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Republicans Working To Resolve Issues In ACA Repeal Bill, Fed Likely To Raise Rates In March

March 06, 2017
Republicans must resolve several issues in ObamaCare repeal bill before passage; House to provide $578B in defense spending bill for 2017; Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro makes cutting trade deficit his top policy focus; U.S. factory orders increase 1.2% in January, surpassing 1% estimate; Fed Officials Signal Indicate Likely Rate Increase in March.

Policy Watch

  • Republicans must resolve several issues in ObamaCare repeal bill before passage. With narrow majorities in both the House and the Senate, the GOP will only be able to pass new repeal and replace ObamaCare healthcare legislation if they remain united. However, several complicated issues raised by the repeal effort are currently dividing the party, including tax credits, Medicaid expansion, funding the healthcare bill, and Planned Parenthood. First, Republicans are divided on how to provide tax credits to help people pay for health insurance. House Republican leaders are pushing for a refundable, advanceable tax credit, yet some conservatives disapprove of this, calling it a new government entitlement. Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) sponsored a replacement bill in the House and Senate that would instead offer a tax credit of up to $5,000 to help people fund health savings accounts. Other Republicans have suggested a tax deduction rather than a tax credit – yet a tax deduction would do little to help low-income Americans who often pay no federal income taxes already. Second, Republicans are split on whether or not to keep Medicaid expansion. Republicans from states that expanded Medicare want to keep it and prevent people from losing coverage, while some Republicans argue that states that did not expand Medicaid should not have to subsidize the states that did. Third, House Republican leaders are unsure of how to pay for the ObamaCare replacement after repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) taxes. One option is capping the tax exemption from employer-sponsored healthcare coverage, while some Republicans would prefer to keep some of the ACA’s taxes rather than creating new ones. Finally, while some Republicans, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) want to defund Planned Parenthood through the ObamaCare repeal, the idea faces opposition from centrist Senate Republicans from states where the Planned Parenthood clinics have served as key healthcare providers. [The Hill]
  • House to provide $578B in defense spending bill for 2017. The House is preparing to tackle defense spending for fiscal year 2017 with a new defense spending bill that would provide $577.9 billion for the Pentagon, composed of $516.1 billion in base budget funding and $61.8 billion for the war fund known as the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account. An expected supplemental budget request from the administration is not included in the bill yet, as Congress is still waiting on it. Like the rest of the government, the Pentagon is currently operating at fiscal 2016 funding levels after Congress passed a stopgap spending measure at the end of last year. The stopgap measure doesn’t expire until the end of April; however, congressional leaders hope to pass the defense spending bill for fiscal year 2017 earlier to provide the Department of Defense with budget certainty. The funding level is consistent with the fiscal 2017 defense policy bill signed into law by former President Obama in December and approved by both the House and the Senate. The House Rules Committee is scheduled to take up the rule for the bill at 5 pm on Tuesday, meaning that the bill should come to the House floor midweek. [The Hill]
  • Trump Trade Adviser Peter Navarro Makes Cutting Trade Deficit His Top Policy Focus. The director of President Trump’s newly formed National Trade Council said on Monday that the administration is making the reduction of U.S. trade deficits its top policy focus. Trade adviser Peter Navarro said at a conference of business economists that the U.S. faced a growing economic and potential national security risk from the commercial behavior of its major trading partners, including China and Germany. In his speech, he echoed concerns about China, warning trade deficits risked U.S. security because of foreign ownership of the nation’s food supply chain, technology companies and large manufacturing operations. He warns of a “rapidly militarizing strategic rival intent on hegemony in Asia and perhaps world hegemony” and that the U.S. could lose a “broader cold war…not by shots being fired but by cash registers ringing.” Many economists have criticized the administration’s narrow focus on trade deficits, which they say aren’t categorically bad. This is because trade deficits generate current-account surpluses and encourages foreign investment in the U.S. Mr. Navarro said a major goal of the administration would be to reposition the U.S. as a manufacturer of raw goods and expand bilateral trade agreements to reduce trade deficits. He says the goal is not for the U.S. to raise tariffs or non-tariff barriers, but to encourage the country’s trading partners to lower theirs. [WSJ]

