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Posts from the "Nancy Pelosi" Category

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Pelosi: Gas Tax Hike Doesn’t Have Majority Support in Congress

After touring the Detroit Auto Show yesterday with fellow lawmakers, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) took one question yesterday: Why are Democrats not pursuing a federal gas tax hike, given its potential to cut carbon emissions and its support from auto industry players aiming to stoke demand for efficient cars?

large_080325_nancy_pelosi_quell_infighting.JPGHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (Photo: mlive.com)
Pelosi's answer was a lengthy one, but here's how she began:
Well, there certainly has been advocacy for such a position. It does not, certainly, have a majority in the Congress of the United States at this time. So we want to approach this in a way that is comprehensive, that certainly keeps in mind of concerns of the consumer, the concerns of the industry, and of the environment.  This is not to say one idea is better than another — it’s just to say that at the present time, there are other initiatives that we have.

Pelosi added that she had met earlier in the day with Debbie Stabenow, one of Michigan's two Democratic senators, to discuss the climate bill pending in the upper chamber of Congress. Stabenow is a vigilant protector of her state's auto industry and last year signaled that she ultimately would have voted no on cap-and-trade legislation.

"[W]e’re hopeful that some of the initiatives that are in that [climate] legislation — when it passes and is signed into law — will address some of the same concerns that a gas tax would," Pelosi said.

But for now, her answer should be considered equally relevant to the stalemate over the next long-term transportation bill. Without congressional willingness to pay for the legislation, through a gas tax increase or similar new charge, it's unlikely to come up until next year.

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Pelosi: Passing a Wall Street Transport Tax Would Require Overseas Buy-in

Any proposal to fund new U.S. infrastructure investment by taxing financial transactions -- such as Rep. Pete DeFazio's (D-OR) bill taxing Wall Street oil speculators -- would require international participation to prevent the trades in question from migrating overseas, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said today.

nancy_pelosi.jpgHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Photo: MoniqueMonicat)

As House Democrats weigh their options for a new job-creation plan, slated for a vote before year's end, infrastructure spending is attracting new support from party leaders. But the question of how much to spend, and whether a new six-year transportation measure could be presented as a jobs bill, is tied up in ongoing uncertainty over where the necessary funding would come from.

DeFazio's recommendation to impose a small per-trade tax on the Wall Street oil futures market has picked up endorsements from progressive economists and writers as well as 29 of his fellow Democrats. Pelosi, however, was cautious in addressing its prospects today during her weekly press briefing.

"One of the concerns that some of us have about it," the Speaker said, "is what it [might do] to us in terms of transactions going offshore."

Emphasizing that the idea "is just something that is on the table," Pelosi added that passing a tax proposal such as DeFazio's would require consultation with and buy-in from other nations: "It would have to be an international rule, not just a U.S. rule."

Barney Frank (D-MA), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, is among those who have expressed concerns that a Wall Street transaction tax, unless properly structured, would drive financial activity onto foreign commodity exchanges, thus generating lower-than-expected revenues.

Imposing a transaction tax "country by country ... would be a problem," Frank told the Wall Street Journal last month.

Pelosi's response today does not signal a decline in House-side momentum for DeFazio's proposal; she noted that financial regulators in the United Kingdom and elsewhere have spoken favorably of transaction taxes (also known as "Tobin" taxes).

But even if House Democrats ultimately embrace the idea as a revenue-raiser for their jobs bill, the proposed tax is guaranteed to face an uphill battle in the Senate -- where Wall Street has no shortage of powerful allies.

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Did Pelosi Just Side With Oberstar on the Transpo Bill?

That's the implication of a Roll Call story today that states: "Momentum Builds for Transportation Bill."

nancy_pelosi.jpgHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (Photo: moniquemonicat.wordpress.com)
Here's how the exchange in question played out at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-CA) weekly briefing. Pelosi was asked for her position on a possible second stimulus bill, and she replied:

I am committed to the first stimulus. I don't think it has been given all the time to work. ... The question is always open as to what the Administration may recommend to us, but right now, I believe that we have much more to gain from seeing through the first stimulus. 

I am a proponent for bringing up a full transportation bill, which is a great jobs bill.  At some point, we may have to do something on the extension of unemployment benefits. But in terms of the investments that were made in the first package, I want to play that out.

