EPA To Withdraw From Clean Power Plan
October 09, 2017
EPA head to sign rule on withdrawal from the Clean Power Plan; Houses passes budget, paving way for tax reform; U.S. deficit spending reached $668 billion in fiscal 2017.
- EPA head to sign rule on withdrawal from the Clean Power Plan. Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said on Monday that he would sign a proposed rule on Tuesday to begin withdrawing from the Clean Power Plan, one of former President Barack Obama’s regulations to fight climate change. The Obama administration created the rule to reduce pollution from power plants by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The utilities are the largest emitters of greenhouse gases. The effort to undo the Clean Power Plan rule is part of a broader plan by the Trump administration to revive the U.S. coal industry and increase domestic fossil fuels production. The EPA now claims that the Clean Power Plan introduced by Obama in 2015 was illegal, yet it has not decided whether it will replace the Clean Power Plan after it repeals it, according to a draft of the proposal on Friday. [Reuters]
- Houses passes budget, paving way for tax reform. The House passed its 2018 budget resolution in a party-line vote, bringing it another step closer to sending tax-reform legislation to President Trump. In a 219-206 vote, lawmakers approved a budget resolution for 2018 that sets up a process for shielding the GOP tax bill from a filibuster in the Senate. 18 Republicans voted against the resolution, in addition to all Democrats that were present. The proposal would consolidate the current seven individual tax brackets into three, with rates of 12 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent. Committees may choose to establish a fourth rate above 35 percent for the wealthiest Americans. The current top individual rate is 39.6 percent. The tax plan is now estimated to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit over a decade. The government is operating under a temporary spending measure that expires on December 8. Congress and Trump must strike a new deal to prevent a government shutdown after the deadline. The House budget provides instructions for $203 billion in spending cuts from welfare programs in areas including nutritional assistance and education, and programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. [The Hill]
Economic Indicators & News
- U.S. deficit spending reached $668 billion in fiscal 2017. The federal government’s deficit spending reached $668 billion in fiscal year 2017, an $82 billion increase over 2016, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The deficit increased to 3.5 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product for the fiscal year, up from 3.2 percent of GDP in 2016. Federal spending jumped $130 billion in fiscal 2017, largely driven by a handful of agencies. Spending for Social Security rose $29 billion and Medicare spending increased $22 billion. The U.S. debt exceeded $20 trillion for the first time in September. Deficits higher than economic growth add to a country’s overall debt burden, which could result in higher borrowing costs and in extreme cases, an ability to pay debts. According to the CBO, deficit spending in 2017 was about $25 billion less than expected due to scaled-back spending. Overall federal revenues were up 1 percent, driven by higher wages and salaries. [The Hill]