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Top of the News

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The latest headlines.

BILL WOLFF (Announcer): This is NPR.

RACHEL MARTIN, host:

Thanks, Rico. Good morning, everyone.

It was President Bush's swan song, his last State of the Union address. And while he did address the war in Iraq, the American economy was front and center. And the president, again, took the opportunity to urge Congress to pass a $150 billion stimulus plan that he says would provide a robust boost to the economy. The House takes up the measure today.

Here's NPR's Brian Naylor.

BRIAN NAYLOR: The stimulus program would provide tax rebate checks of up to $600 for individuals, twice that for couples, as well a $300 per child bonus. It's likely to pass with overwhelming bipartisan support. The Senate, meanwhile, plans to begin consideration of a different measure that would provide rebates to low-income seniors living on Social Security, as well as extend jobless benefits. If the Senate approves its plan, the two chambers will have to work out the differences. Congressional leaders hope to have a package on the president's desk by the middle of next month.

MARTIN: NPR's Brian Naylor reporting. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve is considering yet another interest rate cut. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues are scheduled to open a two-day meeting today to plot out their next move. The meeting comes about a week after the dramatic three-quarter rate cut last week designed to give the U.S. economy a much needed boost in consumer spending and avert a possible recession.

And it was a complicated affair. First, Sally Mae and J.C. Flowers made a long-term commitment. Then, Sally Mae got jilted by J.C. Flowers. Then, Sally Mae sued J.C. Flowers. Now Sally Mae has come to grips with the break up, dropped the suit and moved on. Last spring, Sally Mae announced it was being acquired by the private equity firm in a $25.3 billion deal. J.C. Flowers then bailed because of the global credit crunch. Sally Mae sued the private equity firm for walking away and had been seeking $900 million in damages.

Yesterday, the student loan company said they've reached a settlement which lets Flowers off the hook for any penalty charges. Instead, Sally Mae says it's now secured a new $31 billion financing deal from several banks, including Bank of America.

A little more business news this morning. Al Gore's media network, Current TV, is going public. The viewer-created cable television network filed an initial public offering yesterday, promising to sell up to $100 million in stock. The former vice president founded Current TV in 2005 in an effort to attract a younger demographic. The network features videos submitted by viewers, as well as professionally produced content. Current TV is now available in 51 million households in the U.S., Britain and Ireland. The price range and the number of shares to be sold have not yet been released.

That is the news. It is always online at npr.org.

WOLFF: This is NPR.

MARTIN: Rico and Alison, back to you.

ALISON STEWART, host:

Rachel, I have a late breaking newsflash for you.

MARTIN: What is it?

STEWART: And I got it off of Twitter.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Our Twitter feed.

MARTIN: That reliable source of news and information.

STEWART: Yes. Ian, our producer, is on his way in, and he's bringing oatmeal butterscotch cookies. That's for everybody on the staff, just so you know.

MARTIN: Awesome.

STEWART: Yes.

RICO GALLIANO, host:

I picked the right day to start work.

STEWART: You sure did.

Thanks, Rachel.

MARTIN: You bet.

STEWART: Hey, join us at Twitter, Twitter.com. BPP is our tag there.

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