2 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Senate OKs $136B corporate tax cut NEWS IN BRIEF
Bill sent to President Bush also contains disaster relief aid '
-11 A f h i
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate shipped Presi-
dent Bush a wide-ranging $136 billion corporate tax-
cut bill and a disaster aid package yesterday, letting
lawmakers head home for the finale of the presidential
and congressional campaigns.
Florida, a vote-rich prize that both parties covet,
will be chief beneficiary of the $14.5 billion disaster
measure as the state rebuilds from a battering by four
recent hurricanes. Included is $2.9 billion for farmers
The Senate was finishing its pre-election business
in a testy mood, with the usual campaign-season parti-
san feelings heightened by clashes over items dropped
from the compromise House-Senate tax measure.
Those battles, along with Republican divisions over
how to pay for the farm disaster package, forced Con-
gress to meet over the weekend and on the Columbus
Day holiday. The House finished its work Saturday.
The Senate toiled into yesterday as Democrats
beset by drought, floods or other
emergencies, with some money
headed to other electoral battle-
ground states like Ohio and Wis-
The tax bill, which the Senate
approved 69 to 17, began as an
effort to help U.S. exporters avoid
European tariffs. But as Republi-
can leaders hunted for votes, it
swelled into the most profound
rewrite of the corporate tax code
in two decades.
The final 633-page product
pared taxes for interests ranging
from major manufacturers to native
leaders hunted for
votes, the bill swelled
into the most
profound rewrite of
the corporate tax
code in two decades.
used delaying tactics to protest
the removal of items from the
original Senate version. These
included provisions allowing
federal regulation of tobacco,
blocking Bush administration
rules on overtime pay, and cut-
ting taxes for companies that
pay workers who are reservists
and are called to active duty.
"The conferees chose ceil-
ing fans over businesses saving
jobs of our National Guard and
reservists," said Sen. Christo-
pher Dodd (D-Conn).
Senate approved separate bills on
and reservists' pay. House passage
turing firms would benefit.
But opponents said the main beneficiaries would be
well-connected special interests.
"What was supposed to be a quick and minor fix of
the tax code blossomed into this huge giveaway of tax
benefits," said Sen. Richard Durbin (D-1ll.).
Grassley responded earlier in the debate to critics
who said the measure had provisions for specific inter-
ests, saying, "Well, that's true. But that's how the Sen-
Work on the tax bill began two years ago as a drive to
repeal a $5 billion-a-year subsidy for U.S. exporters that
the World Trade Organization ruled illegal. About 1,600
American exports to Europe were slapped with penalty
tariffs rising 1 percent monthly to 12 percent now.
The legislation repealed that subsidy, which was
to cost $49.2 billion over 10 years. Its other savings
included nearly $82 billion from closing tax loopholes
and corporate shelters.
In their place, taxes were cut for U.S. manufacturers by
$76.5 billion. The top corporate tax rate was cut by 3 per-
cent - to 32 percent - and qualifying businesses were
expanded to include engineering and architectural firms,
film and music companies, and the oil and gas industry.
Tax breaks for multinational companies totaled $42.6
billion, including lower rates for one year for companies
returning overseas profits to the United States.
Opponents said that would reward companies that
moved jobs overseas, but supporters said it would increase
capital available for investments in the United States.
Residents of states without income taxes will be
allowed to deduct state and local sales taxes from their
federal income returns. There also is a $10.1 billion
buyout of holders of quotas held by tobacco farm-
ers, though a provision allowing the Food and Drug
Administration to regulate tobacco was dropped.
Candidates back off election boycott
President Hamid Karzai's main challenger yesterday backed off a boycott of Afghan-
istan's landmark election over allegations of fraud. saying he would accept the forma-
tion of an independent commission to look into any irregularities in the vote.
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. the first foreign leader to visit since Satur-
day's election, all but declared Karzai the winner before a single ballot was counted.
The announcement by ethnic Tajik candidate Yunus Qanooni that he would
accept the formation of the election commission followed similar statements Sun-
day by Massooda Jalal, the only female presidential hopeful, and ethnic Hazara
candidate Mohammed Mohaqeq.
