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Who’s on White House Short List to Replace Bernanke?

Jun 28, 2013, 10:02 am EDT
Who’s on White House Short List to Replace Bernanke?

After two terms as Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke seems ready to return to private life.

Recently, Obama has signaled that Bernanke won’t be staying on after his second term expires next year. The looming vacancy at the nation’s central bank is provoking the usual speculation regarding who will succeed Bernanke, Reuters notes.

Washington insiders consider current Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen to be the most likely replacement for Bernanke. She would become the first female Fed chairman. However, Larry Summers, who was considered for the position in 2009, and former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner are also said to be under consideration. Read 

Federal Gov’t Imposing Slim-Down on Snacks Sold at School

Jun 27, 2013, 12:35 pm EDT

Schools across the United States are going to be a lot less sweet after July 1, 2014, according to new federal rules released Thursday.

The new rules will force snacks to contain lower amounts of fat, salt and sugar. The rule will affect more than 50 million children attending over 100,000 schools that are part of the federal school lunch program, reports Reuters.

The rules apply only to food sold on school grounds during the day. After-school activities such as sporting events won’t be included in the changes. Read 

FAA Plans to Lift In-Flight Electronics Ban

Jun 25, 2013, 10:56 am EDT
FAA Plans to Lift In-Flight Electronics Ban

Tired of having to switch off that smartphone off while waiting for your plane to takeoff and land? Well, you may not have to do that too much longer.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on Friday that it is extending the deadline for an advisory committee to issue recommendations on changing current rules regarding in-flight use of electronic devices. The FAA is facing pressure from both the public and lawmakers to relax the prohibition on mobile device use during plane landings and takeoffs, the Associated Press notes.

The advisory committee was originally scheduled to propose its recommendations next month, but it will now have until September. Under current rules, airlines must show that all potential mobile devices would not affect aircraft functions under 10,000 feet in altitude — an effective rather than explicit ban, since airlines simply forbid all mobile device use during takeoffs and landings in order to comply with the rule. Read 

Detroit: In Debt and In Shambles

Jun 25, 2013, 8:29 am EDT
Detroit: In Debt and In Shambles

Detroit has fallen into a pit from which it might not be able to emerge.

City emergency manager Kevyn Orr recently announced his plan for restructuring the ailing city’s finances and debt. The news wasn’t good for city bondholders, employees or anyone else who has an interest in getting paid by the city, and in full.

Orr’s plan involves cuts to pensions and healthcare benefits and proposes paying less than 10 cents on the dollar to some creditors, and defaulting on $2.5 billion in unsecured debt. It also would regionalize the city’s water and sewer system. Not surprisingly, Fitch and Moody’s downgraded Detroit’s debt soon after the plan’s announcement, putting it well below investment grade. Read 

Surprise! House Rejects Farm Bill

Jun 21, 2013, 10:23 am EDT
Surprise! House Rejects Farm Bill

On Thursday, an increasingly divided U.S. House of Representatives shot down a $940 billion farm bill.

The bill had been widely expected to receive bipartisan support. However, an unlikely coalition of conservatives Republicans and liberal Democrats emerged to block its passage. In the end, only 24 Democrats voted for the bill, which failed in a 234-195 vote, the Wall Street Journal noted.

Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Democrat House Leader, said the bill’s defeat was a sign that the chamber’s Republican majority has lost the ability to govern. GOP House leaders fired back, accusing Democrats of backtracking on prior promises and putting politics above policy. Read 

IRS to Pay $70M in Bonuses … Despite Directive Not To

Jun 19, 2013, 12:15 pm EDT

While most government departments are reeling from budget cuts mandated by the sequester, the Internal Revenue Service is preparing to hand out bonuses.

Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says that the IRS has made a deal with its union to distribute $70 million in discretionary bonuses to agency employees. The deal would appear to defy an order issued by the White House Budget office in April forbidding government departments from paying discretionary monetary awards unless legally required to do so, the Associated Press notes.

According to Grassley, the IRS told its union that it planned to reclaim $75 million employee bonus funds back in March, but then concluded a new deal to pay the bonuses. Read 

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