Senate Foreign Relations Committee Moves Forward With Iran Nuclear Deal
April 15, 2015
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Votes Unanimously To Move Forward With Iran Nuclear Deal; Senate Passes Bill To Reform Medicare Payments to Doctors; Disappointing Data From The Federal Reserve Regarding Industrial Production During March.
- Yesterday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted unanimously to move forward with a bill that would give Congress a 30-day period to review a final nuclear deal made with Iran. In the development of the bill, the Obama Administration had voiced consistent opposition and veto threats with an argument that such a bill had the potential to hamstring negotiations. However, yesterday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest announced that the President would not veto the bill progressing through committee. The progression of the bill without the addition of major amendment was critical in picking up support from key Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee, and the bill likely has the backing of a veto-proof majority across the Senate for the same reason. [Politico]
- By a vote of 92-8, a bill to reform Medicare payments to doctors passed the Senate yesterday, altering the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) that legally set a cap on growth in physician payments and has demanded regular “fixes” by Congress over the past decade. The bill, which was developed through collaboration between House Majority Leader, John Boehner, and House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, has already easily passed the House of Representatives and is expected to be signed by President Obama. In addition to resolving the SGR, which would have led to a 21% cut in payments to doctors later this year, the bill also helps to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program and community health centers. Despite the successful passage of the bill, $140 billion of the $210 billion bill remains unpaid for, and concerns remain that more “doc fixes” will be required to resolve discrepancies in payment growth going forward. [Politico]
Economic Indicators & News
- Data from the Federal Reserve on industrial production for March were disappointing, as the total industrial production index fell by 0.6% from the previous month, making for a 1.0% annualized decline in production in the first quarter of 2015. Manufacturing output actually held steady in March, growing by 0.1%; however, declines of 5.9% and 0.7% in mining and utilities, respectively, dragged the total index negative. Over the first quarter of 2015, weakness in the oil industry has weighed heavily on industrial production. [Federal Reserve]
- The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index for April improved by 4 points over the previous month to hit 56.0. The gains in the index are driven by an improved outlook from home builders on sales. The index for expectations of home sales over the next six months climbed 5 points to 64 as the index for current sales also surged three points to 61. [NAHB]