NPR News 2010-05-20 加文本 简介：Download AudioNPR News 2010-05-20From NPR News in Washington, Im Giles Snyder.Senators are voting this afternoon on whether to wrap up debate on a fin…
NPR News 2010-05-20
From NPR News in Washington, I'm Giles Snyder.
Senators are voting this afternoon on whether to wrap up debate on a financial regulatory overhaul bill. There's NPR's Audie Cornish.
If senators vote to limit debate, then only amendments that are key to the issue of the financial industry bill will be allowed. The goal, says Majority Leader Harry Reid, is to pass the bill as soon as possible. The legislation tries to create a system for dissolving failing financial giants and creates a consumer-oriented agency to safeguard mortgages and other loans. But Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says the bill ignores areas ripe for reform, like the struggling mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
"So they can call this bill whatever they want, but there's no way, no way it can be viewed as a serious effort to rein in Wall Street or to address the problems that caused the crisis."
A final vote on passage of the bill could come by the end of the week. Audie Cornish, NPR News, the Capitol.
Communities in the states along the Gulf Coast should expect more than just long-term environmental effects from the BP oil spill. NPR's David Schaper reports from New Orleans on a new economic forecast for the Gulf region.
A new report from Moody's Investors Services indicates that the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is already triggering an increase in spending in Gulf Coast communities related to clean-up and containment operations, creating a short-term boost to local economies. But the economic outlook is much more grim in the long term. While the report cautions that the long-term impact is still somewhat uncertain, economists say Gulf Coast communities that are heavily relied on tourism and sales taxes may see those revenues decline in the future. Property tax values could also decline along the Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida coast, and the negative impacts on those revenue streams to cities, towns, counties and school districts could hurt their credit ratings, too. That would mean higher interest rates if and when they try to borrow money. David Schaper, NPR News, New Orleans.
The oil slick in the Gulf has prompted rare talks between the US and Cuba. State Department officials say they've been holding working level talks to discuss the island's readiness. Shifting ocean currents have some scientists worry that the massive oil slick in the Gulf will end up heading south toward the Florida Keys, Cuba and eventually up the East Coast.
President Obama says he could use some help from Republicans in order to get an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws through Congress.
"If they're willing to come forward and get a working group and get this moving, I'm actually confident that we can get it done, and the American people—including the people of Arizona—are going to prefer that the federal government takes responsibility and does what it's supposed to do."
Mr. Obama was speaking at a joint news conference with Mexican President Felipe Calderon. Both leaders were critical of Arizona's controversial immigration law, but the president said it's a response to Washington's inaction on the issue.
Stocks have been slipping today on more worries about the global economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average just before the close down 40 points at 10,470.
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Three American women whose children have been held in Iran since their arrest last July have arrived in the Iranian capital. The Iranian government says it's allowing them to visit their children as a humanitarian act. Iran has accused the children of spying. A lawyer for the mothers is expressing hope though that the three Americans might soon go free.
Arizona's new immigration law isn't the only issue facing the state. Voters there have overwhelmingly approved a tax increase to help fund education, health care and public safety. NPR's Ted Robbins has details on the tax hike.
The rest of the country have been watching Arizona deal with its tough new immigration enforcement law. But the state has also been dealing with one of the worst budget crises in the nation. The Arizona legislature would not vote to increase revenue, but it did put the question on the ballot. Arizona voters Tuesday agreed to raise the state's sales tax by one cent. The vote was not close. The tax hike passed by a nearly two-to-one margin. The tax is expected to bring in nearly a billion dollars in its first year. The increase expires in three years. Most of the money raised will go to public schools which have seen major cuts over the last few years. Ted Robbins, NPR News, Tucson.
Federal Reserve officials are offering a somewhat brighter view of the economy than they did at the start of the year. Fed officials say in a new forecast that they think the economy can grow by up to 3.7% this year, and the latest forecast sees the unemployment rate dipping to its lowest 9.1% by year's end that's currently at 9.9%.
Again, stocks have been slipping today. The NASDAQ down 14; the S&P 500 down three.