Congress continues debate over tax cuts

WASHINGTON

Republicans conceded yesterday they would not resolve their
dispute over limiting future tax cuts until after Congress’
spring recess, abandoning hopes of finishing a $2.4 trillion budget
this week. Lawmakers return to work later this month.

“We’re on ice,” said House Budget Committee
Chairman Jim Nussle, (R-Iowa.) A leading potential compromise would
restrict tax cuts but exempt some expected to be enacted this year,
said several participants speaking on condition of anonymity. It
also seemed likely that constraints would last for less than the
five years the Senate has approved. Details of both issues remained
unresolved.

Should a bargain along those lines be struck, it would mark a
retreat by the White House and by GOP leaders who run the House and
Senate. They have insisted against constraining tax reductions,
which are the leading element of President Bush’s strategy
for strengthening the economy.

“Philosophically we’re opposed to limiting tax
cuts,” with the restrictions the Senate approved last month,
House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) said in a brief interview.
“But we’re going to have to do the art of the possible,
what’s possible with the Senate.”

 

List names nations with unfair trade policies

WASHINGTON

The Bush administration cited 55 countries yesterday, from
Angola to Vietnam, in its annual review of nations that have the
worst trade barriers faced by U.S. exporters.

The report, which also named three trading groups, is intended
to guide the administration negotiating strategy in the coming year
in attacking barriers that are causing the greatest harm to U.S.
companies.

If direct talks with a country do not produce results, then the
administration can bring a case against the country before
international regulators with the World Trade Organization.

A group of House Democrats yesterday sent a letter to President
Bush, urging the administration to begin negotiations with five key
trading partners — China, the European Union, Japan, South
Korea and India — over such issues such as Japanese and South
Korean barriers to American cars and auto parts and European
subsidies to airplane-maker Airbus.

The Democrats complained that the Bush administration has failed
to aggressively pursue unfair trade cases with other countries.

 

Dems working hard to raise new money

WASHINGTON

The Democratic Party finds itself in its most confident and
comfortable financial position in years, though it still trails
Republicans in almost every fund-raising category. The
Democrats’ efforts to whittle away at the GOP’s
spending advantage has been aided by presidential nominee-to-be
John Kerry’s decision to skip public financing and its
spending limits, anti-Bush sentiment over the Iraq war, elimination
of the party’s debt, the formation of outside Democratic
fund-raising groups and Howard Dean’s Internet fund-raising
explosion.

“Everywhere I go I’ll talk to people and they really
feel we have a chance,” said Tony Coelho, a Democratic
strategist and Al Gore’s campaign chairman in 2000.
“They’re going to have $200 million or more. But I
think as long as we’re around $100 million we’ll be
competitive, we’ll get our message out.”

 

Fifty terror suspects arrested in Europe

ANKARA, Turkey

A sweep against a militant Turkish group netted more than 50
suspects in three European countries yesterday in what experts said
could be the fruit of increased security cooperation before the
Athens Olympics.

The suspects were picked up in Turkey, Italy and Belgium after
security forces there and in Germany and the Netherlands launched
raids against houses used by the Revolutionary People’s
Liberation Party-Front, or DHKP-C, a Marxist group that calls for
the overthrow of the Turkish government.

Turkey has been pressing Europe to crack down on the DHKP-C and
other groups, and the Europeans want Turkey to seal its porous
borders so that Islamic militants do not sneak into their
countries.

 

Uzbekistan attacks blamed on al-Qaida

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan

A woman detonated a bomb yesterday in central Uzbekistan,
killing one person and critically injuring herself, and the
government for the first time said al-Qaida was behind this
week’s attacks that left at least 44 dead, mostly alleged
militants.

Ilya Pyagay, the Interior Ministry’s deputy anti-terrorism
chief, told The Associated Press that those behind the unrest,
including some fugitives, were followers of the strict Wahhabi
strain of Islam believed to have inspired Osama bin Laden.

“These are Wahhabis who belong to one of the branches of
the international al-Qaida terror group,” he said.

 

— Compiled from Daily wire reports

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