July 13, 2022
Congress returned to Washington this week. At the top of Senate Democrats’ to-do list is building a consensus on a slimmed-down Build Back Better bill against the backdrop of a spiking inflation rate and signs of a slowing economy.
Heard on the Hill describes some of the major items that are being discussed for inclusion in this plan. We also talk about why Senate Democrats are revisiting a slimmed down version of this bill and why it could get even slimmer, and close with some economic odds and ends.
Congressman Erik Paulsen was Chairman of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee as well as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Erik left last Friday for a trip overseas, but before he left he wrote a wonderful article entitled “Inflation and a Slowing Economy – What to do About Both.” He describes how inflation got loose, how it will impact consumers, and how the additional cost to the federal government of interest on the debt is going to dwarf major programs. Congressman Paulsen also suggested steps that would help to get our economy going again, and others that would do more damage.
This morning the Bureau of Labor and Statistics released June’s inflation rate, which increased from 8.58% in May to 9/1%, a 41-year high. We felt that Congressman Paulsen’s article was too important to hold and ask Erik to rework the numbers when he returns. But please know that the impact of the new inflation rate will cause the Fed Fund rate, consumer interest rates, and debt payments by the federal government to be than Erik discussed in his article.
We released yesterday Congressman Paulsen’s Spotlight interview with Lisa B. Nelson, the Chief Executive Officer of the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC is the largest non-partisan membership organization for state legislators and private sector representatives. Introducing Lisa Nelson is Arizona’s Senate President Karen Fann, who also serves as ALEC’s current Chair. It’s certainly true that what happens in state legislatures is more vital than ever, so we think this interview is both timely and important.
Ramona Lessen monitored the July 12th Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on Advancing Public Transit under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, and we’ve included her report in this edition.