House GOP Lawmakers Consider Funding Legislation
February 02, 2018
GOP looking at vote to fund government through March 23; U.S. added 200,000 jobs in January, and unemployment rate remains at 4.1%; U.S. consumer sentiment exceeds estimates on jobs and income; U.S. factory orders up 1.7% in December, compared to 1.5% expected increase.
- GOP looking at vote to fund government through March 23. House lawmakers are looking at legislation early next week to keep the government open through about March 23, though the plan has not been finalized. The reasoning behind the six-week funding patch would be to give lawmakers enough time to come to an agreement on immigration and unlock the budget caps deal needed to write a massive omnibus spending bill for the rest of the fiscal year. Congress may vote on the spending measure as early as Tuesday due to a House Democratic retreat planned for next Wednesday. Republican leaders have still not finalized a broader strategy to avoid another government shutdown before current funding is set to expire on Feb. 8, though lawmakers dismissed concerns that the government would close down again. However, it is unclear how much support the short-term funding patch, which would be the fifth one since September, will garner from House GOP members who are becoming frustrated with the cycle of passing continuing resolutions (CR). After a three-day government shutdown last month, Democrats agreed to a funding bill that keeps the government open through Feb. 8. President Trump gave Congress until March 5 to come up with a permanent legal fix for the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects immigrants who moved to the U.S. illegally as children. However, Congress has not made much progress towards a deal on budget caps or immigration. Leadership is still determining whether to attach any sweeteners to the next CR to attract more support – one option includes attaching funding for community health centers. [The Hill]
Economic Indicators & News
- U.S. added 200,000 jobs in January, and unemployment rate remains at 4.1%. The Labor Department reported on Friday morning that 200,000 jobs were added last month, compared to Wall Street economists’ expectation of an increase of about 180,000, according to Bloomberg. This marked the 88th straight month of job growth. Though the pace of job creation has slowed somewhat over the last two years, it remains solid. The unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent, the lowest rate since 2000. Average earnings increased by 9 cents per hour and are now up 2.9 percent over the past year, marking the fastest growth of the recovery so far. [NYTimes]
- U.S. consumer sentiment exceeds estimates on jobs and income. According to University of Michigan survey data on Friday, U.S. consumer sentiment exceeded analyst estimates in January as the outlook for jobs and household income improved. The sentiment index inched down slightly to 95.7 from 95.9 in December after a preliminary reading of 94.4. The current conditions index, which measures American’s perceptions of their finances, decreased to 110.5 from 113.8 in November, while the expectations measure advanced to 86.3 from 84.3. Overall, the main index remains above-average historically, and other measures of confidence are near the highest levels in more than a decade. Elevated stock prices and steady gains in jobs and wages are likely to support increased consumer confidence going forward. Consumers placed the probability of stock increases in 2018 at 67 percent, the highest level on record dating back to 2002. [Bloomberg]
- U.S. factory orders up 1.7% in December, compared to 1.5% expected increase. New orders for U.S.-made goods increased by more than expected in December. According to the Commerce Department on Friday, factory goods orders rose 1.7 percent, increasing for a fifth straight month. November’s report was revised to show orders increasing 1.7 percent instead of the previously reported 1.3 percent increase. Economists polled by Reuters had predicted factory orders climbing 1.5 percent in December. In 2017, orders increased 6.0 percent overall. Shipments of core capital goods, used to calculate business equipment spending in the GDP report, rose 0.4 percent in December instead of increasing 0.6 percent as reported last month. Business spending soared last year, in part as companies anticipated a massive cut in the corporate income tax rate, which was passed by the Congress and signed into law by President Trump last month. [CNBC]