We have to be very careful about the spending on this. ... [R]ight now I think that we have big issues with health care and how we fund that, and if we do go someplace, I'd like to see us do the transportation bill.

So is Pelosi backing her transportation committee chairman, Jim Oberstar (D-MN), whose push to pass a transportation bill this year has faced opposition from the Senate and the Obama administration?

A House Democratic leadership aide told Streetsblog Capitol Hill that no decisions on a timeframe for the transportation bill have been made, but discussions are ongoing and all parties agree that a short-term problem exists.

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Is Transit a Priority for Nancy Pelosi?

480962177_c6fd7c8917.jpgPelosi helps cut the ribbon at the grand opening of Muni's T-line. Photo: kitetoa/Flickr
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco claims she is committed to public transit and reducing motor vehicle congestion. In a speech to the Regional Plan Association (RPA) last April she said her flagship issues as speaker are energy independence and reducing global warming.

"Our infrastructure choices will help determine whether people can choose alternatives to driving their cars," Pelosi told the RPA convention. "In Congress, we are leading by example with a ‘Green the Capitol’ initiative that will make our complex a model of green infrastructure and environmental stewardship."

If that's the case, why didn't Pelosi fight for public transit in the stimulus bill passed in the House yesterday, instead of a meager $9 billion that only rose to the original $12 billion because of an amendment by Rep. Jerry Nadler? Why is transportation spending so highway heavy at $30 billion? 

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House Nixes Funding for Transit Service. Where Is Schumer?

schumer_affordable.jpgChuck, what about keeping transit affordable?
Last night's news about the denial of Rep. DeFazio's amendment to fund transit operations left us wondering whether parliamentary issues were really the deciding factor. In general, it appears, the Democratic leadership is coming down hard against any add-ons to the recovery package. "There's a desire to keep the bill at the size it is currently," said one House staffer involved in the negotiations who wished to remain anonymous. "Pelosi's office and the Appropriations Committee are resistant to amendments that increase the size of the bill."

Now it's up to the Senate to get this provision into the stimulus bill. Bus and subway riders all over the country need Chuck Schumer and rookie Kirsten Gillibrand to earn their keep on this one. New York's Senate delegation has to come out strong for transit operations if American cities are going to stave off a wave of fare hikes and service cuts.

And wouldn't it be nice to see MTA chief Lee Sander ride the train down to Washington and make the case for transit operations? This seems like a golden opportunity for the MTA CEO to campaign on behalf of straphangers and save the fare.

Meanwhile, as Sarah mentioned last night, the focus in the House now shifts to Jerrold Nadler's proposal to add $3 billion for transit capital investments. The people to call today are Nancy Pelosi (202-225-0100) and Appropriations Chair David Obey (202-225-3365). The Speaker, especially, should be trying as hard as she can to make more room for transit investment if she wants to do right by her San Francisco district.

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Pelosi, Reid and Emanuel Push for Carmaker Bailout

2560777189_1cfcb929ba.jpgCadillac assembly line replica at the Detroit Historical Museum
Over the weekend, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate urged the Bush administration to extend financial aid intended for Wall Street to struggling domestic carmakers, a move that could have the support of President-elect Obama.

The Times reports that on Saturday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid co-signed a letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson asking that part of the $700 billion bailout package be directed toward Detroit. "A healthy automobile manufacturing sector is essential to the restoration of financial market stability, the overall health of our economy and the livelihood of the automobile sector’s workforce," they wrote.

The letter was issued following a Thursday meeting between Congressional leaders and representatives of Ford, Chrysler and General Motors, as Big Three sales continue to plunge. On Friday, GM announced that it could begin running out of cash in 2009.

Rahm Emanuel, incoming White House chief of staff, hinted on Sunday that his boss could be amenable to the Pelosi-Reid proposal. Again, the Times

When asked on ABC’s "This Week" where Mr. Obama stood on the issue, Mr. Emanuel seemed to suggest that Mr. Obama, as a last resort, might be open to tapping the rescue fund to help carmakers, calling the auto industry an "essential part of our industrial base."

He added that Mr. Obama has asked his economic team to look at ways to involve the industry in shaping an energy policy that weans the country off foreign oil, seeking ways to use the $25 billion in loans that Congress passed in September to help make auto plants more capable of producing fuel-efficient cars.

The Bush White House, for its part, has indicated it would not support using bailout funds for the Big Three.

Photo: MarkinDetroit/Flickr