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Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Early Word: Taxing


In Today's Times:

Seizing on the results of a nonpartisan policy study, President Obama criticized his Republican rival Mitt Romney on Wednesday for offering a tax plan that would return to top-down policies that benefit the wealthy at the expense of the poor and the middle class. Jackie Calmes writes that Mr. Obama was referring to a joint study by the Tax Policy Center of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, whose analysis concluded that a tax plan like the one Mr. Romney has offered would not offer relief to the vast majority of Americans.

The House voted on Wednesday to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for all incomes, pitting the Republican plan against a Senate-passed Democratic plan that would allow rates to rise on earnings over $250,000. Jonathan Weisman writes that the maneuvering gives both parties some political cover for the economic calamity expected in January, when the cuts are expecte d to expire, an event that will coincide with deep automatic spending cuts if lawmakers do not reach an agreement.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta issued a strong warning to Iran over its nuclear program on Wednesday in Israel. Elisabeth Bumiller and Jodi Rudoren write that tough talk from Israel in recent days has raised concerns within the Obama administration that Israel might be planning to launch a military strike against Iran as early as this fall.

Scott Shane reports that the F.B.I.'s sweeping criminal investigation of intelligence disclosures has crippled news media coverage of national security issues as the Senate considers legislation intended to curb officials' interactions with reporters. In the battle over government secrets, Republicans including Mr. Romney have seized on the leak issue to criticize Mr. Obama's security record.

Rebecca Berg profiles Representative Frank D. Lucas of Oklahoma, the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, who finds himself in the spotlight as House Republicans try to resolve an intraparty dispute over the farm bill.

Around the Web:
Senator Scott P. Brown of Massachusetts is now a colonel in the National Guard, The Sun Chronicle reported. Mr. Brown, who has been in the guard for 32 years and had previously been a lieutenant colonel, said he did not know if he would ever become a general.

Happening in Washington:
Economic data expected Thursday include weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m., followed by the Chamber of Commerce's quarterly economic briefing at 9. June factory orders and weekly mortgage rates are expected at 10.

The House will convene at 9 a.m and lawmakers are expected to consider a disaster assistance bill.

At 10 a.m., the Senate Finance Committee will meet to mark up a package of expired or expiring tax breaks.

At 3 p.m., the oversight subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee will examine how corruption affects the development of Afghanistan's security forces.