Hurricane Harvey Aid, Widening U.S. Trade Gap
September 06, 2017
he House on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved nearly $8 billion in disaster aid in response to Hurricane Harvey. Top Democrats said on Wednesday that they will support linking immediate help for Hurricane Harvey recovery with a short-term debt limit increase of three months. U.S. Trade Gap Widened Less than Expected in July.
- Democrats support tying Hurricane Harvey aid to debt limit increase. The House on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved nearly $8 billion in disaster aid in response to Hurricane Harvey. Top Democrats said on Wednesday that they will support linking immediate help for Hurricane Harvey recovery with a short-term debt limit increase of three months. The Democratic leaders believe that their offer will give “a bipartisan path forward to ensure prompt delivery of Harvey aid as well as avoiding a default, while both sides work together to address government funding, DREAMers, and health care,” according to Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in a joint statement. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) called the Democratic proposal “unworkable.” A Democratic aide said that the three-month offer would allow Congress to avoid defaulting and give an initial round of recovery funding, while allowing Democrats to push their priorities in upcoming negotiations, particularly on the DREAM Act, which would allow children brought to the United States illegally to continue to live and work freely in the country. [The Hill, New York Times]
Economic Indicators & News
- U.S. Trade Gap Widened Less than Expected in July. Data from the Department of Commerce showed that the U.S. trade deficit widened less than forecast in July. Rising energy and aircraft exports helped to offset decreases in shipments of autos and household goods. The trade gap increased 0.3% to $43.7 billion, less than the Bloomberg estimate of $44.7 billion. Exports decreased by 0.3% to $194.4 billion, primarily due to drops in passenger cars and consumer goods. Imports also decreased 0.2% to $238.1 billion on crude oil, passenger cars, and pharmaceutical preparations. [Bloomberg]
- Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer plans to resign by October 13. Stanley Fischer, the vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, cited “personal reasons” for his decision to resign from his position in a letter to President Trump. Fischer has served at the Fed for three years. His term was set to expire next June. His resignation will create a key vacancy on the Fed’s Board of Governors before February 2018, when Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s term ends. Yellen said she would stay on for another term, although Trump has the option to nominate someone else. The central bank is now preparing to start unwinding the $4.5 trillion balance sheet it built up by buying bonds and other assets post-recession, and gradually reverse its crisis-era policies that are less necessary now after 8 years of economic expansion. Fischer is considered a centrist on monetary policy, whose views closely aligned to Yellen’s. [Business Insider]