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  • Mon, Dec 19 2011
  • 9:28 AM » Payroll tax: Congress on vexing path
    Published Mon, Dec 19 2011 9:28 AM by CNN
    What a mess. Once again, Congress is going down to the wire on a "must-pass" bill that lawmakers have been debating for months. The centerpiece of this one -- the soon-to-expire payroll tax cut -- affects more than . And it looks like lawmakers' hyper-politicized grudge match will continue for at least several more days. So much for Silent Night. To review: Last week, House Republicans passed a one-year extension of the tax cut as well as long-term emergency federal unemployment benefits and the "doc fix," which would prevent a scheduled pay cut to Medicare physicians. This weekend, unable to negotiate a more palatable deal, the Senate passed a mere two-month extension of all three measures, and in large part by requiring that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac charge mortgage lenders higher fees, a measure with bipartisan support.
  • 9:21 AM » ECB President Draghi Warns on Euro Zone Break-Up
    Published Mon, Dec 19 2011 9:21 AM by CNBC
    Mario Draghi has warned of the costs of a eurozone break-up, breaching a taboo for a president of the European Central Bank, even as he sought to play down market expectations about the ECB's role in combating the sovereign debt crisis. Mr Draghi's willingness to discuss a scenario for Europe's 13-year old monetary union that his predecessor, Jean-Claude Trichet, simply described as "absurd," highlights the high stakes in the eurozone debt crisis, which has rattled global financial markets. In his first interview since becoming ECB president on November 1, Mr Draghi said struggling eurozone countries that quit the currency bloc would face still greater economic pain. For remaining members, European Union law would have been broken and "you never know how it ends really," he said.
  • 9:18 AM » Investigators Say 4 Reps Got Discounted Loans
    Published Mon, Dec 19 2011 9:18 AM by CNBC
    WASHINGTON - Congressional investigators said Monday that four House members received VIP discounted loans from the former Countrywide Financial Corp., the lender whose subprime mortgages was largely responsible for the nation's foreclosure crisis. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, declined to name the four but wrote the House Ethics Committee that it should investigate the lawmakers. Issa, in a letter dated Friday and released Monday, said there could be additional lawmakers who received discounted loans. The most favored customers of Countrywide were known as "Friends of Angelo," who were given discounts in a VIP section under control of the company's CEO Angelo Mozilo. However, Issa said his investigators discovered that other sections of Countrywide also processed VIP loans to public officials and others in position to help the company.
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