Trump To Declare Opioid Crisis Public Health Emergency
October 26, 2017
FCC Chairman indicates Commission will vote to roll back regulations on media diversity; GOP budget squeaks by the House; Jobless claims up, labor market tight; Trump to declare opioid crisis a public health emergency.
- Trump to declare opioid crisis a public health emergency. The president is declaring the national opioid use and overdose epidemic a public health emergency, but is stopping short of calling the events a national emergency, contradicting his claims in an interview Wednesday. The public health emergency designation enables funding, grant-making and other policy prescriptions and flexibility, which will empower HHS to better respond to the crisis. [The Hill]
- FCC Chairman indicates Commission will vote to roll back regulations on media diversity. The FCC will be voting in November to roll back a 1975 rule that prohibits one company from owning a newspaper and a broadcast station in the same local media market. The rule is designed to increase the diversity of media, and prevent one company from monopolizing information access. Chairman Ajit Pai indicates he believes the regulation is government overreach, and a matter of the first amendment. Critics expressed concerns that rolling back these regulations fulfills an industry wish list item and decreases the possibility of small, independent news outlets from being able to support themselves in local markets dominated by big conglomerates like the Sinclair Broadcast Group. The vote will be held Nov. 16. [The Hill]
- GOP budget squeaks by the House. The House of Representatives narrowly passed the Senate budget Thursday morning, 216-212. Several Republicans from high tax states, alarmed by the elimination with the state and local tax (SALT) deduction, indicated they’d be voting no. However, it appeared that one key faction of the GOP: deficit hawks, seemed sufficiently appeased such that the bill could pass, despite its 1.3tn tax break. The House’s initial plan was far more fiscally conservative, and included offsetting the cost of new tax cuts with cuts to entitlements. The new plan could add 1.5tn to the debt over 10 years. [Politico]
Economic Indicators & News
- Jobless claims up, labor market tight. US jobless claims rose to 235,000 this past week, a modest increase from last week’s figure of 233,000. While hurricanes Harvey and Irma’s impacts have largely evaporated from the data, the impact of Hurricane Maria still affects claims for the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, where officials are unable to get clear employment readings. The Labor Department is reporting the economy’s 138th straight week under the 300,000 claims threshold, associated with a functional, strong labor market. The slight uptick in claims is to be expected, as the labor market is near full employment, with an unemployment rate of 4.2%. [Reuters]