Cantwell Signs Senate Letter Seeking to Amend Obama Deal

By:  By Josh Feit
Source: SeattleMet

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Sen. Maria Cantwell has joined eight other U.S. Senators (including Barbara Boxer, Diane Feinstein, John Kerry, and Ron Wyden) in an effort to tweak President Obama's tax deal with the GOP. Cantwell signed a letter saying she wants to extend federal support for the Build America bonds program—state and local bonds with fed backing that fund infrastructure projects.

The program, which has already issued $5.6 billion worth of bond projects to Washington State, is set to expire on December 31.

The WSJ reports:

The bond program, set to expire Dec. 31, provides federal subsidies for taxable bonds issued by state and local governments. More than $150 billion of the bonds have been issued to help finance such projects as upgrades to Alaskan airports and to school, water, sewer and electric facilities across the country.

"Build America Bonds have proven to be an efficient way to create jobs and build lasting infrastructure across the country," the senators wrote in a letter to Senate leaders, dated Tuesday.

The deal on tax-cut extensions struck between the White House and Senate Republicans didn't include an extension of the bond program, one of Mr. Obama's signature economic-development programs.

Democratic lawmakers critical of tax-cut deal are seeking to add their own priorities to balance a package they argue gives too many tax breaks to the wealthy.

The letter was signed by Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon, Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, Mark Begich of Alaska, John Kerry of Massachusetts, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein of California, and Maria Cantwell of Washington.