By now, we all know Larry Summers, Obama's former economics adviser, and Janet Yellen, the Federal Reserve's vice chairwoman, are the frontrunners to replace Fed Chair Ben Bernanke.
But the president is interviewing a third candidate for the job—Donald Kohn, a former Fed vice chairman. The White House also approached former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to lead the central bank, but he declined. On Wednesday the president stressed that he had not made a decision, adding that he had until the fall to choose a nominee. -- Read more at The New York Times
JULY JOBS NUMBERS DISAPPOINT The economy added 162,000 new jobs in July, below expectations of 185,000, according to data released this morning by the Commerce Department. The data also showed that labor force participation which measures the percentage of Americans who are either unemployed or jobless but actively looking for work, fell to 63.4 percent in July from 63.5 percent in June. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate fell to 7.4 percent from 7.6 percent. -- Read more at The Fiscal Times
BUT CONSUMER SPENDING IMPROVES New data from the Commerce Department shows that consumer spending increased 0.5 percent in June--mostly driven by higher gasoline prices and a surge in automobile sales. The consumer spending price index also rose 0.4 percent—the largest gain since February. -- Read more at CNBC
IRS TO NOMINATE NEW IRS CHIEF The scandal-ridden Internal Revenue Service could be getting a new full-time boss. President Obama is expected to nominate John Koskinen, a former budget official for the Clinton administration, as chief of the embattled agency. Danny Werfel took over as the acting head of the IRS after an inspector general’s report showed the agency was unfairly using political criteria to evaluate groups applying for nonprofit status. - Read more about Koskinen at Politico
OBAMA FIXES CONGRESSIONAL STAFFERS' HEALTH CARE Under enormous pressure from Capitol Hill, the Obama administration said that the federal government will continue making contributions to health care premiums for members of Congress and their aides.
Congress bristled earlier at the possibility that lawmakers and their personal staffs might have to pay—because of how the 2010 Obamacare law was written—thousands of dollars in premiums out of their own pocket. After Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) threatened to block an Obama nominee to run the Office of Personnel Management, the White House was quick to propose a fix. - Read more at Politico
LAWMAKERS FINALLY CRACKDOWN ON GOVERNMENT PAYMENTS TO DEAD PEOPLE The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee unanimously approved a bipartisan bill that would help prevent agencies from distributing payments to dead Americans. The measure, co-sponsored by Sens. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Coburn comes on the heels of a report from the Government Accountability Office that revealed that the Agriculture Department had accidentally doled out $36 million to the deceased. Under the measure, agencies would be given access to the constantly updated Death Master File maintained by the Social Security Administration, to cross check it with their program participants. - Read more at GovExec