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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Daily Democratic Wire 12-1-2009

George Wenschhof

Tonight, at 8:00 PM ET, President Barack Obama will lay out his Afghanistan policy -
the televised speech will be delivered at the West Point Academy. By now, most everyone already knows the decision was to send an additional 30,000 troops by May of next year. The goal continues to be the eradication of the Taliban and Al Qaeda in the country and to strengthen the ability of Afghan military to defend itself. The NY Times has more here.

The more difficult question will be how to pay for this troop increase. Republican leadership is already using this anticipated cost as a reason to delay the vote on health care reform. Look to see the President try to establish benchmarks to be reached and a clearly defined exit strategy.


House Democrats split on idea of stock transaction tax -
the proposed 0.25% tax would be applied to transactions involving stocks, futures, and derivatives. It is estimated the tax would raise 150 Billion per year. Initially, the thought was to use half the money to reduce the deficit and the other half for job creation. Look for much more debate on this idea. has more here.


Meanwhile, Senate debate on the health care bill begins -
no surprise it began with fierce opposition from Republicans who consistently referenced the over 2000 pages in the bill and a newly released Congressional Budget Office report which states some Americans would see an increase in costs in their insurance. has more here.


Over in Iraq, U.S. oil companies make inroads -
in June of this year, after 5 plus years of war, the first auction of oil fields were a disaster with few takers. Now, quietly last month, U.S. firms; Exxon Mobile and Occidental Petroleum signed agreements with Iraq. The coveted prize the firms wish to capture is the right to develop the rich oil fields in the Basra region in southern Iraq. The NY Times has more here.


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