Today’s Congressional odds and ends
No Net taxes: Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, today introduced the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act of 2007, seeking to permanently extend the moratorium on Internet access taxes and duplicative and discriminatory taxes on Internet commerce. The bill has 34 original cosponsors — 14 Democrats and 20 Republicans — including Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo; Michael Honda, D-San Jose; and Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose. Congress first instituted a temporary moratorium in 1998 to encourage online commerce’s growth, and extended it in 2004 for three years, but it’ll expire in November. “Passage of this legislation will ensure, once and for all, that the growth of Internet access and e-commerce will not be hampered by unwarranted taxation,” Eshoo, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, said in her news release.
Middle-class plight: House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Martinez, convened a hearing today to hear from workers and economic experts about challenges facing the middle class. “While the business pages across America report that profits and productivity are up for many corporations, we know that’s only half of the economic story,” he said. “The other half is the story of how middle-class Americans are struggling to make ends meet. I hear from workers who were laid off from a good-paying manufacturing job and wound up in a new job that pays far less than did the one they lost. I hear from workers whose company just dumped their pension plan, forcing them to scramble to find other ways to get by in retirement. I hear from workers whose basic expenses — for housing, food, education, transportation, and health care — keep going up, even while their paychecks stay about the same size.” Read the testimony from Yale University Professor Jacob Hacker; Rutgers University Center for Women and Work director Eileen Appelbaum; and Center for Economic Progress economist Christian Weller. The archived Webcast is here.
Stay out of Iran: Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, hosted a forum of experts today to discuss current U.S. policy toward Iran: potential implications of preemptive war there; non-military alternatives to addressing Iran’s nuclear ambitions; and engaging Iran in efforts to strengthen regional stability by ending Iraq’s civil war. She announced the introduction of her Iran Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act of 2007, which would pledge the U.S. “not to enter into a preemptive war against Iran in the absence of an imminent threat, and then only in accordance with international law and constitutional and statutory requirements for congressional authorization.” It also would block funding for “any covert action for the purpose of causing regime change in Iran or to carry out any military action against Iran in the absence of an imminent threat, in accordance with international law.” And it declares both that no previous act of Congress authorizes military force against Iran, and that there should be no preconditions to engaging Iran in diplomatic dialogue.