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Biden’s $1.75 trillion social spending bill wins enough votes to pass in House

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Biden's $1.75 trillion social spending bill wins enough votes to pass in House
© Reuters. A bicyclist rides along the East Front Plaza at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., November 18, 2021. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

By David Morgan, Richard Cowan and Moira Warburton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden’s $1.75 trillion bill to bolster the social safety net and fight climate change secured enough votes to pass the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday, after an overnight speech by the chamber’s top Republican delayed the vote.

Voting was continuing, but Democrats, who hold a slim majority, were expected to have enough votes to approve the measure.

Once passed by the House, the bill would be sent back to the Senate, where centrist Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have raised concerns about its size and some of its programs. The bill has been scaled down substantially from Democrats’ initial $3.5 trillion plan but still aims to invest millions to expand education, lower healthcare costs and tackle climate change.

The vote comes after Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy spoke for a record-setting 8-1/2 hours starting late Thursday night in remarks cataloging a list of Republican grievances – some related to the bill and some not – while at times shouting over Democrats in the House who were openly dismissive.

In a dig at McCarthy, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi began her speech supporting the bill by saying “As a courtesy to my colleagues, I will be brief.”

“Much has been said on this floor. But the facts are these: following the vision of President Biden, guided by the expertise and energy of our chairs, members and staff, we have a Build Back Better bill that is historic, transformative and larger than anything we have ever done before,” Pelosi said. “If you are a parent, a senior, a child, a worker, if you are an American, this bill’s for you, and it is better.”

It also follows the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate that the bill would raise federal budget deficits by $367 billion over 10 years, but that additional revenues from improved Internal Revenue Service tax collections could generate a net increase in revenues of $127 billion through 2031.

The White House estimates the IRS changes will generate $400 billion in additional revenue and says the bill overall will reduce deficits by $121 billion over a decade.

Several moderate Democrats said they needed the CBO’s assessment before they would vote, and several of them said they accepted the White House’s math.

The legislation follows the $1 trillion infrastructure investment bill that Biden signed into law this week – two key pillars of the Democratic president’s domestic agenda – and a separate $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that passed in March.

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Economy

South Korean exports dropped 14% in November, the highest in 2.5 years

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exports South Korea

South Korea’s exports fell 14 percent year-on-year to $51.91 billion in November, preliminary data from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy showed. The November drop was the biggest in 2.5 years since May 2020 and was caused both by the deteriorating global economy, which even a Google price chart showed, and a truckers’ strike in the country.

South Korea exports 2022 – reasons for the drop

Exports fell for the second month in a row. Analysts on average expected an 11% decline, according to Trading Economics. Respondents to MarketWatch predicted a 10.5% decline.

Shipments of semiconductor products overseas, the country’s top export item, fell 29.8%; petrochemicals fell 26.5% and steel exports fell 10.6%. Meanwhile, exports of automobiles jumped 31% and petroleum products 26%.

Exports to China, South Korea’s largest trading partner, fell by 25.5%, and to Asian countries – by 13.9%. Below, supplies to the USA grew by 8% and to the European Union – by 0.1%.

In January-November exports rose by 7.8% on the same period last year and reached a record $629.1 billion.

South Korean imports rose 2.7% to $59.2 billion in November, marking the 23rd consecutive month of gains, but the current rate of growth is the lowest since November 2020. Experts had predicted an increase of only 0.2%.

South Korea’s trade deficit last month was $7.01 billion, compared with a surplus of $2,973 billion a year earlier.

The negative balance was recorded for the eighth month in a row. As a result, by the end of 2022, the country may record a foreign trade deficit for the first time since the financial crisis in 2008.

Earlier we reported that the UN estimates the cost of humanitarian aid in 2023 at a record $51 billion.

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Economy

The UN estimates humanitarian aid costs in 2023 at a record $51 billion because of an impending humanitarian crisis

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a humanitarian crisis

Joint humanitarian operations will require a record $51.5 billion in 2023 to address urgent problems.

The UN Office for the OCHA estimates that 339 million people will need urgent aid in 2023. At the same time, OCHA called on donor countries to provide funds for assistance in 2023 to the 230 million people most in need, living in 68 countries.

Griffiths explained that aid is needed not only for people experiencing conflicts and disease outbreaks. but also for those suffering the effects of climate change, such as people in peninsular Somalia facing drought and those in Pakistan experiencing severe flooding. For the first time, the growing humanitarian crisis has brought the number of displaced people worldwide to the 100 million mark. Also worsening an already bad situation is the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, which affects the poor. Note that the general economic crisis has begun to negatively affect even the Netflix price chart.

Earlier we reported that house prices in the UK fell by 1.4% in November.

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Economy

Average house prices in the UK fell 1.4% in November

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average house prices in the uk

Average house prices in the UK fell 1.4% in the previous month in November to 263,788 thousand pounds (about $319,000), according to the British mortgage company Nationwide Building Society.

The decline was recorded at the end of the second consecutive month and was the most significant in almost 2.5 years – since June 2020. Analysts on average had forecast a decline of only 0.3%, according to Trading Economics.

Are house prices in the UK going to fall even more?

Residential real estate prices in November compared to the same month last year increased by 4.4%. At the same time, experts expected a larger increase of 5.8%. The growth rate slowed down significantly compared with 7.2% in October. Because of the difficult economic situation, British investors are investing in other instruments. The Microsoft price chart, for example, is showing potential for growth, so many are interested in the U.S. stock market. 

“The market looks set to remain under pressure in the coming quarters. Inflation will remain high for some time, and interest rates are likely to continue to rise,” believes Nationwide Senior Economist Robert Gardner. – The outlook is unclear, and much will depend on how the overall economy behaves, but a relatively soft landing is still possible.”

Earlier we reported that Sanctions Circumvention was included in the EU’s list of criminal offenses.

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