JIM LEHRER: In other news today, President Obama announced a crackdown on tax loopholes. It’s designed to save jobs and to raise $210 billion over 10 years. The proposal includes preventing companies from deferring taxes on profits made overseas and curbing off-shore bank accounts often used to avoid paying taxes.
In Washington, the president said it was all part of a plan to simplify the tax system.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It will take time to undo the damage of distorted provisions that were slipped into our tax code by lobbyists and special interests. But with the steps I’m announcing today, we are beginning to crack down on Americans who are bending or breaking the rules. And we’re helping to ensure that all Americans are contributing their fair share.
JIM LEHRER: Mr. Obama also plans to boost enforcement by hiring 800 new Internal Revenue Service agents. The moves face opposition in Congress and from some large multinational corporations.
Iraq signaled it will not extend a deadline for U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraqi cities. An Iraqi government spokesman said the June 30th date would stand. It comes in spite of a recent uptick in violence. Today, a pair of car bombs exploded in Baghdad near the oil ministry and a police academy. Three Iraqis were killed.
And to the north, an Iraqi soldier killed two U.S. soldiers on Saturday at a combat post near Mosul.
Upbeat data on the U.S. housing market fueled a rally on Wall Street. The National Association of Realtors reported sales of existing homes grew more than 3 percent in March. The second-consecutive monthly gain spurred hopes the market may be nearing a bottom.
In response, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 214 points to close above 8,426. The Nasdaq rose 44 points to close at 1,763.
Veteran Republican leader Jack Kemp died over the weekend from cancer. Kemp represented western New York for 18 years in the U.S. House. He later served as housing secretary to the first President Bush and was the Republican vice presidential nominee on the ticket with Bob Dole in 1996. He went into politics after a career as a star National Football League quarterback. Jack Kemp was 73 years old.