Congress may soon help the 1.76 million consumers anxiously waiting for their $40 digital TV converter coupons. According to Congress Daily, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) is drafting legislation to push back the February 17 digital television transition deadline as requested last week by both Consumers Union and the incoming Obama Administration.
Ever heard of a cramdown? It’s when a bankrupcty court splits a home loan into two parts: a secured loan that’s equal to the current value of the home, and an unsecured loan that covers the rest of the outstanding debt. The secured loan is paid, and the unsecured isn’t. It can result in lower monthly payments (if the new loan amount is amortized over the course of the loan), but the important part is that it helps guarantee that a significant part of the loan will still be paid off.
The Auto Bailout Bill passed House yesterday, but is expected to encounter strong Republican resistance in the Senate.
It looks like the auto industry bailout doesn’t have the votes. [NYT]
Congressional negotiators agreed in principle last night to a $700 billion bailout package. The bill is currently being transformed into draft legislation that can be voted on
CNN says that a deal has been reached — sort of. A bipartisan counterproposal to Bush’s $700 billion bailout plan has been drafted. The plan calls for caps on executive pay, and provides oversight on the Treasury’s actions.
Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. was not warmly received at today’s bailout hearing when he stared down an angry and disenchanted Senate Banking Committee. Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, who appeared with Mr. Paulson, warned that unless Congress gave Mr. Paulson $700 billion that “inaction could lead to a recession.” Oooh, they said the “R” word….
Following up on yesterday’s story about a disgruntled computer technician who turned over the bank records from the LGT Bank of Liechtenstein, ABC News says that UBS Bank may have helped set up the secret accounts and been responsible for hiding as much as $20 billion dollars of U.S. money.
U.S. law allows whistleblowers to collect 30 percent of any taxes recovered as a result of their information, and it seems that one disgruntled computer technician is taking advantage of the program. Meet Heinrich Kieber, a nefarious criminal-type turned “good guy” who will be testifying in front of the “Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations Thursday via a video statement from a secret location,” according to ABC News. Mr. Keiber is from Liechtenstein, a tiny country with very secretive banking laws. He stole banking information that showed how the world’s super-rich were skirting their countries tax laws. Keiber then sold the information to tax authorities in 12 countries, including the U.S, hence the whole “secret location” thing.
The Senate passed the FISA bill today, which effectively puts an end to any chance of legal repercussions for telcos who helped the government spy on citizens. Senator Obama voted for it, Senator McCain didn’t vote, and Senator Clinton, for what it’s worth, voted against it. Find out how your senator voted here. [TechCrunch]
Get ready to spend nine hours on the tarmac without food or water. Senate Republicans yesterday shoved the Passenger’s Bill of Rights into the chamber’s overhead bin, killing off hope that the bill will pass before the elections. Even worse, the shot-down bill had transformed into a gleaming marvel of consumer protection.
Poor Kevin Martin. The Senate is well on its way towards killing his proposal to let newspapers get all freaky and consolidate with television and radio stations. Martin shouldn’t be too surprised: this is exactly what happened the last time a FCC Chairman tried to ram media consolidation down our throats.
Never again will you have to worry about renewing your Do Not Call List registration thanks to Public Laws 110-187 and 110-188. Our newest laws provide a permanent stream of funding for the Do Not Call List and guarantee that registrations will never expire. Read the White House’s ebullient press release, after jump.
That was fast. The Senate today passed H.R. 5140, a $167 billion economic stimulus plan, by a vote of 81-16. The final bill grants rebates to seniors and disabled veterans, but does not extend unemployment insurance or provide heating assistance to the poor. The bill will now take a quick breather in the House before sprinting down Pennsylvania Avenue for the President’s signature. [AP]