House Democrats vote to reopen government in first legislative session day.
January 04, 2019
Democratic attorneys general appeal ACA lawsuit. Sixteen states have appealed a decision by a Texas judge overturning the ACA, with the appeal set to hit the Fifth US Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New Orleans. The law has repeatedly survived legal challenges, with the Supreme Court finding in 2010 that the law was constitutional based on Congress’ power to tax. By reducing the penalty for being uninsured to $0, the administration had changed a central feature of the law, and the Texas judge argued that this change invalidated the legal basis for the ACA. [WSJ]
House Democrats vote to reopen government in first legislative session day. House Democrats passed a bevy of bills on their first day in power aimed at reopening the federal government, despite a threat of veto from the President. The package of six bills passed the house 241-190, with several Republicans crossing the aisle to support ending the shutdown. Despite comments from Senate Majority Leader McConnel indicating he would not bring the spending bills to the floor, two prominent Republican Senators, Gardner and Collins, broke ranks with the party and advocated for an end to the nearly two-week shutdown. [Washington Post]
Partial government shutdown leaves farmers impacted by tariffs in limbo. Due to the government’s partial shutdown, some 800,000 federal employees are on leave, including many from the USDA’s Farm Service Agency, where managers and employees were instructed to cancel previously arranged loan closings as a result of the impending shutdown. FSA loans have become increasingly important to farmers to help pay bills in recent years, with the need intensifying as a result of tariffs. Additionally, the deadline to apply for the $12 billion in aid for farmers affected by tariffs is January 15, but the office for aid applications at the FSA has been closed since the start of the shutdown. [Reuters]
Economic Indicators and News
Economy adds 312,000 jobs. Non-farm payrolls increased by 312,000 jobs in the month of December, well over economists’ expectations and easing fears of an impending slowdown. Wages are up 3.2% year over. Year, with a 0.4% increase just in the month of December. The unemployment rate rose to 3.9%, mostly on an increase in the number of workers in the labor force. [CNBC]