Trump Orders Guantanamo To Remain Open
January 31, 2018
Also in the news - Mnuchin calls on Congress to prevent shutdown by raising debt ceiling; Fed holds interest rates steady, in line with expectations; Private payrolls, labor costs up in the fourth quarter.
- Trump orders Guantanamo detention center to remain open. President Trump signed an executive order Tuesday to keep open infamous detention center Guantanamo Bay. The order authorized the US military to add detainees to the facilities, whose population has infamously shrunk from 242 to 41 during the Obama administration. The facilities had been criticized for harsh, extrajudicial practices in the wake of the war in Iraq, and then candidate President Trump promised “to load [Guantanamo] up with some bad dudes.” [Reuters]
- Mnuchin calls on Congress to prevent shutdown by raising debt ceiling. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin called on members of the House and Senate to “to protect the full faith and credit of the United States by acting to increase the statutory debt limit as soon as possible.” With a government shutdown looming on February 8, as the latest CR (continuing resolution) expires, and the CBO estimating the Treasury will exhaust its borrowing options by late March, the clock is ticking on financing the government. The Treasury itself estimates that it will exhaust its funding earlier than CBO estimates, in late February instead. Budget squabbles have plagued Congress since October, with partisan and intraparty infighting preventing a budget from being passed for the fiscal year that ends September 30th 2018. [Reuters]
Economic Indicators & News
- Fed holds interest rates steady, in line with expectations. The Federal Reserve kept interest rates the same at their meeting Wednesday, in line with expectations, at the last Federal Reserve meeting under Janet Yellen’s leadership. The Fed indicated it expected inflation to continue to rise in the coming year, and cited gains in employment, spending and investment as key trends supporting a booming economy. New chair Jerome Powell’s leadership is effective February 3, 2018. [Reuters]
- Private payrolls, labor costs up in the fourth quarter. Private hiring increased quickly across the board in the month of January, increasing by 234,000 jobs, despite cold weather, pointing to a strong labor market. Labor costs rose as well, with the Employment Cost Index increasing 0.6% the fourth quarter, with yearly growth at 2.6%. Wages rose 0.5% over the fourth quarter, and were up 2.5% over the 12 months of 2017. [Reuters]