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Free Speech Radio News report from the Senate

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LEIGH ANN CALDWELL, DC CORRESPONDENT, FREE SPEECH RADIO NEWS: This week in Washington, Congress is back from a six-week break, and with the elections just weeks away, policy is running head into politics. The Democrats say the Republicans are just supporting the wealthy, while the Republicans say the Democrats are bad for business. And one of the main issues that Congress is going to debate are the Bush-era tax cuts. They’re set to expire at the end of this year. And there’s two issues here. One is tax cuts for the middle class, which pretty much everyone agrees should be extended, especially during these economic times. This second issue is tax cuts for the wealthy. Those are the contentious parts of this debate. Many Republicans say that those tax cuts for the wealthy need to be extended during these tough economic times. They say that money in people’s pockets will help stimulate the economy. They also say too many small businesses would be impacted if those tax cuts for the wealthy are repealed. Meanwhile, Democrats say $700 billion, which is the cost of the national deficit, is going to be too much to let the people who make over $250,000 a year receive additional tax cuts. There are some Republicans, the moderate Republicans, who are talking about compromise. The two-year extension for tax cuts for the wealthy might be the way to go. But the Republican leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, he says he’s not open to that right now. He spoke on the Senate floor this week, adamantly expressing his opposition to repealing the tax cuts for the wealthy. Other issues that are coming to head this week are don’t ask, don’t tell and the Dream Act. Senate majority leader Harry Reid said that both of those issues could receive a vote. Now, don’t ask, don’t tell is repealing the restriction that gays cannot serve openly in the military. The other issue, the Dream Act, allows undocumented immigrants, immigrant students, to receive legal status so that they may go to college here in the US.

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Leigh Ann Caldwell is a multimedia journalist and radio host. She currently covers Congress and the Obama administration for Free Speech Radio News. During the 2008 presidential elections, she hosted her a daily syndicated election show, Election Unspun. She has freelanced for an array of outlets from Radio France International to Pilates Style magazine. Her coverage of New York City's rebuilding after September 11th won an investigative journalism award from the Independent Press Association.

She also launched and runs Radio Rootz DC, a new program under People's Production House, which teaches under-served DC public school youth media, radio and journalism.