January 17, 2014
Senate Passes Spending Bill; Housing Starts Declined 9.8% in Dec.; Obama to Announce Changes to NSA Section 215
On the Hill
- Yesterday, the Senate passed the $1.1 trillion spending bill with over 70 votes. The bill had received an overwhelming majority vote in the House on Wednesday and largely follows upon the budget agreement of December, designating how the money will be appropriated through the year.
- Housing starts in December declined by 9.8% to a rate of 999,000, according to data released this morning by the US Department of housing and Urban Development. This rate is still 1.6% above year ago levels, and the number of total housing starts for 2013 (estimated at 923,400 units) is 18.3% higher than 2012. Building permits did decline by 3.0% in December, suggesting a potential slowing in housing development.
- Industrial production in December grew for the fifth straight month, rising by 0.3%. Manufacturing and mining industries helped to drive the increase, rising in production by 0.4% and 0.8% respectively. Industrial production in the fourth quarter of last year increased at an annualized rate of 6.8%.
- The first January value for the Consumer Sentiment Index reveals that the index has dipped to 80.5 after a measure of 82.5 in December.
- Today, President Obama will announce changes to the controversial NSA Section 215 telephone metadata program while speaking at the DOJ. Among other things, he will reportedly propose that phone records and call data be stored in private with government access only after a judge’s approval. The change, which had been regarded as unlikely by reports earlier this week, is in keeping with the suggestions of an outside group of five special advisors appointed by the president to review the program.