Senate Republicans Filibuster Government Funding Bill Over Debt Ceiling Provision With Three Days Until Shutdown

Senate Republicans Monday filibustered Democrats’ bill to fund the government and suspend the debt ceiling, days before a potential federal shutdown and possible debt default.

Republicans vowed for weeks to oppose a debt ceiling increase and urged Democrats to put the provision in their filibuster-proof $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill. But Democrats have thus far refused to do so, and with their bill’s failure Monday, Congress now has just three days to pass a new funding bill to avoid a government shutdown set to begin Friday at midnight.

Read More

The Congressional Budget Office Says the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Will Increase Deficits by $256 Billion over 10 Years

The Congressional Budget Office estimated Thursday that the bipartisan Senate infrastructure bill will add $256 billion to the deficit over the next decade, undercutting its backers’ claims the spending had been offset.

In FY2020, the deficit hit a record $3.1 trillion. So far in FY2021, the deficit is $2.2 trillion. The national debt is climbing to $29 trillion for the first time in U.S. history.

Read More

U.S. Set to Hit Debt Ceiling Within Four Months, Congressional Budget Office Estimates

The federal government is on track to reach the statutory debt limit in the fall, which would trigger a government shutdown, according to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate.

The U.S. is projected to reach the debt ceiling of $28.5 trillion by October or November, a CBO report released Wednesday stated. If Capitol Hill lawmakers don’t reach an agreement on raising the limit higher, the government could undergo its third shutdown in less than four years.

“If the debt limit remained unchanged, the ability to borrow using those measures would ultimately be exhausted, and the Treasury would probably run out of cash sometime in the first quarter of the next fiscal year (which begins on October 1, 2021), most likely in October or November,” the CBO report said.

Read More

California Spent $13 Million to Guard 120 Empty Homes

Several tents on the side of the street

The state government of California has been revealed to have spent $13 million on providing security for 120 empty houses for five months, even as a homeless crisis ravaged the state, Fox News reports.

In a report broken by local outlet Fox 11, the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) paid $9 million to the highway patrol from November 2020 to April 2021, and gave another $4 million to a private security firm over the same period, all for the purpose of protecting the vacant houses in Pasadena.

In a statement addressing the report, CalTrans said that the houses had been purchased by the government 60 years ago, when there were plans for a change in the local infrastructure by connecting the 710 freeway to the 210. However, that project “is no longer moving forward,” the government statement declared.

Read More

Commentary: It is Time to Fight for the Rights of Independent Businesses

As a very young man, I was fortunate enough to start my own company out of my apartment using a small amount of investment capital from friends and family. Over time, that business grew to have over 6,000 employees and revenues in excess of $2 billion. Over nearly a 40-year span, my team and I built what some would consider a remarkable track record, as measured by both sales and profits.

Because of my experience growing that business, I feel a special kinship with small, privately owned businesses and their owners. I also come from a middle-class background, one that shaped me into the person I am today. It is through both the lens of entrepreneur and member of the middle-class that I look through when reflecting upon this Independence Day.

Read More

Commentary: Price Stability, not Inflation, Will Get the U.S. Economy Back to Full Employment Sooner Rather than Later

2020 and 2021 are two sides of the same coin: Price instability brought about by the dollar being either relatively too strong or too weak, which can lead to or exacerbate economic slowdowns, creating higher unemployment and worse if the conditions persist for too long.

In 2020, at the height of the Covid pandemic, the problems included the global economy being shut down plus local lockdowns resulting in a massive recession and a flight to safety into U.S. treasuries as interest rates collapsed, making the dollar too strong. With the onset of deflation, consumer prices plummeted in March and April 2020, with oil even dropping briefly below zero dollars for the first time in history, and a concurrent rise of unemployment as 25 million Americans lost their jobs.

Read More

Biden’s ‘American Jobs’ Plan Could Cost Taxpayers about $666,000 per Job Created

President Joe Biden and VP Kamala Harris

President Joe Biden’s proposed $2 trillion American Jobs Plan could end up costing taxpayers more than $666,666 per job created.

