Ed’s Daily Notes for October 2nd   Leave a comment

Day 2 of the U.S. government “slimdown” (as Fox News calls it)…

Fox News: House to try again to pass 3 emergency funding bills amid government slimdown

The House of Representatives will make another attempt Wednesday to pass three emergency funding bills after each failed to obtain the required two-thirds majority Tuesday.

The House Rules Committee is scheduled to meet at 10:15 a.m. Wednesday to consider the three measures backed by House Republicans, which are aimed at reopening parks and monuments, continuing veterans’ benefits and allowing the municipal government of the District of Columbia to function.

Unlike on Tuesday, the latest bills will not be treated by House GOP leaders as suspension bills, which means they only need a simple majority vote to pass. On Tuesday, each measure needed 286 votes to pass. The parks funding bill went down by a tally of 252 in favor to 176 against, the veterans programs by 264 in favor to 164 against and the D.C. government funding by 265 in favor to 163 against.

However, even if the bills pass the House Wednesday, they are almost assuredly doomed in the Senate, where Democrats suggested GOP House members had picked high profile parts of the government to fund as a cover for their part in forcing a government slowdown, while overlooking other critical areas such as the National Institutes of Health.

“It is time for Speaker Boehner to stop the games, think about the people he is hurting, and let the House pass the Senate’s bill to re-open the government with Republican and Democratic votes,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday night.

The White House has also rejected the bills in advance.

“The president and the Senate have been clear that they won’t accept this kind of game-playing, and if these bills were to come to the president’s desk he would veto them,” said White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage. “These piecemeal efforts are not serious and they are no way to run a government.”

Mike Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, fired back, “How does the White House justify signing the troop funding bill, but vetoing similar measures for veterans, National Parks, and District of Columbia? The President can’t continue to complain about the impact of the government shutdown on veterans, visitors at National Parks, and DC while vetoing bills to help them. The White House position is unsustainably hypocritical.”

Ultimately, the White House and the Democrats will have to justify why they are rejecting these bills. Rejecting these bills as “piecemeal efforts” doesn’t fly. Let’s face the facts: There is no single bill that will work for both sides. Frankly, the Republican approach is about the only way, even if it goes against what the Democrats want. Whether the American public agrees with this approach is another matter, and only time will tell.

Reuters: Microsoft investors push for chairman Gates to step down

Three of the top 20 investors in Microsoft Corp are lobbying the board to press for Bill Gates to step down as chairman of the software company he co-founded 38 years ago, according to people familiar with matter.

…There is no indication that Microsoft’s board would heed the wishes of the three investors, who collectively hold more than 5 percent of the company’s stock, according to the sources. They requested the identity of the investors be kept anonymous because the discussions were private.

Gates owns about 4.5 percent of the $277 billion company and is its largest individual shareholder.

The three investors are concerned that Gates’ role as chairman effectively blocks the adoption of new strategies and would limit the power of a new chief executive to make substantial changes. In particular, they point to Gates’ role on the special committee searching for Ballmer’s successor.

They are also worried that Gates – who spends most of his time on his philanthropic foundation – wields power out of proportion to his declining shareholding.

Gates, who owned 49 percent of Microsoft before it went public in 1986, sells about 80 million Microsoft shares a year under a pre-set plan, which if continued would leave him with no financial stake in the company by 2018.

As a new Microsoft shareholder, I completely disagree with this. I like having Gates as chairman, because this company is his legacy. I want somebody like him as chairman, because he wants the company to succeed. He isn’t just someone sitting in the chairman’s role collecting a paycheck.

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Posted October 2, 2013 by edmcgon in News, Politics, Stocks

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