Train Derailment Renews Calls for Controversial Keystone XL Pipeline

This week's fiery accident involving oil tanker cars derailing in West Virginia is renewing the call for what proponents claim would be a safer, more reliable method of transportation -- the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline.
 
Correspondent Leland Vittert reports--
 

Loophole Provides Tax Refunds for Illegal Immigrants

By Katy Ricalde

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen confirmed Tuesday that illegal immigrants granted deportation amnesty are entitled to collect additional tax refunds under President Obama’s plan for executive action on immigration.

President Obama announced the plan on November 20, 2014 where he addressed the fact that illegals passing background checks and paying taxes could remain in the United States:

“If you’ve been in America for more than five years; if you have children who are American citizens or legal residents; if you register, pass a criminal background check, and you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes -- you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily without fear of deportation. You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. That’s what this deal is.”

The refunds will come from an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)  and will be retroactive, based on money earned while working illegally from as far back as 2011. This only applies to individuals who previously  registered for an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) and hold a valid Social Security number, but could still add up to billions of dollars in payments they were ineligible for prior to amnesty.

The Earned Income Tax Credit is a government grant intended to help working families earning a low to moderate income. It reduces the amount of tax owed and may also provide a refund. There is a long list of qualifications, but all individuals must file a tax return with the IRS, regardless of whether or not they owe taxes or are not required to file.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) demanded a solution to the loophole: “The IRS’s interpretation of the EITC eligibility requirements undermines congressional policy for not rewarding those working illegally in the United States.”

Because the IRS wants to be paid taxes based on earnings of illegal immigrants who do work in the United States they have issued millions of ITIN numbers—those that qualify through the loophole have paid taxes, but there is a long standing debate over whether illegal immigrants should be eligible for benefits at all.

According to the Obama administration, as many as 4 million illegal immigrants could earn “deferred action.” It is unclear how many of those could be eligible for the EITC.

Illegal immigrants are also entitled to additional refunds under the Child Tax Credit—according to the IRS, the law is vague over who is eligible, so for now illegal immigrants also qualify.

What do you think? Is this fair?

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Factoids about State of the Union

· There are 449 permanent seats on the floor of the House of Representatives, not nearly enough to seat all members from both bodies, the diplomatic corps, the cabinet, Joint Chiefs, the Supreme Court, et al. They had a sprinkling of those seats on the floor. Some lawmakers wind up standing toward the back. And not all lawmakers go or stay the entire time. We always see a few stragglers skipping out early through Statuary Hall.

·  Technically, lawmakers are not supposed to “save” seats along the aisle so they can greet the president and get to shake his hand on national television when enters the chamber. But a visit to the chamber a few moments ago reveals that several members have left bags, purses, hats and scarves on prized aisle seats to try to get a shot with Mr. Obama. Already lingering in the chamber are Reps. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Marcia Fudge (D-OH) and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX).

·  The House will again welcome the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps to the speech. That’s the longest-tenured diplomat in Washington. This is Roble Olhaye, who is the Ambassador to Washington fro Djibouti . Olhaye has served as Djibouti’s Ambassador to the US since 1988. He was away and missed last year’s State of the Union message.

·  Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution requires that the president brief Congress “from time to time” on the “state of the Union.” President George Washington did it in person for a while. Thomas Jefferson disbanded the practice, arguing it seemed too much like a “speech from the throne.” A written report served as the official briefing to Congress until President Woodrow Wilson delivered a formal address to Congress in 1913. President Jimmy Carter did not give a State of the Union speech to Congress in January, 1981 during his last days in office. But he did submit a written report. Carter is the last to do so.

And be sure to join me tonight at 11pmET for a Facebook Q&A following the State of the Union coverage on Fox!

 

Republicans clear first hurdle in stopping President Obama's executive move on immigration

Republicans cleared the first and easiest hurdle in stopping President Obama's executive move on immigration.
 
Lawmakers are heavily divided on whether or not President Obama should veto the bill if it reaches his desk, but everyone seems to think their opponent's position would jeopardize American safety.
 
This as brand new Fox polls show how voters see it all playing out.
Chief Congressional Correspondent Mike Emanuel with the story from Capitol Hill.

Senator Richard Burr on deadly terror attack

Bret  sits down with incoming chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee-- North Carolina Senator Richard Burr about the deadly terror attack at Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France 

U.S. Capitol Receives A Makeover

For the first time in 50 years the United States Capitol dome is receiving a much needed makeover--at the cost of nearly $60 million of your taxpayer dollars. 
 
Visitors and residents of the nations capitol can now look up on any given day to find workers high above on more than 50 miles of scaffolding restoring the iconic landmark.
 
Predominantly made of cast iron, the U.S. Capitol dome is exposed to the elements which causes damage to the exterior. The more than 1,300 current cracks put the artwork in the rotunda at risk due to water leaks.
 
In addition to repairing the cracks, workers will remove layers of old paint, and repair the decorative ornaments that adorn the structure. The ongoing restoration ensures preservation for the next several decades. 
 
The dome as we know it today was built in the 1850's and 1860's. When the House and Senate extensions were added the original dome looked small compared to the size of the Capitol-- so a larger dome was added to fit with the grandness of the building.
 
One interesting fact--the original dome was made primarily of wood and canvas (quite the fire hazard) and the materials were used in the steam engine to erect the modern day dome.
 
So what does the work mean for tourists and capitol staff? The majority of the work is done at night and on weekends to ensure minimal disruption to Congress. Tours are still underway, but visitors will notice a donut like interior canopy around the Apotheosis of Washington fresco. The canopy will remain in place throughout the construction.
 
The Architect of the Capitol office says the project is on time- and on budget- and should be complete by the 2017 presidential inauguration.

Delivering Toys to Children's National

The Fox News DC staff collected toys this Christmas to donate to Children's National-- the hospital where Paul has been treated since birth for his congenital heart defects. They were excited that "Army guys" helped us load the presents on the cart and we met up with Paul's cardiologist and his surgeon to deliver the toys to patient rooms. It was a great experience for the boys and a great way to give back this season. Merry Christmas from my family to yours--

Judge Andrew Napolitano: "Their decision was utterly gutless"

Judge Andrew Napolitano had this to say about Sony Pictures canceling the movie 'The Interview' set to be released on Christmas Day---do you agree? 

Jesse Harper, CEO i1 Biometrics on Sports Concussions

Concussions among athletes are a serious and growing problem. There are 1.6-1.8 million sports related concussions in the US each year according to statistics.  i1 Biometrics Vector MouthGuard can measure the location and level of each hit an athlete has absorbed and can create a real-time assessment of the athlete’s exposure to impacts sustained on the field.

Gov. Bobby Jindal: This president does not believe in American exceptionalism

A few of the questions and answers from Gov. Jindal that you didn't get to see in the piece that ran on Special Report--the biggest issue facing our country, the definition of marriage and his thoughts on discrimination, his faith, his experience in government, and foreign policy issues. 

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