Obama embraces tax cuts of up to $300 billion
President-elect Barack Obama plunged into rare pre-inaugural crisis talks with congressional leaders yesterday, declaring the national economy was "bad and getting worse" and embracing tax cuts now expected to reach $300 billion. He predicted lawmakers would approve a mammoth revitalization package within two weeks of his taking office. If the two-year plan is enacted, workers would see larger paychecks almost immediately because taxes withheld by the government would drop. The break would be retroactive to Jan. 1, and couples receiving a $1,000 tax cut would begin receiving an extra $40 in twice-monthly paychecks as the government tries to spark more consumer spending. "The economy is very sick," said Obama, who met privately with leaders of both parties at the Capitol. "The situation is getting worse. ... We have to act and act now to break the momentum of this recession."
Franken winner in Senate race
Former comedian Al Franken was declared the winner of Minnesota's long-disputed Senate race yesterday, but legal challenges could leave the seat under a cloud. Meeting hours after the Minnesota Supreme Court rejected Republican incumbent Norm Coleman's bid to recount an additional 654 rejected absentee ballots, the state canvassing board declared Franken the winner by 225 votes. The victory would give Democrats control of 59 seats in the Senate, one short of the number required to prevent filibusters.
Los Angeles Times
Mid-Atlantic ball at D.C. Convention Center
Marylanders will be partying with inaugural celebrants from New York, the District of Columbia, Virginia, New Jersey and West Virginia at the Mid-Atlantic inaugural ball on the night of Jan. 20, the Presidential Inaugural Committee will announce today.
The Mid-Atlantic ball, to be held at the D.C. Convention Center, will be one of six regional balls on the night of Barack Obama's inauguration. A total of 10 official balls are being held.
Tickets to the Mid-Atlantic ball will be $150 and will be available for purchase by invited guests only, with details to be announced soon by Obama's inaugural committee. Other official balls include the Eastern, Midwest, Southern and Western regional balls, plus the Commander-in-Chief's ball.
The president and vice president are scheduled to make appearances at all of the official balls.