GOP Leaders East Concerns on Healthcare Legislation
May 02, 2017
Also, ISM Manufacturing Index Decreased to 54.8 in April from 57.2 in March; U.S. Consumer Spending Rises After Accounting for Inflation, While Prices Drop in March.
- Short on votes to pass new healthcare legislation, House GOP leaders aim to ease concerns. GOP lawmakers attending a closed-door meeting said their leadership gave no timeline for a vote on the ObamaCare healthcare replacement bill, even though the White House said that the vote count was getting closer and that the vote could happen this week. Lawmakers leaving the GOP conference meeting said that they were told leadership is “close” to the 216 votes needed for a majority, yet many representatives still have concerns about how the bill would impact people with pre-existing conditions. Former Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) announced Tuesday that he would vote “no” on the bill, citing concerns about weakening pre-existing condition protections. As a former healthcare leader for Republicans at a committee chairman, he noted in a radio interview with WHTC that the conservative Freedom Caucus insisted on the new amendment, which he blames for weakening pre-existing condition protections. There are 22 Republicans opposed to the bill, one away from the maximum number of defections leaders can afford while still passing the bill, according to the Hill’s Whip List. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) argued that the revised bill would offer multiple “layers” of protections, including allowing states to waive ObamaCare protections preventing people from being charged more based on their health, which could lead to exorbitant premiums putting coverage out of reach. [The Hill]
Economic Indicators & News
- ISM Manufacturing Index Decreased to 54.8 in April from 57.2 in March. U.S. factory activity eased in April, as growth continues to be solid but somewhat slower heading into the second quarter of the year. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) on Monday reported that its closely watched index of U.S. manufacturing activity fell to 54.8 in April from 57.2 in March. A number above 50 indicates expansion. This marked the second straight monthly decline and is in line with other surveys that indicate that the soaring optimism after Donald Trump’s election settling down to more sustainable levels. Even with the April decline, ISM manufacturing readings for each month this year have been higher than any month in 2015 or 2016. The new orders index fell 7 percentage points to 57.5 and employment sank 6.9 points to 52, but these subindexes that fell most sharply still remain in positive territory. [WSJ]
- U.S. Consumer Spending Rises After Accounting for Inflation, While Prices Drop in March. Americans’ spending grew steadily in March after accounting for inflation, positioning the economy to rebound after slowing down in the winter. According to the Commerce Department on Monday, personal consumption, a measure of what households spend, rose 0.3% after inflation following two months of declines. Without accounting for inflation, spending was flat. However, consumer prices fell, a sign of underlying weakness that could lead the Federal Reserve to reconsider further increases in setting its benchmark interest rate. Spending is expected to pick up in the spring due largely to rising incomes. Personal income – including wages, salaries, investment returns and government assistance – rose 0.2% in March from a month earlier. Real disposable income – or the money left over after inflation and taxes – grew 0.5%, the strongest gain since late 2015. [WSJ]