“Congress itself has become a source of sophisticated political analysis for investors, for whom every nugget of exclusive information can translate to millions of dollars in profit,” The Washington Post’s Jia Lynn Yang, Tom Hamburger and Dina ElBoghdady report. In March. “a congressional staffer told investors in a private call that odds were improving for a government decision that would help medical insurers, trading spiked in a major health-care company.” After the call, “a certain form of speculative trading in Humana, the health insurer, jumped.” Ethics experts say this type of information sharing is not against the law, as long as those dispersing information are not receiving a type of payment or gift. - Read more at The Washington Post
CONSERVATIVE GROUP: $6.3 TRILLION PRICE TAG FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM “The Heritage Foundation rolled out new artillery on Monday in its effort to block immigration reform with the release of a study claiming that a bipartisan plan in the Senate would drain the government of $6.3 trillion in the coming decades because of increased demand for social services and retirement payouts,” The Fiscal Times’ Eric Pianin writes. “Former South Carolina senator Jim DeMint, the new president of the premier conservative think tank, unveiled the analysis just days before the Senate Judiciary Committee begins to mark up an 844-page bipartisan bill. That legislation, drafted by the bipartisan “Gang of Eight,” would tighten security along the borders as a prelude to granting many of the 11 million undocumented immigrants legal status and a decade-long path to citizenship after paying fines and back taxes.”
But the study seems geared toward producing a big fuss, rather than an accurate reading of the costs and benefits of reform. The multi-decade timeline pumps up the number, as does the refusal to consider how amnesty would improve the wages of immigrants. - Read more at The Fiscal Times
WHO’S HOT, WHO’S NOT? The Fiscal Times’ Eric Pianin and Josh Boak assembled a guide to the rising stars in Washington, as well as the lawmakers who are fading from the spotlight. Check out who’s up and who’s down here. - Read more at The Fiscal Times
FEDS BRACE FOR CYBER ATTACK It’s not just China trying to pierce the U.S. internet. The Pentagon disclosed in a new report that the Chinese government has actively been pursuing cyber skirmishes with the federal government.
Add hackers from the Middle East and North Africa to that mix. A group from this region warned the federal government earlier this month that it will carry out a cyber assault today. "The attacks likely will result in limited disruptions and mostly consist of nuisance-level attacks against publicly accessible webpages and possibly data exploitation. Independent of the success of the attacks, the criminal hackers likely will leverage press coverage and social media to propagate an anti-US message,” a federal official told Buzzfeed. The Huffington Post reported that the targets of the attacks include the websites of the White House, the Defense Department, the FBI, Bank of America and Chase Bank. - Read more at Buzzfeed
ON THE DOCKET: PETERSON FOUNDATION FISCAL SUMMIT The Peter G. Peterson Foundation holds its annual Fiscal Summit in Washington today. Former President Bill Clinton and Microsoft founder Bill Gates will speak at 9:45 a.m. Followed by an 11a.m. session featuring Reps. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) , Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) Check back with The Fiscal Times for full event coverage here
(The Fiscal Times is privately funded by Pete G. Peterson)
INTERNET SALES TAX ZIPS THROUGH THE SENATE A bill that allows states to collect sales taxes on Internet purchases easily passed the Senate Monday with a 69-to-27 vote. Now the bill heads to the Republican-controlled House, where it’s certain to face an uphill battle. Conservative groups like Grover Norquist’s Taxpayers for Common Sense, the Heritage Foundation and the Tea Party Patriots have vowed to slow the bill’s movement in the House.
On Monday a coalition of 52 conservatives sent a “Memo of Movement” to House Republican leaders, urging them not to bring the Senate bill to a vote, adding that “House conservatives “should reject any bill that expands the authority of out-of-state governments to regulate businesses with regard to online taxation.”
Read more at The New York Times