On the Radar: Obama at Fort Bragg; payroll tax; SAG nominations
December 14th, 2011
08:15 AM ET

On the Radar: Obama at Fort Bragg; payroll tax; SAG nominations

Three stories to watch today:

Obama at Fort Bragg to speak about Iraq war's end

With the withdrawal of virtually all U.S. troops from Iraq due to be completed just days from now, President Barack Obama is expected to speak about the war’s end to soldiers at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on Wednesday.

The speech is scheduled to be delivered at about noon ET.

As of two weeks ago, more than 10,000 U.S. troops were deployed in Iraq, down from 170,000, and the number was dropping daily. Iraqi security forces, including army and police officers, are to assume full responsibility for the country's security by the end of the year under a deal agreed to by Iraq and the United States.

The withdrawal will bring to an end the war that began in 2003 with the toppling of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Only about 150 U.S. troops are expected to remain after the December 31 deadline, a U.S. official told CNN, though a large private security force will protect the thousands of State Department workers and contractors staying behind after the withdrawal deadline.

Obama announced the troop withdrawal in October, cutting some units’ deployments short. His announcement followed news that negotiations to extend the deadline broke down after Iraq's top political leaders refused to grant U.S. troops legal immunity, opening up the prospect of service members being tried in Iraqi courts and subjected to Iraqi punishment.

Payroll tax cut extension

Expect to hear more about a showdown Wednesday between congressional Democrats and Republicans regarding a possible extension of a Social Security payroll tax cut and a possible extension of federal jobless benefits.

On Tuesday, the Republican-controlled House passed a GOP plan that would extend the payroll tax cut and jobless benefits, and also speed the process for government approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Congressional Democrats generally want to extend the tax cut and jobless benefits, but are opposed to this plan because of the pipeline and other provisions.  The Senate is expected to defeat this particular plan.

Time is running out for the possible extensions, with Congress scheduled to leave Washington for its holiday recess at the end of the week.

The payroll tax break, which was enacted last year, cut workers’ Social Security payroll tax rate to 4.2% on the first $106,800 in wages this year, instead of the normal 6.2%. With that cut, people making $50,000 this year will take home an additional $1,000. Unless the break is extended, it will expire after December 31.

SAG nominations

Award-season nominations continue Wednesday morning with the announcement of candidates for the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

The 9 a.m. ET nomination announcement will be carried live on TNT and online at TNT.tv and TBS.com. The SAG show, which presents 13 awards for acting in film and television, will be held on January 29 in Los Angeles.

On Tuesday, the Critics' Choice awards had its turn for nominations. George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jean Dujardin, Michael Fassender, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt were nominated for best actor; Viola Davis, Elizabeth Olsen, Meryl Streep, Tilda Swinton, Charlize Theron and Michelle Williams were nominated for best actress.

Golden Globe nominations are set for Thursday.

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Filed under: On the Radar
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. michaelfury


    December 14, 2011 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  2. Scottish Mama

    The Keystone Congress, reminds me of the Keystone Cops. I think it will give us jobs for only a while. Temporary fix for a long term problem. Congress has not come up with any solutions for jobs over this past year, give the wealthy this tax break, so they can send more jobs and money overseas.
    Keystone pipeline not good and sets us back to oil dependance, no thank you. It is also expensive and dirty. Sorry Canada, nada.

    December 14, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      Although the Keystone project may not please everyone, it has good and bad points.
      If relations with Iran deteriorated completely, they could possibly shut down the Strait of Hormuz and maybe 15% of the world's crude. After all, we are dependant on cheap gas to keep the economy rolling. Canada is going to sell the oil to someone. Their alliterative plan is to run a pipeline to their west coast

      December 14, 2011 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      @Portland Tony, we cannot look back, this sand oil is a step backward and is a nightmare waiting to happen for 5000 maybe perminent jobs. Not worth the time, effort or enviornment.

      December 14, 2011 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      @Tony I wonder why the Canadians don't go to the west coast? Maybe it is too expensive? If they did they would get all the rewards. I just think desparate measures, mean careless moves. It is dirty oil, that means more expensive oil not cheaper than what we have. I think we need to go and improve on the green and leave this oil usage behind or we will be left with a crude oil desaster mess.

      December 14, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      @Tony they also use water and energy to clean the sand, whos water and what sludge ponds in what states and whos drinking water will they contaminate?

      December 14, 2011 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
  3. banasy©

    Can't Congress ever try to pass something that doesn't have special interest written into it?

    December 14, 2011 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  4. s kel

    No Bansay they cant, wayy to evil.

    December 14, 2011 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  5. banasy©

    I guess, s kel!

    December 14, 2011 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  6. Scottish Mama

    @ s kel hello, I think the I wash yours and you wash mine time is over. Pass the bill that helps the people or the economy. This pipeline will employ 5,000 workers after it is built. Not worth the hostage of the people of the US. I think republicans will take a hit this year. And if the Dems don't get their heads out I think somethiing major in our system is going to change. Like the 2 party system.

    December 14, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mark L.

    I agree with the majority that most if not all congressional representatives in both the House and Senate need to be voted out. As for President Obama, I am solely disappointed that he has given in to the GOP on too many occasions. I am a registered Democrat and voted for President Obama in 2008, in hopes that he would clean up the mess that GW Bush & Dick Cheney left behind, and while the economy is mending slowly, in all fairness, I believe if President Obama wants to be victorious via the 2012 elections, he should appoint Hillary Rodham Clinton as his next Vice Presidential running mate. I think a Obama / Clinton ticket in 2012 is a sure-win for the Democratic Party. Hillary would have made a much more effective commander in chief than President Obama, but this is solely my opinion.

    December 14, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  8. €:^)

    Ron Paul 2012

    December 14, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. €:^)

    I'm a Democrat also but not this year , do your research on Ron Paul watch his speeches on the net. Especially the let's fight vid !

    December 14, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. chrissy

    Ron Paul would be a perfect candidate but i sure would wanta know who is running mate is gonna be simpley cuz hes so old! POTUS aint no easy job and surely wouldnt be good for his health given his age!

    December 14, 2011 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |