GOP Scrambles to Avoid Government Shutdown
January 18, 2018
Also, Trump administration bans Haitians from low-skilled work visas; Jobless claims at 45-year low, housing starts down.
- GOP scrambles for votes to avoid shutdown. With another government shutdown looming, Republicans are struggling to come up with enough support in the House of Representatives to pass another continuing resolution (CR), a stop-gap funding bill. Republicans have tried to persuade Democrats to support the measure by adding in sweeteners like a six-year extension for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and delaying certain ACA related taxes, but, due to the party’s uncompromising stance on DACA, have come up short. That standoff requires Republicans to rack up GOP votes, but members from some corners of the party’s right-wing, like in the House Freedom Caucus, have been less than supportive of the bill. The vote would avert government shutdown, leaving party leaders to revisit the issue by the 26th of February. [CNN]
- Trump administration bans Haitians from low-skilled work visas. The Trump administration has removed Haiti from a list of countries whose citizens are eligible for low-skilled work visas, H-2A and H-2B visas. The country was added to the list during the Obama administration as part of efforts to help Haitians after the devastating earthquake in the country. The program is little used, with only a few dozen Haitians being issued the visas each year. The administration also removed Belize and Samoa from the list. [Reuters]
Economic Indicators & News
- Jobless claims at 45-year low, housing starts down. The number of Americans filing for unemployment fell to a 45-year low last week. While data for seven states may have understated claims due to only reporting estimates, the labor market remains tight, with layoffs and unemployment continuing at low levels. Housing starts decreased 8.2%, the largest drop in housing starts since November 2016. Lack of construction continues to be a factor in pushing up home prices. Neither economic data point had significant impact on financial markets. [Reuters]