Morning Brief: Congress Poised for Stimulus Debate

Morning Brief: Congress Poised for Stimulus Debate

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Lawmakers are set to negotiate extensions of the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits in an effort to keep the fragile economic recovery from a self-inflicted stall. The primary bone of contention in the debate has been over how to pay for the extensions, which will expire at the end of the month, without adding to the budget deficit (FT).

Debt and deficits. Read more from leading experts on the challenges in reducing U.S. debt.

Corporate Taxation and Regulation

'Extraterritoriality' New Fear for International Firms

Countries acting unilaterally to implement tough new financial reforms in response to the global financial crisis, such as the Volcker rule in the United States, threaten to push their rules on other nations with unintended consequences (Reuters). Domestic companies fear their international competitors may receive an unfair advantage from a lighter regulatory regime.

Corporate regulation and taxation. Read more from top economists and business experts on solutions for addressing corporate tax reform.

Education and Human Capital

Rising Numbers of Foreign Students Raise Challenges

Large public universities on the west coast are becoming a magnet for growing numbers of foreign students, especially from China (NYT). Nearly 18 percent of incoming freshman this year at the University of Washington, for instance, are foreign students and the full fees they pay are helping the schools balance their budgets at a time of declining state subsidies. The schools are facing questions, however, over whether foreign students may be displacing qualified in-state candidates.

Backlash against Standardized Testing

Some teachers and families in Texas are highly critical of No Child Left Behind and the law's overemphasis on standardize testing as the way to best hold schools accountable (Texas Tribune). Others in the education community support the assessment system and stress more time is needed to adjust to tougher state exams.

Education and human capital. Read more from experts discussing ways to improve U.S. education and immigration policies.


Does Manufacturing Deserve Special Treatment?

The Obama administration is promising tax breaks and other assistance for manufacturing companies in its forthcoming budget proposal to Congress. But Christina Romer the former chair of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, argues that the case has not been made that manufacturing industries deserve special treatment (NYT).


Funding Fears over GOP Infrastructure Bill

A contentious Republican infrastructure bill is progressing rapidly through Congress, winning an endorsement from the House Transportation Committee on Friday. The bill, which would dramatically alter the way public transport is funded, has urban leaders worried and lowered public expectations of passing transportation legislation this year (Reuters).

Infrastructure. Read more on how upgrading the nation's aging network of roads, bridges, airports, railways, and water systems is essential to maintaining U.S. competitiveness.

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