House Unveils Billion Dollar Disaster Aid Bill
December 19, 2017
House unveils $81 billion disaster aid bill; GOP expected to pass tax bill Tuesday; Senate rejects Export-Import bank nominee; Single family housing starts and permits surge in November.
- House unveils $81 billion disaster aid bill. Monday night the House of Representatives revealed details of a staggering $81 billion disaster aid bill, which, if approved, will bring total spending on the hurricanes and wildfires this past fall to $130 billion, exceeding spending after Katrina and Sandy. The bill will fund FEMA, several Community Development Block Grant programs, and $12 billion in reconstruction projects by the Army Corps of Engineers. The amount is just under double the $44 billion requested by the White House. [Politico]
- GOP expected to pass tax bill Tuesday. The Republican-controlled Congress will begin a vote Tuesday evening to pass its first major piece of legislation, the biggest change to the tax code in 30 years. Tax legislation has moved quickly through Congress, having been first introduced just six weeks ago in early November. The bill will add $1.5 trillion to the deficit, and is opposed by 52% of adults, according to recent polling. Middle income households will see average cuts of $900 next year, while the top 1% will receive average cuts of $51,000. Vice President Pence will preside over the vote in the Senate, in case his tie-breaking powers are needed. The legislation will also repeal the individual mandate, a fine for not purchasing health insurance coverage. [The Hill]
- Senate rejects Export-Import bank nominee. The Senate Banking Committee, in a 13-10 vote, voted against confirming President Trump’s Ex-Im bank nominee. The nominee, Scott Garrett, a former Republican Congressman, stoked controversy as lawmakers grilled him on his efforts to disband the Export-Import bank while in Congress. Two Republicans, in addition to all of the Democrats on the panel, voted not to confirm Garrett. [The Hill]
Economic Indicators & News
- Single family housing starts and permits surge in November. The number of US single family homes started in the month of November has surged to a 10-year high, a welcome sign in a tight housing market with high prices and supply constraints. Strong employment and home appreciation has fueled demand for housing, which has outstripped supply for some time. Single family home building jumped 5.3%, the highest levels since September 2007. Single family home permits also rose 1.4%, with building gains concentrated in the West. [Reuters]