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Major House Committees Advance ACA Repeal as GOP Healthcare Plan Revealed To Only Delay “Cadillac Tax”

March 10, 2017
Republican Health Plan May Delay, Not Repeal, ‘Cadillac Tax’; Two Major House Committees advance ACA repeal legislation; Commerce Secretary Indicates NAFTA Talks Could Start in Late June; U.S. Added 235,000 Jobs in February, Decreasing Unemployment Rate to 4.7%; U.S. Household Net Worth Climbs to Record $92.8 Trillion in Fourth Quarter of 2016.

Policy Watch

  • Republican Health Plan May Delay, Not Repeal, ‘Cadillac Tax’. For more than seven years, Republicans have complained about the Affordable Care Act’s Cadillac tax on the most expensive employer-sponsored health-insurance plans. The Cadillac tax is a 40% levy on high-cost employer-sponsored health insurance plans. However, their new health-care legislation – which eliminates the rest of the Affordable Care Act’s major tax increases – does not repeal the tax. Instead, the new Republican Health Plan delays the tax’s start date from 2020 to 2025, a concession to Senate rules that create an incentive to keep tax increases lurking in the middle distance. The plans’ lead Republican author and other lawmakers say that the Republicans have no intention of allowing the Cadillac tax to take effect in 2025, leaving the tax in limbo. The Republicans, who have 52 seats in the Senate, are advancing their health plans using a budget procedure known as reconciliation, which allows the Senate pass the bill with a simple majority, instead of the 60-vote supermajority common for other legislation. Using reconciliation comes with restrictions though. Reconciliation bills can’t increase long-run budget deficits, and repealing the Cadillac ta would remove a significant revenue source and health care cost constraint. In 2024, for example, the delay would cut taxes by $13.6 billion, according to the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation. [WSJ]
  • Two Major House Committees advance ObamaCare repeal legislation. The House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced the new GOP health care bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare, titled the American Health Care Act, on a party-line vote on Thursday afternoon after 27 hours of continuous debate. The committee markup was approved by a vote of 31-23. The House Ways and Means Committee passed the legislation early Thursday morning. The measure will now go to the House Budget Committee, which plans for a vote in the full House within several weeks. The plan is still missing a score from the Congressional Budget Office and lacking an estimate of the cost of the plan and how many people could lose coverage under it. Republicans declined amendments from Democrats that would have removed a provision defunding Planned Parenthood, kept ObamaCare’s patient protections and changed the title of the bill to “Republican Pay More for Less Act.” Democrats also argued that changing Medicaid to a per-capita cap system would result in a loss of benefits for low-income Americans. [The Hill]
  • Commerce Secretary Indicates NAFTA Talks Could Start in Late June. The Trump administration reported that talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) could begin as early as late June of this year. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Friday that the administration could formally notify congress in the coming weeks about its intent to start talks on NAFTA. Informing Congress of this intent would allow the Trump administration to begin negotiations in late June or July. Congress must be notified at least 90 days before the U.S. administration launches formal talks on a trade agreement eligible for expedited consideration. President Trump has vowed to renegotiate NAFTA in his 2016 campaign or pull the U.S. out of the agreement if Mexico and Canada don’t come to the bargaining table. The president’s advisers have said they prefer bilateral trade negotiations rater than the multilateral talks that former President Barack Obama pursued. Mr. Ross said that the NAFTA talks “will either be two parallel bilaterals with symmetrical provisions or one new trilateral.” [WSJ]

Economic Indicators & News

  • U.S. Added 235,000 Jobs in February, Decreasing Unemployment Rate to 4.7%. The growth in job creation remained robust in February and wages increased, a sign that the U.S. labor market is healthy enough for the Federal Reserve to raise short-term interest rates next week. According to the Labor Department on Friday, nonfarm payrolls rose by a seasonally adjusted 235,000 in February from the prior month. The unemployment rate decreased to 4.7% as workforce participation and employment both rose. The jobs data surpassed the estimate of economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal, who expected 197,000 new jobs. The Labor Department also reported that December nonfarm payrolls were revised down to a gain of 155,000, while January’s growth was marked up to 238,000. Job growth over the past three months has averaged 209,000. Friday’s report also indicated that the tightening job market is placing upward pressure on wage growth. Average hourly earnings for private-sector workers rose 0.2% in February from the prior month, and wages were up 2.8% from a year earlier. Job gains in February were broad across most sectors. Educational services, manufacturing, health care and mining accounted for much of the hiring in February. Construction employment also surged. [WSJ, Washington Post]
  • U.S. Household Net Worth Climbs to Record $92.8 Trillion in Fourth Quarter of 2016. U.S. household net worth increased to a record $92.8 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2016, driven in part by an end-of-year surge in stocks and a steady climb in home prices that added more than $2 trillion of wealth to household balance sheets. The stock market was the biggest contributor to the increase, adding $728 billion to household balance sheets in the fourth quarter, according to the Federal Reserve’s quarterly financial accounts report. In the fourth quarter of 2016, the stock market rallied by about 8%, with many investors anticipating tax cuts, regulatory relief and fiscal stimulus after the election of President Trump. U.S. households lost nearly $13 trillion in household net worth during the 2007-09 recession, but since the first quarter of 2009, wealth has soared by $38 trillion due to an eight-year rally in stocks and a recovery in home prices. Real-estate gains contributed to this quarter’s rise, as the value of real estate owned by households and nonprofit organizations increased by $557 billion in the fourth quarter to a record $26.5 trillion. The value exceeds the housing bubble’s peak value by $1.6 trillion. The ratio of household net worth to disposable personal income also reached a new peak, as household net worth is now 6.5 times higher than personal income. [WSJ]

PENN WHARTON PPI
RESOURCE SPOTLIGHT:

  • <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>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>
  • <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>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>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>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>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>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>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>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>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>