Tag Archive: The Hill


Photo taken from Politico

Since former president George W. Bush passed tax cuts for the wealthy in 2001, Barack Obama vocally made it his sole mission to reverse the tax policy during his campaign and career as president since 2008.

Unexpectedly, the long battle over the financial policy has led Obama to strike a deal with the GOP that would let the Republicans extend their precious tax cuts for two more years in exchange for a 13-month extension of unemployment insurance benefits.

According to Ezra Klein from the Washington Post, Obama and the GOP came to an agreement that the GOP would get around $95 billion in tax cuts for wealthy Americans and $30 billion in estate tax cuts. Democrats got $120 billion in payroll-tax cuts, $40 billion in refundable tax credits (Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and education tax credits), $56 billion in unemployment insurance, and, depending on how you count it, about $180 billion (two-year cost) or $30 billion (10-year cost) in new tax incentives for businesses to invest.

Unfortunately, House Democrats have nothing but utter disdain and fury over the compromise and put out a flurry of complaints, saying Obama gave in too quickly to the GOP.

“I still don’t think it’s in the best interest of our country, I really don’t,” said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). “I just don’t think we fought hard enough. I disagree with the president. He had a press conference and called it a political fight. It’s not a political fight, it’s a fight about what our country is about.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) vowed on Tuesday night to filibuster what he called a “very bad agreement,” while Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) said: “I think a ransom was paid and it was a very high price,” according to a report from The Hill newspaper,

Meanwhile, Obama stood firm and hit back at his own party for wallowing in politics in a Tuesday press conference on  Dec. 7, 2010. Claiming the deal was all for the sake of the American people.

“My number one priority is to do what’s right for the American people, for jobs, and for economic growth. I’m focused on making sure that tens of millions of hardworking Americans are not seeing their paychecks shrink on January 1st just because the folks here in Washington are busy trying to score political points,” Obama said and also continued to stress the importance behind his decision.

“I’ll cite three of them. Number one, if you are a parent trying to raise your child or pay college tuition, you will continue to see tax breaks next year. Second, if you’re a small business looking to invest and grow, you’ll have a tax cut next year. Third, as a result of this agreement, we will cut payroll taxes in 2011, which will add about $1,000 to the take-home pay of a typical family,” Obama said. “So this isn’t an abstract debate. This is real money for real people that will make a real difference in the lives of the folks who sent us here. It will make a real difference in the pace of job creation and economic growth. In other words, it’s a good deal for the American people,”

I believe the President was very genuine with the reasons he gave for compromising with the GOP. Even 67 percent of Americans get why Obama did what he had to according to the Politico polls.

After a ridiculous amount of overspending on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan for over seven years, George W. Bush left the American economy in major financial crisis, leaving a heap of shit for Obama to clean up. The tax cuts have only been Bush’s retribution and have been welcome in the American economy given the devastation of the recession and unemployment. However, not everyone deserves these tax cuts especially these dishonest wealthy corporate businessmen who already cheat on their taxes. Middle income families that are struggling to get by- do.

I understand the frustration of the Democratic party with the extension of the tax cuts because  they were supposed to expire at the end of nine years. However, Obama is not to blame. The GOP went back on their word and made this their number one agenda. The Republicans opposed every measure Obama took to end the tax cuts so he did what could. I understand he campaigned to end the tax cuts for the rich since 2008 but he has until 2012 to deliver on his promise. Until then, Democrats should understand the compromise is better than nothing.

It’s that time of year again — deciding where to hold the holiday party. If you’re looking for fun, affordable places, here are a few of the highly recommended places in D.C. for a holiday gathering.

Starting at the heart of Capitol Hill is Lounge 201, which sits on Massachusetts Avenue, only a block away from Union Station. The restaurant is hip and modern, and its event rooms are perfect for chatting the entire evening with your co-workers.

Lounge 201 specializes in hosting private events or business networking occasions for the holidays. Patrons can also select specific drink and food specials to complement their event. The Lounge is already booked with several parties, beginning the week of Dec. 6th.

201 features three private rooms that are used for different purposes and come with their own unique atmosphere. The Executive Lounge is the perfect place to hold an event from a 30-person birthday to a large corporate event with 300 guests. The Sierra Lounge is an exclusive and secluded VIP room to sit and relax with your friends, while the front bar is a great place to have an informal happy hour.

“We have hosted numerous events at Lounge 201 and it has always been a positive and smooth process,” said Karen Channon, from business group Success Motivation International. “Matt, Angie and the staff do an outstanding job making each event unique.”

Another spot to check out is George, a premier venue for holiday parties and special events in the heart of Georgetown. Inside, this bar appropriately takes its inspirations from the Revolutionary War days, styled with polished brass bars, leather seating and historical photographs that add an air of sophistication to the room.

