Oil companies are up in arms over the president’s new plans to reduce the pollutants in gasoline and say the added cost will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices. The American Petroleum Institute estimates Obama’s proposal will cost oil refiners an estimated $10 billion upfront and an additional $2.4 billion in annual compliance costs. Though the Environmental Protection Agency said the cost would be considerably less and will release more details of the plan today. - Read more at The Wall Street Journal
FURLOUGHS DISPORORTIONATE AMONG GOV AGENCIES “The situation is quickly splitting the workforce into haves and have-nots, inflaming labor-management tensions and straining agency resources as everyone struggles through the details,” The Washington Post’s Lisa Rein writes. While some agencies are protected by the continuing resolution that Congress passed last week, others aren’t so lucky. Meat inspectors and federal prison staff will no longer be furloughed and the Pentagon is scaling back its furlough days from 22 to 14. Meanwhile HUD and the EPA will shut down for seven days. - Read more at The Washington Post
MAKE WAY FOR THE (VERY LATE) BUDGET President Obama will release his budget on April 10, about two months past the legal deadline, the White House announced Thursday, adding that the delay is partly because of sequestration, which took effect on March 1.
SO YOU’RE SAYING THERE’S A CHANCE? Obama and congressional Republicans are still far apart on the central issue of new tax revenue, but “recent statements from both sides show possible common ground on curbing the costs of Medicare, suggesting some lingering chance, however small, for a budget bargain,” write The New York Times’ Jackie Calmes and Robert Pear. Obama reportedly told House Republicans that he was willing to turn Medicare’s coverage for hospitals and doctors into a single deductible, which "could increase out-of-pocket costs for many future beneficiaries." - Read more at The New York Times
AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD INCOME PLUMMETS THIS YEAR According to a new report by Sentier Research, a Maryland-based research firm, median annual income in February was about $51,404, down by $560 from January. The study, which adjusted the numbers for inflation and seasonal changes, also shows a negative long-term outlook. February’s median annual household income was 5.6 percent lower than June 2009 (when the recovery technically started) and 7.3 percent lower than when the recession officially started in December of 2007. - Read the report here
SENATORS WANT TO STRENGTHEN AGENCY WATCHDOGS Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H. introduced a bill that would provide inspector general offices with more funding to ramp up scrutiny of federal agencies in an effort to reduce government waste. Last year alone, federal agencies failed to respond to nearly 17,000 IG audit recommendations, which could have saved an estimated $67 billion, The Fiscal Times reported Shaheen’s bill also calls on government contractors to increase the use of auditors and encourages President Obama to appoint IGs to agencies that currently have vacancies. Similar language was also included as an amendment in the Senate’s fiscal 2014 budget, and passed with unanimous consent. - Read the bill here
NYC TO FORCE COMPANIES TO PAY FOR SICK LEAVE A measure steamrolling its way through the New York City Council will force companies with at least 15 employees to give full-time workers five paid days of sick leave each year, fueling a national movement that has already gained traction in Portland, Ore., San Francisco and Seattle. Although Mayor Bloomberg is likely to veto the measure, there is enough support on the City Council to override his veto. - Read more at The New York Times