, Tony Podesta; former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle; and Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett.