Crackdown on ‘insider’ profits may be lone plus for campaign-mode Obama

January 30, 2012

By Susan Crabtree-The Washington Times

Senate Democrats plan to vote Monday on a bill to prevent members of Congress from profiting from inside knowledge gained from their officials duties — a swift response to President Obama’s State of the Union directive.

Mr. Obama’s call to action to prohibit members ofCongress from using insider knowledge for personal financial investments was one of the few lines of Tuesday evening’s address that drew Republican and Democratic applause and may well be one of the only areas of complete bipartisan agreement in bitterly divided Washington all year.

Both Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday said they expected to pass a payroll tax extension for the rest of the year by the end of February — a major priority of the president’s, but the GOP leaders said they remain at odds with Democrats and the president in figuring out how to pay for it.

Although Mr. Obama began his annual address by calling for Washington to use the military’s dependence on selfless teamwork as the best example for public service, he quickly pivoted to a call for increased taxes on the wealthy to pay America’s bills and finance new investments, urging Congress to act but warning that he was prepared to go it alone if they failed.

Nearly a week after the speech, reviews of his performance and subsequent three-day swing through five battleground election states, have been mixed, with analysts agreeing that its combative tone and go-it-alone threat marked the beginning of a re-election campaign shifting into high gear.

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