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Top 5 Stories
Reid Sees Progress on Tax Cut Deal in Senate
Estate-Tax Passage Is Likely
House Lawmakers: No Letter Grades on New Cars
More New Cars Get 40 MPG, But 'Cheap' Gas Keeps Buyers Away
IRS Helps Small Employers Claim New Health Care Tax Credit; Forms and Additional Guidance Now Available
Top 5 Stories
Reid Sees Progress on Tax Cut Deal in Senate

The majority leader says an agreement is "further along than most people would think."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., are working to ensure there are enough Senate votes to pass the tax package announced Monday by President Obama, and they appear confident they will overcome opposition from both sides of the aisle as they look to begin debate on the measure Thursday. Less than a day after saying the proposal will need more work to pass, Reid spoke of progress (Wednesday) morning. “There is work being done on the tax issue,” Reid said. “It’s further along than most people would think.”
Source: National Journal

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Estate-Tax Passage Is Likely

The estate tax has emerged as a focus of Democrats' anguish over the tax deal hashed out between President Barack Obama and Republicans. But the protests appear unlikely to derail the compromise in Congress. The plan put forward by Republicans and accepted by Mr. Obama would reinstate the estate tax at 35% for two years starting next year, with the first $5 million of a person's estate exempted. Even if most House Democrats vote against the tax-cut measure because of the estate-tax terms, it's possible that enough centrists would side with Republicans and Mr. Obama to pass the bill. "It's not going to be changed," said Sen. Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.), an author of the estate-tax provision.
Source: The Wall Street Journal

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House Lawmakers: No Letter Grades on New Cars

WASHINGTON -- Dozens of House lawmakers are putting a big red "F" on a government plan to put letter grades on the window stickers of new cars and trucks to rate a vehicle's fuel efficiency. Fifty-three House members said in a letter Wednesday to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department that a proposal to add letter grades to the stickers was biased in favor of electric cars and would hurt sales of sport utility vehicles and trucks. Consumers use the stickers to compare vehicles when shopping for a new vehicle. "Changing this system to a letter grade would cause consumer confusion and tip the scales unfairly against many fuel efficient SUVs and trucks, relegating them to a C or C+ grade," said Rep. Dale Kildee, D-Mich. The letter was signed by 17 Democrats and 36 Republicans.
Source: The Associated Press

Editor's Note: NADA is pleased that members of Congress on both sides of the aisle clearly reject the EPA’s attempt to use an arbitrary letter grade to tell consumers which cars and trucks to buy. It is especially significant that so many members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over EPA, object to the government creating another regulation when new-car buyers already have clear and visible fuel economy numbers printed on the window sticker. Given that existing labels work well, NADA has weighed in on the issue with comments to EPA supporting an alternate approach (known as Label 2), which NADA says "retains the current label's focus on miles per gallon and annual fuel costs." Click here to read NADA's comments. To view the proposed labels, click here.

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More New Cars Get 40 MPG, But 'Cheap' Gas Keeps Buyers Away

Automakers are offering more conventional cars that cross the 40-miles-per-gallon threshold in highway driving, but relatively low gas prices continue to hold off buyers. New models are arriving as automakers rush to try to meet more stringent gas mileage standards by 2016. Hyundai, for instance, expects to have four 40-mpg highway odels by next year, starting with its new Elantra compact. But getting buyers to sweep them off the lots hasn't been easy. Gas prices averaged $2.968 a gallon nationally on Wednesday for regular, AAA reports. While that's up 33 cents a gallon from a year ago, it's still short of the $3-a-gallon threshhold. "When gas is cheap, no one is going to be rushing out to buy a small car," says Gabriel Shenhar, senior auto test engineer for Consumer Reports.
Source: USA Today

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IRS Helps Small Employers Claim New Health Care Tax Credit; Forms and Additional Guidance Now Available

The Internal Revenue Service last week released final guidance for small employers eligible to claim the new small business health care tax credit for the 2010 tax year. Click here for the one-page form and other instructions. For more information from NADA University on this issue, the recording from the Federal Health Reform webinar held last May is available for free to NADA members at www.nadauniversity.com. After logging on, click the “Market Insight” tab on bottom panel and scroll down to select the webinar "Federal Health Reform."
Source: Internal Revenue Service

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Quotable
 
"It's not going to be changed."

    -- Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., on the estate-tax provision in the tax plan put forward by Republicans and accepted by President Obama that would reinstate the estate tax at 35% for two years starting next year, with the first $5 million of a person's estate exempted, The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 8

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