Note — George is a classy drinking spot that is seamlessly hidden in the courtyard behind Cafe Milano, so keep an eye out, because people tend to miss it.

319 Pennsylvania Ave. SE is the home of Top of the Hill, the upper-level bar of the Pour House. It remains a traditional lounge and venue for private parties and a great place for fabulous martinis, which come in many varieties. If that’s not your thing, they also provide a selection of wines and imported beers to choose from.

Controversy sparks like a roller-coaster falling off its track as U.S. President Barack Obama  made comments about religious freedom over the mosque in Ground Zero. He spoke his mind and as president, he did well to address the issue but now I feel his comments have given Republicans some ammunition to use against the Democrats in the upcoming elections.

With the unforgettable attacks of 9/11 by extremist muslim terrorists, emotions run high at the thoughts of a mosque being built at the same ruins where the nightmare took place.

You can bet the Republicans will make this an issue.However, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), the House’s only Muslim member, said Monday morning that he does not think Obama’s remarks during an Iftar dinner at the White House will hurt Democrats in November according to The Hill

“Absolutely not,” Ellison said. “The truth is that we’re a party of principle,” the second-term lawmaker added. “We believe in the idea of religious liberty.”

The Hill also reports that Republicans, however, are largely unified behind the message that while the group in New York City might have the right to build a mosque near Ground Zero in lower Manhattan, they still should not do it.
The following article is from Yahoo News:

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama’s endorsement of a controversial plan to build a mosque just blocks from Ground Zero poured fuel August 14, 2010 on a raging debate over religious freedom and sensitivities over the 9/11 attacks.

Muslims “have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country,” Obama said at an Iftar meal at the White House for Muslims breaking their Ramadan fast late Friday.

That includes “the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan.”

Obama had remained on the sidelines over plans to build an Islamic cultural center, which includes a mosque, two blocks away from the gaping Ground Zero hole where the Twin Towers were destroyed on September 11, 2001.

But after a New York city commission on August 3 unanimously approved the plans, the president came out to fully support the project.

“This is America,” Obama said, “and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are.”

Planners say the multi-story “Cordoba House” will include a mosque, sports facilities, theater, restaurant and possibly a day care, and would be open to all visitors to demonstrate that Muslims are part of their community.

In the remarks Obama acknowledged that the site where the World Trade Center towers once stood remains “hallowed ground,” and that the 9/11 attacks “were a deeply traumatic event for our country.”

The proposed location however has touched raw nerves.

On Saturday the group 9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America, which represents some relatives of attack victims, said it was “stunned” by the president’s remarks.

Obama “has abandoned America at the place where America’s heart was broken nine years ago, and where her true values were on display for all to see,” the group said.

“Now this president declares that the victims of 9/11 and their families must bear another burden. We must stand silent at the last place in America where 9/11 is still remembered with reverence or risk being called religious bigots.”

Building the mosque “is a deliberately provocative act that will precipitate more bloodshed in the name of Allah,” the group claimed.

Another group representing other relatives of 9/11 victims, the September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, said in May that it “strongly supports” the Islamic center.

A CNN/Opinion Research poll earlier this month showed that 68 percent of Americans opposed the Islamic center plans, while only 29 percent favored them.

Congressman Peter King, who represents New York in the US House of Representatives, said the Muslim community was “abusing” its rights and “needlessly offending” many people.

“It is insensitive and uncaring for the Muslim community to build a mosque in the shadow of ground zero,” said King, a Republican. “Unfortunately the president caved in to political correctness.”

Self-described “liberal Muslim” Farzana Hassan, a Canadian, told Fox News on Saturday that she believes the Islamic center’s location is “provocative.”

“This is highly insensitive to the sentiments of the people who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks,” said Hassan, who has written books on Islam.

Obama said the Al-Qaeda terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks do not represent Islam.

“It is a gross distortion of Islam,” the president said late Friday. “In fact, Al-Qaeda has killed more Muslims than people of any other religion — and that list of victims includes innocent Muslims who were killed on 9/11.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a US advocacy group, said it welcomed Obama’s “strong support for Muslim religious rights.”

Nihad Awad, a senior CAIR official, said he hoped his remarks “will serve as encouragement to those who are challenging the rising level of Islamophobia in our society.”

Awad also urged “other national political and religious leaders to speak out in defense of the freedom of religion and equality of all Americans.”

One of those reacting Saturday was New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“I applaud President Obama’s clarion defense of the freedom of religion,” Bloomberg said in a statement.

The proposed site “is as important a test of the separation of church and state as we may see in our lifetime,” he said.

Passions over the issue run high across the country.

A Florida church has already said it will hold a “Koran-burning” on September 11 — which this year coincides with Eid al-Fitr, the end-of-Ramadan holiday.