Congress Votes to Free FAA from Furloughs

Congress Votes to Free FAA from Furloughs

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After a week of furloughing air traffic controllers, delaying flights and inconveniencing thousands of angry travelers, the Federal Aviation Administration may be granted flexibility to avoid forcing mandatory downtime for its employees over the rest of the year.

This morning, the House overwhelmingly passed a Senate bill giving the FAA the ability to shift money around in its budget and eliminate the need for furloughs caused by sequestration.

The president signaled earlier this week that he would consider a legislative fix that could offset the mounting flight delays, which airlines have attributed to the federal budget cuts.  Read more at The Hill

DISSAPOINTING FIRST QUARTER GDP    The U.S. economy grew slower than expected in the first quarter of 2013. According to the latest data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, real GDP  expanded 2.5 percent in the first quarter. That’s below analysts’ expectations for 3.1 percent growth. -  Read more here

REAL TALK FROM CHIEF AUDITOR OF AFGHANISTAN WAR    In an exclusive interview with The Fiscal Times, John Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction discusses the need for immediate action to “determine the fate of tens of billions of dollars in reconstruction projects” in Afghanistan. -  Read more from The Fiscal Times’ David Francis’ exclusive interview with John F. Sopko, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, here

REINHART, ROGOFF SWING BACK   Harvard professors and authors of the austerity study that was called into question last week, Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff respond to the criticism in the New York Times: "Last week, three economists at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, released a paper criticizing our findings. They correctly identified a spreadsheet coding error that led us to miscalculate the growth rates of highly indebted countries since World War II. But they also accused us of 'serious errors' stemming from 'selective exclusion' of relevant data and 'unconventional weighting' of statistics - charges that we vehemently dispute…Our research, and even our credentials and integrity, have been furiously attacked in newspapers and on television. Each of us has received hate-filled, even threatening, e-mail messages, some of them blaming us for layoffs of public employees, cutbacks in government services and tax increases. As career academic economists ... we find these attacks a sad commentary on the politicization of social science research. But our feelings are not what's important here. ... A sober reassessment of austerity is the responsible course for policy makers, but not for the reasons these authors suggest. ... Our 2010 paper found that, over the long term, growth is about 1 percentage point lower when debt is 90 percent or more of gross domestic product. The University of Massachusetts researchers do not overturn this fundamental finding." -  Read more at The New York Times

SHOP ONLINE TAX-FREE WHILE YOU STILL CAN   "Online shoppers, beware. Freedom from sales taxes is on the way out,” The Wall Street Journal’s Ann Zimmerman,  Greg Bensinger and John McKinnon write. The Senate cleared the way on Thursday for passage of a bill that allow states to impose a tax on all online purchases. A final Senate vote is scheduled for May 6. -  Read more at The Wall Street Journal

WHEN TWEETS TWEAK THE MARKETS    Remember earlier this week when the AP’s Twitter account was hacked and a false Tweet freaked out the stock market and plunged the Dow Jones Industrial Average by 100 points in minutes?  Apparently, that wasn’t the first time that’s happened. CNBC has the ten Tweets that have messed with the markets here

Brianna Ehley is the former Washington Correspondent for The Fiscal Times. She is currently a reporter on Politico's health care team in Washington, D.C.