A smoking gun of a report by the Federal Reserve on Wednesday blames the Affordable Care Act for layoffs and a slowdown in hiring. The Fed’s “beige book,” which examines economic conditions across various regions of the country, found that “employers in several districts cited the unknown effects of the Affordable Care Act as reasons for planned layoffs and reluctance to hire more staff.”
The Atlanta, Kansas City and Philadelphia districts all reported experiencing higher healthcare costs under the ACA, which they said have contributed to “fiscal uncertainty and reasons for delayed hiring.”
- Read more at The Hill
HOUSE PASSES CR TO AVOID SHUTDOWN As expected, the House easily passed the GOP’s $982 billion spending bill to fund the federal government through September and avoid a government shutdown. In a 267-151 vote, just 14 Republicans opposed the measure.
Now the bill heads to the upper chamber, where Senate Democrats have signaled they will accept it (but are expected to add amendments to cushion the blow of the $85 billion sequester cuts to federal agencies). - Read more at The Fiscal Times
SEQUESTER CUTS WHITE HOUSE TOURS Spring Break plans in D.C.? Forget touring the White House. Because of the sequester cuts that took effect last Friday, all visitor tours of the White House will be cancelled. Fortunately, the Textile Museum is still open for out-of-towners.
Republicans, who want to ban Obama from golfing in response to the cutbacks, didn’t waste any time criticizing the announcement. - Read more at The Washington Post
AGENCIES IGNORE AUDITS, WASTE BILLIONS Last year alone, federal agencies failed to respond to nearly 17,000 Inspector General audit recommendations, which could have saved an estimated $67 billion, according to a report released Tuesday by the House Committee on Government Oversight. - Read more at The Fiscal Times
HIGH-COST JOBS POSTED AFTER SEQUESTER Sequester or no sequester, more than 600 new federal jobs were posted on March 4 – including a librarian’s position at the USDA at an annual salary of $74,872 - $97,333 and a director’s position at the Air Force for “history and museums policies and programs,” at a salary of $143,600 - $165,300 a year,. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) pointed out these and other high-priced job openings in a new letter to the OMB. - Read more at The Fiscal Times