Obama Addresses VA Allegations
May 22, 2014
Obama Addresses VA Allegations; Existing Home Sales Up 1.3% in April
On the Hill
- President Obama addressed allegations that VA hospitals have been conducting secret bookkeeping to artificially decrease wait times for care. He directed VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to launch an inquiry into the matter and to report on his findings next week. Obama vowed to punish anyone at the VA involved in any effort to distort wait times at hospitals in light of heavy backlogs and demand for VA services by troops.
- The House just passed a bill (303-121) that overhauls the NSA’s telephone-surveillance program. This is the first legislative action taken in response to Edward Snowden’s revelations about the agency’s spying activities. This bill prescribes that the NSA must ask phone companies to scan their databases for individual connections to suspicious phone numbers, instead of continuing the current practice in which the agency simply collects millions of Americans’ phone records without consideration of suspicion.
- Existing home sales data from the National Association of Realtors released today revealed a 1.3% rise in home sales for April. Year on year existing home sales are down by 6.8%, driven in large part by the changes in monetary policy over the last year, as mortgage rates have risen. Single-family home sales were up (0.5%), marking the first gain of the year, and housing supply was also up (16.8%) from March.
- Initial jobless claims rose by 28,000 in the week ended May 17 to 326,000, which is well beyond consensus estimates.The four-week average, however, is down to a recovery low of 2.689 million claims.