President Trump issues new executive order that requires benefit recipients to work for assistance.
April 16, 2018
Trump executive order seeks major entitlement overhaul. President Trump issued an executive order last week that calls on Department Health and Human Services Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture and others to create new rules that enforce “welfare to work” policy, requiring benefit recipients to work in order to continue to receive assistance. The President has long believed that public assistance programs are doing too little to move recipients to financial independence, while critics have argued that adding work requirements risks preventing needy people from receiving help under undue administrative or regulatory burden. The administration has allowed Medicaid to issue waivers for some states interested in requiring Medicaid recipients to work for coverage as well. Widespread reform of public assistance and welfare programs will likely require an act of Congress, but the executive order has worried some critics that the President may attempt to act in the absence of such legislation. [The Hill]
US offers cybersecurity grant after pipeline attacks. The federal government, after web attacks damaged electronics communications for several oil and gas pipelines, is offering $25 million in new funding for cybersecurity research. Seven pipelines lost communications access earlier this month, after Russia-linked cybersecurity attacks targeted the communications systems used by the energy industry. The funding is part of a larger, $96 million dollar initiative by Energy Secretary Rick Perry which seeks to create a federal office to address cyber threats to energy security. [Bloomberg]
Economic Indicators & News
Retail sales rebound in March. After three months of declining retail sales, US figures rebounded last month, largely as households increased their purchasing of motor vehicles, raising retail sales by 0.6%, after the figure fell in the month of February by 0.1%. The 0.6% growth bested economists’ estimates, and the strong trend has boosted year over year growth to 4.5% since last March. The underlying economic data, a strong labor market and rising wages, likely account for the increase. [Reuters]