Democrats said the $2.9 trillion plan for next year would point the way to a surplus after years of red ink under Bush and a GOP-controlled Congress. Republicans countered that a $153 billion surplus in 2012 would appear only if tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003 expire in four years – amounting to what they said would be the largest tax increase in American history. The measure reflects a choice by Democrats to increase spending on domestic programs funded each year by appropriations bills – including education, health research, environmental protection and grants to local governments – while forestalling binding decisions on what to do when tax cuts expire. As a practical matter, the future of the Bush tax cuts will likely be decided after the 2008 presidential election, with their fate depending on the balance of power and on the fiscal outlook at that time. Republicans said increased spending now would put renewal of the tax cuts at a disadvantage when they are considered. Republicans had hoped for permanent tax cuts when originally fashioning them in 2001, but an obscure Senate rule prevented that. They never held subsequent votes to make all of them permanent, despite Bush’s annual calls to do so. The 2001 and 2003 tax-cut laws lowered rates on income, investments and large estates, and they included tax breaks for married couples and people with children. WASHINGTON – House Democrats pushed their budget blueprint to passage Thursday, promising a big surplus in five years by allowing tax cuts passed in President George W. Bush’s first term to expire. The 216-210 vote sets up negotiations with the Senate, which last week passed a budget blueprint similar to the House plan on spending increases. But the Senate plan would not generate surpluses since it assumes lawmakers will renew the most popular of the tax cuts that are due to expire at the end of 2010. The House plan would award spending increases next year to both the Pentagon and domestic programs, but it defers difficult decisions about unsustainable growth in federal benefit programs such as Medicare. Twelve Democrats, mostly from GOP-leaning states such as Indiana, opposed the budget plan. Congress’ annual debate on the budget is guided by an arcane process in which a nonbinding budget resolution sets the stage for subsequent bills affecting taxes and benefit programs such as Medicare, as well as the annual appropriations bills. In most years, Congress defers difficult budget issues and simply focuses on the 12 annual bills funding the budgets of Cabinet agencies such as Defense, Education and Agriculture. This year is likely to be such a stand-pat year. The House plan would award domestic agencies, on average, budget increases of 6 percent over current levels, far less than the increases that Bush recommended. Increases under the companion Senate measure are about 4 percent.
A London-based Indian-origin woman faces extradition to India for her involvement in the murder of a 12-year-old orphan from Gujarat.Arti Dhir had been arrested last year after an Interpol alert over the murder of the 12-year-old boy in February 2017.The 52-year-old appeared before Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London today for a hearing on her bail application, which remains pending as her family members put together nearly 50,000 pounds as security.“This should be sorted out in a week,” Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot told Dhir, who remains in custody until the security is deposited with the court.Read it at NDTV Related Items