Economic Indicators & News

  • U.S. factory orders increase 1.2% in January, surpassing 1% estimate. New orders for U.S.-made factory goods increased for a second straight month in January. According to the Commerce Department on Monday, factory goods orders rose 1.2 percent after an unrevised 1.3 percent jump in December. Compared to a year ago, factory orders were up 5.5 percent. Total shipments of manufactured goods increased 0.2 percent after accelerating 2.5 percent in December. The results indicate that the manufacturing sector recovery gained momentum as rising prices for commodities spurred demand for machinery. Manufacturing accounts for about 12 percent of the U.S. economy, and is recovering after being hit by lower oil prices, a strong dollar and an inventory overhang. [CNBC]
  • Fed Officials Signal Indicate Likely Rate Increase in March. Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen and her top deputy indicated that the Federal Reserve is on track to raise short-term interest rates as soon as this month and will continue to pick up the pace as the year goes on. Increasing the benchmark federal-funds rate at the Fed’s mid-March meeting would signal greater confidence in the global economy and allow officials to space out increases in the interest rates evenly over the course of the year. Fed officials increased the federal-funds rate by a quarter percentage point, to between 0.50% and 0.75% in December, and said that they expect to raise rates this year by another 0.75 percentage point, in three quarter-point increases. On Friday, Ms. Yellen described that projection as “consistent” with the bank’s expectations. Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said Friday that the economic indicators in the last three months have supported the bank’s projections. If inflation and employment data continue to meet the central bank’s expectations, Ms. Yellen said that “a further adjustment of the federal-funds rate would likely be appropriate.” [WSJ]

PENN WHARTON PPI
RESOURCE SPOTLIGHT:

