The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Business

January 21, 2010

Pelosi: House lacks votes to OK Senate health bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she lacks the votes to quickly move the Senate’s sweeping health overhaul bill through the House, a potentially devastating blow to President Barack Obama’s signature issue.

Pelosi, D-Calif., made the comment to reporters after House Democrats held a closed-door meeting at which participants vented frustration with the Senate’s massive version of the legislation.

Her concession meant there was little hope for a White House-backed plan to quickly push the Senate-approved health bill through the House, followed by a separate measure making changes sought by House members, such as easing the Senate’s tax on higher-cost health plans. Such an approach would be “problematic,” she said.

“In its present form without any changes I don’t think it’s possible to pass the Senate bill in the House,” Pelosi said, adding, “I don’t see the votes for it at this time.”

Pelosi’s remarks signaled that advancing health legislation through Congress will likely be a lengthy process — despite Democrats’ desire for a quick election-year pivot to address jobs and the economy, which polls show are the public’s top concern.

“We’re not in a big rush,” Pelosi said. “Pause, reflect.”

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  • Exxon Mobil posts lowest annual profit since ’02 EW YORK (AP) — Exxon Mobil’s earnings were cut by more than half to $19.3 billion in 2009, the lowest total in seven years, as company refineries struggled with a plunge in fuel consumption around the world.

    But the world’s largest publicly traded oil company remains the profit champ among U.S. public companies. Wal-Mart is expected to earn $14 billion for the year ended Jan. 31, and Microsoft earned $14.6 billion in the fiscal year ended in June 2009.

    Exxon’s results have swung with the price of oil and the impact of the global recession. When oil spiked above $147 a barrel in mid-2008, Exxon set ever-higher marks for earnings by a U.S. company. Then oil prices plummeted, and Exxon suffered a yearlong hangover that included its smallest quarterly earnings in several years.

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  • Toyota tells dealers parts on way to fix pedals WASHINGTON (AP) — Toyota Motor Corp. said Monday its dealers should get parts to fix a sticky gas pedal problem by the end of this week as the automaker apologized to customers and tried to bring an end to a recall that has affected 4.2 million vehicles worldwide.

    The company said in a statement that it has begun shipping parts and is training dealers on the repairs. Some dealers will stay open around the clock to fix the 2.3 million cars and trucks affected by the recall in the U.S.

    Technical bulletins on how to install the new parts should arrive at dealers by midweek, the company told dealers in an e-mail. It was not clear exactly when repairs would start, although dealers have said they’ll begin as soon as possible.

    The automaker also said Monday it would suspend production of eight U.S. models affected by the recall this week, with factories restarting on Feb. 8.

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  • Apple introduces new $499 iPad tablet computer SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the company’s much-anticipated iPad tablet computer Wednesday, calling it a new third category of mobile device that is neither smart phone nor laptop, but something in between.

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  • Dealers swamped by worried Toyota drivers NEW YORK (AP) — Toyota dealers across the country were swamped with calls Wednesday from concerned drivers but had few answers a day after the company announced it would stop selling and building eight models because of faulty gas pedals.

    Toyota insisted the problem — sudden, uncontrolled acceleration — was “rare and infrequent” and said dealers should deal with customers “on a case-by-case basis.” But drivers of Toyotas and those who share the road with them were left with uncertainty.

    In an unprecedented move, the company said late Tuesday it would halt sales for the eight models — which make up more than half of Toyota’s U.S. sales volume — to fix the gas pedals. Last week, Toyota issued a recall for the same eight models, affecting 2.3 million vehicles.

    A private firm said it had identified 275 crashes and 18 deaths because of sudden, uncontrollable acceleration in Toyotas since 1999.

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