"I don't want to be against the election and I appreciate the good will of the
people of Afghanistan." Qanooni said. '1 want to prove to the people of Afghani-
stan that the national interest is my highest interest."
He said he made his decision after a meeting with U.N. representative Jean
Arnault and U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.
Abdul Satar Sirat, a minor Uzbek candidate who rallied the others to support the
boycott, also appeared to back down. His spokesman, Ramatullah Jalili, also said
Sirat would respect the decision of an independent electoral commission.
and ethanol producers. Other winners included fishing
tackle box makers, NASCAR track owners, Chinese
ceiling fan importers, and foreigners winning bets at
U.S. horse and dog racing tracks.
"Let the record show this bill is fair. This bill is
balanced," said Senate Finance Committee Chairman
Charles Grassley (R-Iowa).
The White House has signaled that Bush will sign
the legislation. But the administration kept a low pro-
file as the bill progressed, underscoring the controver-
sy enveloping some provisions.
In the end, the
Though the tax bill would cut business taxes by
$136 billion over the next decade, it claimed to raise
an equal amount of revenue by increasing other taxes,
including stricter rules governing the deduction for
cars contributed to charities.
Supporters said the bill would create jobs - the loss
of which during the Bush administration has become
a campaign issue. Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who
helped write the measure, said 200,000 U.S. manufac-
Shiite insurgents disarm for cash
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Shi-
ite fighters in tracksuits and sneakers
unloaded cars full of machine guns,
mortars and land mines yesterday as
a five-day, weapons-for-cash disarma-
ment program kicked off in Baghdad's
Sadr City district - a sign of progress
in the center of Shiite resistance in Iraq.
A lasting peace in the sprawling slum
would allow U.S. and Iraqi forces to
focus on the mounting Sunni insurgency.
Underscoring the threat, two American
soldiers were killed in a rocket attack in
southern Baghdad, and a third U.S. sol-
dier died when a suicide driver exploded
a car bomb in front of a U.S. convoy in
the northern city of Mosul.
U.S. aircraft attacked a mosque in
the predominantly Sunni town of Hit
and set it on fire after insurgents hiding
in the shrine opened fire on American
Marines, the U.S. military said.
In the Sunni insurgent stronghold of Fal-
lujah, a U.S. warplane destroyed a popular
restaurant that the American command
said was a meeting place for members of
Iraq's most feared terrorist organization,
Tawhid and Jihad, led by Jordanian-born
extremist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. There
was no report of casualties, and the Haj
Hussein restaurant was closed during the
12:01 a.m. attack today.
In Sadr City, followers of radical Shi-
ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr promised the
government last weekend they would
hand over medium and heavy weapons
for cash in a deal considered an impor-
tant step toward ending weeks of fight-
ing with U.S. and Iraqi forces. Iraqi
police and National Guardsmen will
then assume security responsibility for
the district, which is home to more than
2 million people.
In return, the government has pledged
to start releasing al-Sadr followers who
have not committed crimes, suspend
raids and rebuild the war-ravaged slum.
Members of al-Sadr's Mahdi Army
started showing up at three designated
police stations early yesterday morning,
carting bags full of guns and explosives
- even TNT paste. Many of the weap-
ons appeared old and rusted, but gov-
ernment officials expressed satisfaction
with the first day's haul.
"Sadr City residents were very
responsive, and the process went with-
out any incidents," Interior Ministry
Poll: Iraq war increased beat of telTorism
More than two-thirds of the people living in Australia, Britain and Italy, three
countries allied with the United States in the Iraq war, believe the war has increased
the threat of terrorism.
Leaders of those countries - prime ministers Tony Blair of Britain and
John Howard of Australia and Premier Silvio Berlusconi of Italy - all get
low marks from their people for their handling of the war on terrorism, an
Associated Press-Ipsos poll shows.