  • <h3>National Bureau of Economic Research (Public Use Data Archive)</h3><p><img width="180" height="43" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/43/478_nber.rev.1407530465.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image478 lw_align_right" data-max-w="329" data-max-h="79"/>Founded in 1920, the <strong>National Bureau of Economic Research</strong> is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of how the economy works. The NBER is committed to undertaking and disseminating unbiased economic research among public policymakers, business professionals, and the academic community.</p><p> Quick Link to <strong>Public Use Data Archive</strong>: <a href="http://www.nber.org/data/" target="_blank">http://www.nber.org/data/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>HUD State of the Cities Data Systems</h3><p><strong><img width="200" height="200" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image482 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg 3x" data-max-w="612" data-max-h="613"/>The SOCDS provides data for individual Metropolitan Areas, Central Cities, and Suburbs.</strong> It is a portal for non-national data made available through a number of outside institutions (e.g. Census, BLS, FBI and others).</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/socds.html" target="_blank">http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/socds.html</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>MapStats</h3><p> A feature of FedStats, MapStats allows users to search for <strong>state, county, city, congressional district, or Federal judicial district data</strong> (demographic, economic, and geographic).</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.fedstats.gov/mapstats/" target="_blank">http://www.fedstats.gov/mapstats/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>The Penn World Table</h3><p> The Penn World Table provides purchasing power parity and national income accounts converted to international prices for 189 countries/territories for some or all of the years 1950-2010.</p><p><a href="https://pwt.sas.upenn.edu/php_site/pwt71/pwt71_form.php" target="_blank">Quick link.</a> </p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Congressional Budget Office</h3><p><img width="180" height="180" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/180/380_cbo-logo.rev.1406822035.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image380 lw_align_right" data-max-w="180" data-max-h="180"/>Since its founding in 1974, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has produced independent analyses of budgetary and economic issues to support the Congressional budget process.</p><p> The agency is strictly nonpartisan and conducts objective, impartial analysis, which is evident in each of the dozens of reports and hundreds of cost estimates that its economists and policy analysts produce each year. CBO does not make policy recommendations, and each report and cost estimate discloses the agency’s assumptions and methodologies. <strong>CBO provides budgetary and economic information in a variety of ways and at various points in the legislative process.</strong> Products include baseline budget projections and economic forecasts, analysis of the President’s budget, cost estimates, analysis of federal mandates, working papers, and more.</p><p> Quick link to Products page: <a href="http://www.cbo.gov/about/our-products" target="_blank">http://www.cbo.gov/about/our-products</a></p><p> Quick link to Topics: <a href="http://www.cbo.gov/topics" target="_blank">http://www.cbo.gov/topics</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>NOAA National Climatic Data Center</h3><p><img width="200" height="198" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image483 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg 3x" data-max-w="954" data-max-h="945"/>NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is responsible for preserving, monitoring, assessing, and providing public access to the Nation’s treasure of <strong>climate and historical weather data and information</strong>.</p><p> Quick link to home page: <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/" target="_blank">http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/</a></p><p> Quick link to NCDC’s climate and weather datasets, products, and various web pages and resources: <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/quick-links" target="_blank">http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/quick-links</a></p><p> Quick link to Text & Map Search: <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/" target="_blank">http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED®)</h3><p><strong><img width="180" height="79" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/79/481_fred-logo.rev.1407788243.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image481 lw_align_right" data-max-w="222" data-max-h="97"/>An online database consisting of more than 72,000 economic data time series from 54 national, international, public, and private sources.</strong> FRED®, created and maintained by Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, goes far beyond simply providing data: It combines data with a powerful mix of tools that help the user understand, interact with, display, and disseminate the data.</p><p> Quick link to data page: <a href="http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/tags/series" target="_blank">http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/tags/series</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>National Center for Education Statistics</h3><p><strong><img width="400" height="80" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/400/height/80/479_nces.rev.1407787656.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image479 lw_align_right" data-max-w="400" data-max-h="80"/>The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations.</strong> NCES is located within the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences. NCES has an extensive Statistical Standards Program that consults and advises on methodological and statistical aspects involved in the design, collection, and analysis of data collections in the Center. To learn more about the NCES, <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/about/" target="_blank">click here</a>.</p><p> Quick link to NCES Data Tools: <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/datatools/index.asp?DataToolSectionID=4" target="_blank">http://nces.ed.gov/datatools/index.asp?DataToolSectionID=4</a></p><p> Quick link to Quick Tables and Figures: <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/quicktables/" target="_blank">http://nces.ed.gov/quicktables/</a></p><p> Quick link to NCES Fast Facts (Note: The primary purpose of the Fast Facts website is to provide users with concise information on a range of educational issues, from early childhood to adult learning.): <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/" target="_blank">http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/#</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Federal Aviation Administration: Accident & Incident Data</h3><p><img width="100" height="100" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image80 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg 3x" data-max-w="550" data-max-h="550"/>The NTSB issues an accident report following each investigation. These reports are available online for reports issued since 1996, with older reports coming online soon. The reports listing is sortable by the event date, report date, city, and state.</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.faa.gov/data_research/accident_incident/" target="_blank">http://www.faa.gov/data_research/accident_incident/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Internal Revenue Service: Tax Statistics</h3><p><img width="155" height="200" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/155/height/200/486_irs_logo.rev.1407789424.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image486 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/155/height/200/486_irs_logo.rev.1407789424.jpg 2x" data-max-w="463" data-max-h="596"/>Find statistics on business tax, individual tax, charitable and exempt organizations, IRS operations and budget, and income (SOI), as well as statistics by form, products, publications, papers, and other IRS data.</p><p> Quick link to <strong>Tax Statistics, where you will find a wide range of tables, articles, and data</strong> that describe and measure elements of the U.S. tax system: <a href="http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Stats-2" target="_blank">http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Stats-2</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>The World Bank Data (U.S.)</h3><p><img width="130" height="118" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image484 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1406" data-max-h="1275"/>The <strong>World Bank</strong> provides World Development Indicators, Surveys, and data on Finances and Climate Change.</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://data.worldbank.org/country/united-states" target="_blank">http://data.worldbank.org/country/united-states</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>USDA Nutrition Assistance Data</h3><p><img width="180" height="124" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image485 lw_align_right" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1233" data-max-h="850"/>Data and research regarding the following <strong>USDA Nutrition Assistance</strong> programs are available through this site:</p><ul><li>Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) </li><li>Food Distribution Programs </li><li>School Meals </li><li>Women, Infants and Children </li></ul><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.fns.usda.gov/data-and-statistics" target="_blank">http://www.fns.usda.gov/data-and-statistics</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>