Stopgap Funding Bill Passed in House
February 07, 2018
House passes another stopgap funding bill; Senate committee advances President Trumps EPA Deputy Nominee; Higher interest rates stall mortgage applications.
- House passes another stopgap funding bill. The House of Representatives passed another stopgap funding bill Tuesday in a 245-182 vote. The bill would increase Pentagon spending over the next eight months while maintaining other programs at present levels, the funding for which would expire March 23. The Senate is expected to rewrite budget caps rules, in an effort to bring Democrats on board, which could raise spending limits on both defense and other spending, achieving parity between the two priorities. Democrats meet at a strategy summit Wednesday, and will likely be called back to Washington for a final vote to prevent shutdown. [Politico]
- Senate committee advances President Trumps EPA Deputy Nominee. A party line vote in the Senate advanced former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler forward in his bid to become deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. He previously worked at a staffer for Senator Jim Inhofe at the agency, and was until last year registered as a lobbyist for Murray Energy and other energy companies. The nomination provoked controversy because of Wheeler’s ties to pro-coal firms like Murray, with Democrats expressing concerns that Wheeler did not do enough to explain how his rule-making at the agency would remain independent from his coal-lobbying connections. [The Hill]
Economic Indicators & News
- Higher interest rates stall mortgage applications. Despite upward seasonal pressures, the mortgage market barely moved from last week, increasing less than one percent from the previous week. Mortgage applications were at 5% higher levels than one year ago, and refinance rates were 2% higher than one year ago, despite increases in interest rates. Positive factors for the mortgage market, such as higher wages and more job security, have pushed up purchase applications 8% from this time last year, signaling overall solid demand. [CNBC]