More than half of those in the United States, 52 percent, believe the Iraq
war has increased the threat of terrorism, while three in 10 in the United
States think it has decreased the threat - a view promoted by President
"In the context of the presidential campaign in the United States, this is unde-
niably a blow for George W. Bush, since it shows that a majority of Americans
don't agree with the main justification for his policy in Iraq," said Gilles Corman,
research director at Ipsos-Inra of Belgium, who studies public opinion trends
Report: Millions of workers living in poverty
One in every five U.S. jobs pays less than a poverty-level wage for a family of
four, according to a study by the nonpartisan Working Poor Families Project.
The result of so many low-paying jobs is that nearly 39 million Americans,
including 20 million children, are members of "low-income working families"
- those that barely have enough money to cover basic needs like housing, grocer-
ies and child care, the study found.
The study classified a "working family" as one in which there was one or more
children and at least one family member had a job or was actively seeking work.
Besides staying up on bills, many people also struggled to save up for a bigger home
or for a child's college education, said Brandon Roberts, one of the report's authors.
EU lifts Libyan sanctions, eases arms embargo
The European Union yesterday ended 12 years of sanctions against Libya and
eased an arms embargo to reward the North African country for giving up plans to
develop weapons of mass destruction.
The decision by the EU foreign ministers brought the 25-nation bloc in line
with a U.N. decision last year and reflected a significant warming of relations
in recent months.
"This is a turning point in relations with Libya," French European Affairs Min-
ister Claudie Haignere said.
Iraqi National Guard members stand next to collected weapons in Sadr City, Baghdad, Iraq, yesterday. Followers of radical
cleric Muqtada al-Sadr trickled into police stations In Baghdad's Sadr City district to hand in weapons under a deal seen as
a key step toward ending weeks of fighting with U.S. and Iraqi forces in the Shiite militant stronghold.
spokesman Col. Adnan Abdul-Rahman
said. "We hope this will be completed in
a comprehensive manner so that recon-
struction can start in the city."
Security was tight, with numerous
checkpoints set up along the way and Iraqi
troops deployed on the rooftops. U.S. sol-
diers also watched from a distance.
Abdul al-Nawaf pulled up in front of
al-Habibiya station in a white sedan and
started unloading machine guns, mortar
shells and grenade launchers.
"We have more, but we're waiting
to see whether money will be paid or
not," the 26-year-old fighter said. "We
also want to see if there will be a truce
- and whether that truce will last."
He appeared disappointed when
police handed him a receipt and told him
to come back later to collect his cash.
Militia fighters started arriving in
larger numbers once officials turned
up with cash to pay them. Rates ranged
from $5 for a hand grenade to $1,000 for
a heavy-caliber machine gun.
"We are fed up with fighting," said
Hassan Kadhim, 31, as he unloaded
guns and mortar rounds from a pickup
truck. He hoped to use the money to
start a business.
U.S. and Iraqi authorities hope the
weapons surrender will be the first step
toward restoring peace in Sadr City.
"Until that process is completed, and
until the Iraqi government itself is satisfied,
it is way too early to characterize it as a suc-
cess," said Lt. Col. James Hutton, spokes-
man for the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division.
If disarmament is successful in Sadr
City, officials hope to replicate the pro-
cess in other insurgent enclaves so they
can curb resistance by nationwide elec-
tions in January.
Both sides, however, view one anoth-
er with suspicion. Many militia fighters
and even some National Guard members
covered their faces during the handover,
apparently in fear of being targeted.
There have been several truces before
with al-Sadr - none of which lasted more
than 40 days. A deal brokered after heavy
fighting in the Shiite holy city of Najaf in
August allowed his militia to walk away
with its weapons. Soon afterward, clashes
broke out again in Sadr City.
"We made sure this time that all
weapons should be surrendered," Prime
Minister Ayad Allawi said on a visit
to another former insurgent strong-
hold, Samarra. U.S. and Iraqi forces
reclaimed that city by force, and Allawi
hinted the same would happen in Sadr
City if negotiations fail.
"We are going to prevail against
the forces of evil here in Iraq," he told
reporters. "Whatever it takes, we'll do."
Elsewhere, two U.S. soldiers were
killed and five wounded in a rocket
attack yesterday in southern Baghdad,
the military said. No further details
were disclosed. A series of heavy explo-
sions rocked the city after nightfall.
- Corniled from Daily wire reports
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Throughout Our World
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