No New Russia Sanctions From Trump Administration
January 30, 2018
Trump declines to implement new sanctions on Russia; The FCC votes to require wireless providers to deliver more precise emergency alerts; U.S. Consumer Confidence Increases More Than Expected in January.
- Trump declines to implement new sanctions on Russia. The Trump administration told Congress on Monday that bipartisan legislation passed last year authorizing new sanctions on Russia is already enough of “a deterrent,” and that it is not necessary to implement the penalties at this time. The 2017 legislation permits President Trump to postpone imposing sanctions on people or entities if he determines they are largely scaling back their transactions with Russia’s defense or intelligence sectors. A spokesperson for the State Department said the possibility of facing sanctions through the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) has been an effective countermeasure. The goal of the CAATSA legislation is to prevent Russia from gaining financial proceeds from its military and intelligence equipment sales by punishing the entities that make such purchases. The decision is likely to be criticized by Democrats and Russia hawks, who have called on Trump to do more to counter Moscow’s election meddling, aggression in Ukraine and support of President Bashar Assad in Syria. [The Hill]
- The FCC votes to require wireless providers to deliver more precise emergency alerts. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted on Tuesday to require wireless providers to deliver to an entire geographic area designated by government officials that overlaps with their coverage networks. They will also be restricted from sending alerts more than 0.1 miles outside that area. The decision came after a string of natural disasters. Officials believe that delivering more precise alerts will make these alerts more effective, as cell phone users will likely only see warnings that apply to them, and thus, take them more seriously. Supporters of this decision believe that it will encourage local authorities to use the alert system. The move also follows scrutiny and an FCC investigation of a false missile alert in Hawaii earlier in January, which sparked fear and confusion and was not corrected by authorities for almost 40 minutes. [The Hill]
Economic Indicators & News
- U.S. Consumer Confidence Increases More Than Expected in January. According to the Conference Board in New York on Tuesday, the U.S. consumer confidence index increased to 125.4 from an upwardly revised 123.1 in December, surpassing economists’ forecast of 123. The proportion of respondents who expected better business conditions and more jobs in the next six months increased slightly this month, from 21.6 percent in December to 22 percent in January. The share of consumers who said more jobs will be available in the coming months improved from 18.9 percent to 19 percent. With an unemployment rate near a 17-year-low, modest inflation, steady economic growth, and a strong stock market, consumers are generally optimistic. [Bloomberg]