Conservative groups like Club for Growth and Heritage Action are pushing Republicans to demand a balanced budget within 10 years in yet another looming fight over the debt ceiling. This throws a monkey wrench into calls by GOP congressional leadership to trade tax reform for a hike in the government’s borrowing authority.
The nation will hit its $16.8 trillion borrowing limit on May 18; then, as usual, the Treasury Department will begin taking extraordinary measures to stave off a default until Congress agrees on legislation with President Obama to lift the borrowing limit.
Obama caved to GOP pressure in 2011, and accepted dollar-for-dollar cuts to the federal budget over ten years to increase the debt limit by $2.1 billion. However, this time, the president said he refuses to negotiation and urges Republicans to raise the limit without preconditions. - Read more at The Hill
GOOD NEWS FROM TODAY’S JOBS REPORT The economy added 165,000 new jobs in April, up from the 140,000 that was expected. And the unemployment rate fell from 7.6 percent to 7.5 percent. There’s more good news. The revision to last month’s very weak numbers shows that the economy actually added 332,000 jobs in February instead of the 268,000 previously reported. And in March, the economy added 138,000 jobs, compared to the 88,000 that was originally reported. That means employment gains in February and March were 114,000 higher than originally reported. - Read more at The Fiscal Times
CONSUMER WATCHDOG PROBES AUTO LENDERS The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is investigating the car loan industry to see whether lenders are properly disclosing the terms and prices of the debt. . The federal watchdog is still deciding whether it will “investigate the financial arms of automakers. But it does have the authority to fine them if it decides they have broken the law, the Wall Street Journal’s Robin Sidel and Alan Zibel writes. “The U.S. Justice Department will also investigate car dealerships that give loans to customers with poor credit ratings at a high rate of interest.” - Read more at The Wall Street Journal
SEQUESTER CUTS DON’T STOP PENTAGON BLOAT Contrary to Pentagon officials’ dire warnings about how terrible the budget cuts would be for national security, “the 2014 Defense budget request does not substantially reduce spending in any of the areas identified by DOD as bloated or in need of drawdown. It’s larger than the 2013 budget by $2.6 billion and pretends as if sequestration is simply going to disappear,” The Fiscal Times’ David Francis writes. “Big projects, like the F-35 fighter program, continue to be funded. The budget did not contain troop reductions from 2013 levels. Missile defense spending decreased by just $550 million from $9.76 billion in 2013.” - Read more at The Fiscal Times
MEANWHILE, PUBLIC DEFENDERS FEEL THE SEQUESTER’S WRATH Federal public defenders have taken a blow from the budget cuts that took effect on March 1. According to CNN, public defenders have had to cut about 10 percent of their budget, which will likely result in 2,000 judiciary workers nationwide being furloughed or laid off nationwide this year. In one instance, a top public defender in Ohio quit his job to save other attorneys in his office from layoffs. - Read more at CNN