Obama & Biden In Scranton: Five Takeaways From The Presidential Visit

President Barack Obama and Vice President Jose...

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SCRANTON, PA — It was a climactic and emotional end to President Barack Obama’s two-day bus tour of college campuses in New York and Pennsylvania.  Mostly, because it was he first featuring Vice President Joe Biden, whose participation in the tour was curtailed when his son Beau fell ill early in the week.

With Biden’s hometown as the backdrop, Obama’s visit to Scranton’s Lackawanna College had all the makings of rich political theater, even as the president largely recited the same college affordability speech from his three earlier stops.

Here’s five takeaways from Obama’s Scranton visit:

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/08/obama_biden_in_scranton_five_t.html#incart_m-rpt-2

House, Senate Approve ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Bill

Official portrait of United States House Speak...

Official portrait of United States House Speaker (R-Ohio). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Well it’s about damn time!

WASHINGTON — Congress’ excruciating, extraordinary New Year’s Day approval of a compromise averting a prolonged tumble off the fiscal cliff hands President Barack Obama most of the tax boosts on the rich that he campaigned on.  It also prevents House Republicans from facing blame for blocking tax cuts for most American households, though most GOP lawmakers parted ways with Speaker John Boehner and opposed the measure.

Passage also lays the groundwork for future battles between the two sides over federal spending and debt.

Capping a holiday season political spectacle that featured enough high and low notes for a Broadway musical, the GOP-run House voted final approval for the measure by 257-167 late Tuesday.  That came after the Democratic-led Senate used a wee-hours 89-8 roll call to assent to the bill, belying the partisan brinkmanship that colored much of the path to the final deal.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=440254

Senate Approves “Fiscal Cliff” Deal, Crisis Eased

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate moved the U.S. economy back from the edge of a “fiscal cliff” on Tuesday, voting to avoid imminent tax hikes and spending cuts in a bipartisan deal that could still face stiff challenges in the House of Representatives.

In a rare New Year’s session at around 2 a.m. EST (0700 GMT), senators voted 89-8 to raise some taxes on the wealthy while making permanent low tax rates on the middle class that have been in place for a decade.

But the measure did little to rein in huge annual budget deficits that have helped push the U.S. debt to $16.4 trillion.

The agreement came too late for Congress to meet its own deadline of New Year’s Eve for passing laws to halt $600 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts which strictly speaking came into force on Tuesday.

Read more:  http://www.nbr.com/news/story?id=tag%3Areuters.com%2C0000%3Anewsml_BRE8A80WV#.UOMJA-TAdcz

Progress Seen In Last-Minute ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Talks

English: President Barack Obama addresses a jo...

English: President Barack Obama addresses a joint session of the United States Congress in the chamber of the House of Representatives at the United States Capitol on 24 February 2009. Español: Presidente Barack Obama dando un discurose por una sesión conjunta del Congreso de los Estados Unidos en la cámara de la Cámara de Representantes en el Capitolio de los Estados Unidos, 24 de febrero de 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON — Working against a midnight deadline, negotiators for the White House and congressional Republicans in Congress narrowed their differences today on legislation to avert across-the-board tax increases.

Congressional officials familiar with talks between Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said one major remaining sticking point was whether to postpone spending cuts that are scheduled to begin on Jan 1.

Republicans want to replace across-the-board reductions with targeted cuts elsewhere in the budget, and the White House and Democrats were resisting.

At the same time, Democrats said the two sides were closing in on an agreement over taxes.  They said the White House had proposed blocking an increase for most Americans, while letting rates rise for individuals with incomes of $400,000 a year and $450,000 for couples, a concession from President Barack Obama’s campaign call to set the levels at $200,000 and $250,000.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/Article.aspx?id=439707

Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty Invited To The White House For St. Patrick’s Day

Logo of the United States White House, especia...

Image via Wikipedia

Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty received a letter from the White House inviting him and his wife to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the President and First Lady.  Mayor Doherty was surprised by the invitation.  V.P. Joe Biden was born in Scranton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s father was born in Scranton, so there is a Scranton connection in Washington, D.C.

In March of 2008, during the presidential primary, then Senator Obama spoke at the Irish Women’s Dinner at the Radisson at Lackawanna Station Hotel in downtown Scranton.  In April of 2008, Senator Obama returned to Scranton for a meal at the Glider Diner.  Mayor Doherty supported Hillary Clinton in the presidential primary and raised money for her campaign

It should be noted that Scranton’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is reported to be the fourth largest in the United States.  150,000 people pack Scranton for the parade and festivities.  The good news is that the parade in Scranton will be on March 12th so Mayor Doherty will still be in town for the celebration. 

In 2008 Hillary Clinton was Grand Marshall for the parade.  Mayor Doherty would like the President or Vice President to come to Scranton and be Grand Marshall of their parade.

Congratulations to Mayor Doherty for this high honor.

Bethlehem Job Incubator Recipient Of $6 Million Dollar Federal Recovery Act Grant

Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern PA is a technology job incubator, housing 24 early stage technology companies, located on the campus of Lehigh University.  The $17 million dollar expansion will add 47,000 square feet to the building which houses the incubator. 

The building expansion will increase the number of companies able to be housed from 24 to 40 and the number of people employed will increase from 118 to 200!

Ben Franklin Technology Partners applied for and successfully received a $6 million dollar grant from the Recovery Act through the U.S. Commerce Department.  Vice-President Joe Biden will on hand for the April 15th for ground-breaking.