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Friday, March 29, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof 

Obama To Give Speech on Infrastucture Investment in Miami Today - President Barack Obama will press Congress to pass new tax incentives and other flexibility measures aimed at attracting more private sector investment in infrastructure projects around the country, a senior administration official said.
The president will flesh out the details of his proposals during a speech Friday at a Miami port that is undergoing $2 billion in upgrades, funded by public and private money. In his quick trip to South Florida, Obama will try to show the public that the economy remains his top priority in the midst of high-profile campaigns on immigration reform and gun control.
Among the proposals Obama will call for Friday:

— Higher caps on “private activity bonds” to encourage the private sector to spend more on highway projects and other infrastructure needs. State and local governments use the bonds to attract investment.

— Giving foreign pension funds tax-exempt status when selling U.S. infrastructure, property or real estate assets. U.S. pension funds are generally tax exempt under such circumstances. The administration says some international pension funds cite the tax burden as a reason for not investing in American infrastructure.

— $4 billion in new spending on two infrastructure programs that award loans and grants.

— A renewed call for a $10 billion national “infrastructure bank” — a proposal from his first term that gained little traction.  You can read more here.


Obama Uses Executive Power to Move Gun Violence Legislation Forward - The president has used his executive powers to bolster the national background check system, jumpstart government research on the causes of gun violence and create a million-dollar ad campaign aimed at safe gun ownership.

The executive steps will give federal law enforcement officials access to more data about guns and their owners, help keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill, and lay the groundwork for future legislative efforts. has more here.


North Korea Readies Rockets Aimed at U.S. - North Korea put its missile units on standby on Friday to attack U.S. military bases in South Korea and the Pacific, after the United States flew two nuclear-capable stealth bombers over the Korean peninsula in a rare show of force.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un signed off on the order at a midnight meeting of top generals and "judged the time has come to settle accounts with the U.S. imperialists in view of the prevailing situation", the official KCNA news agency said. has more here.


Republican Representative Don Young Calls Immigrants "Wetbacks" - A Republican congressman from Alaska on Thursday used a slur referring to immigrants, particularly Mexicans, in an interview with a public radio station in his home state.

Amid a hot-button debate in Washington over how to overhaul the nation's immigration laws, Rep. Don Young, a 21-term lawmaker, referred to immigrant workers as "wetbacks" — a term that could threaten to inflame the debate about immigration reform.

"My father had a ranch; we used to have 50-60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes," Young said in an interview with radio station KRBD. He was discussing the number of jobs that have been made irrelevant due to advances in automation. The interview was first surfaced by Buzzfeed.  NBC News has more here.


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