The Washington Post gave Biden “two Pinocchios” for saying the American Jobs Plan, his infrastructure and jobs proposal, will create 19 million jobs. Both Biden and his Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg have made the 19 million jobs claim. The source of the statement is a Moody’s analysis, which CNN pointed out had estimated the U.S. economy would add about “16.3 million jobs over the same period if the infrastructure proposal does not get passed.”

Read More

New House Rules Carve-Out for ‘Climate Change’ Bills Exempted from Requiring Projected Price Tag

House Democrats blocked a Republican attempt on Monday to require any proposed climate change legislation to also include its projected cost.

Under the Pay As You Go (PAYGO) rule, any additional government spending proposed must be accompanied by tax increases or separate cuts. After a push from several lawmakers in the Democratic Party’s progressive wing, however, the rules package for the 117th Congress states PAYGO will not apply to legislation relating to the necessary economic recovery or U.S. efforts to combat climate change.

Read More

Armstrong Williams Commentary: It’s Time to Talk About Recession

Is America in a recession? It’s an unpopular question to ask, but it has now been over 3 months since COVID-19 restrictions were initiated and it is time for us to get realistic about where we are economically so that we can take the proper steps to minimize further damage to our economy. At this point, the unfortunate reality is that regardless of what we do, it is likely that it will take at least several years to see a partial recovery of economic loss and the time that it will take for a complete recovery remains unknown at this point. 

Read More

Whitmer Creates COVID-19 Spending Oversight Office, Approves $150 Million in Coronavirus Spending

Whitmer MI Capitol overcast

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer created the Michigan COVID-19 Office of Accountability on Monday to provide a check over spending during the coronavirus pandemic.

The office, which resides in the State Budget Office, provides oversight to all spending to fight the coronavirus and will report to the governor and the state budget director.

The Department of Technology, Management and Budget will designate a chief for the office.

Read More

Michigan to Face More Budget Cuts as Tax Revenues Plummet

A storm of skyrocketing unemployment paired with plummeting tax revenue have plunged the state budget into a multi-billion dollar deficit.

State Budget Office Communications Director Kurt Weiss told The Center Square in an email that tax revenues for this fiscal year are projected to drop between $1 billion and $3 billion.

There’s another $1 billion to $4 billion projected for Michigan’s next fiscal year, Weiss said.

Over 1 million people have filed for unemployment benefits, more than a quarter of the state’s workforce.

Read More

Commentary: Alexis de Tocqueville’s Lessons in a Time of Pandemic

The immediate challenge of COVID-19 has been cast as an examination of how individual Americans will fare should they be exposed to the virus. The effort to arrest the spread of the virus has brought unprecedented changes in the daily routines of all Americans. The limitation of activity is apparent when one walks outside. There is a marked silence, regardless of the time of day, almost eerie, that gives one pause.

The check on movement is accompanied by images of field hospitals and graphs showing curves and spreads displayed across news sites. While many are changing their daily routines to comply with the requirements of staying at home and practicing social distancing, a broader concern is the effect on our American democratic foundation.

Read More

Commentary: The U.S. Economy Will Weather the Chinese Coronavirus

Tennessee Star

President Donald Trump praised the Federal Reserve for cutting the federal funds rate to a range of 0 percent to 0.25 percent, and restarting quantitative easing with $500 billion of U.S. treasuries purchases and $200 billion of mortgage purchases in response to the Chinese coronavirus global pandemic.

“It makes me very happy and I want to congratulate the Federal Reserve,” he said. “That’s a big step and I’m very happy they did it.” Trump has been hounding the Fed for years to cut interest rates to make the dollar more competitive against trading partners’ currencies including the yuan, euro and peso. Now he gets his wish.

Read More

Michigan Budget Talks Stall Again Between Whitmer and GOP Leaders as They Remain Apart on Key Issues

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Republican congressional leaders did not take any action after Thursday’s meeting to address issues around the almost $1 billion left out of Michigan’s final budget.

Read More