“U.S. Senate Adopts Budget, Giving Momentum to Trump’s Tax-Cut Plans.”
The Senate adopted a fiscal 2018 budget resolution Thursday that House GOP leaders agreed to accept, a show of unity aimed at speeding consideration of President Donald Trump’s plan to enact tax cuts.
The budget cleared the Senate 51-49, with all Democrats and Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky voting against it.
Final approval of the measure will unlock a special procedure allowing Republicans to pass a subsequent tax code rewrite without Democratic support. The House and Senate tax-writing committees plan to release draft legislation by early November, which will set off a furious lobbying battle as Republicans attempt to enact a bill by the end of the year.
House and Senate Republicans crafted an amendment to the Senate budget designed to remove the need to spend weeks working to reconcile it with the version already passed by the House. The House would simply vote on the budget that passed the Senate; plans call for holding that vote next week, a House aide said.
Senators acknowledged that producing the budget, which took months of work by Budget Chairman Mike Enzi of Wyoming and his staff, is the easiest part of enacting a tax overhaul.
To avoid a repeat of the embarrassing Obamacare setback, Republicans must find a way to mollify members eager to protect cherished tax breaks while also satisfying senators like Bob Corker of Tennessee who oppose increasing the deficit and won’t buy arguments that trillions of dollars in tax cuts will pay for themselves through economic growth alone.
The GOP budget compromise took shape Thursday evening. It allows for more defense spending in the first year, in line with the House budget, according to a Republican aide. It eliminates House language to expedite $203 billion in entitlement savings, while leaving in place Senate language that would allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Senate Democrats tried without success to strip out the drilling provision.
“Kirkuk province: Iraqi and Kurdish forces in fierce fight.”
There have been fierce clashes between Kurdish and Iraqi troops north of Kirkuk city, days after the Iraqi army took control of disputed areas. A BBC correspondent at the scene said there had been rocket, artillery and machine-gun fire in Alton Kupri.
The district is the last area in Kirkuk province still held by Kurdish Peshmerga fighters. Iraqi forces have this week taken over swathes of territory which had been held by the Kurds since 2014.
Army and allied militia launched an operation which saw Kurdish forces pushed back into the officially recognised autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI). The oil-rich province of Kirkuk, which includes ethnically mixed Kirkuk city, is claimed by both the central government in Baghdad and the KRI.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered military action after the Kurdish government held a referendum which overwhelmingly backed independence. Mr Abadi had declared the vote illegitimate.An Iraqi military spokesman said counter-terrorism and federal police forces, as well as Iranian-backed militia, advanced on Alton Kupri at 07:30.
The latest action comes a day after an Iraqi court ordered the arrest of Kurdistan’s vice-president for calling troops sent to Kirkuk this week «occupying forces». Peshmerga forces had controlled much of the province since 2014, when Islamic State (IS) militants swept across northern Iraq and the army collapsed.
“Money Managers Think the Catalan Crisis Will Be ‘Contained’.”
The fastest-growing major economy in the euro area is in the middle of a political crisis with its richest region fighting for independence, yet Spain’s government bonds and the euro only briefly faltered.
While volatility may surge on further developments, analysts and money managers remain doubtful whether Spanish politics poses a big threat to markets just yet. The standoff, which came to a head on Thursday with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy moving toward suspending Catalan autonomy, was met with a short-lived sell-off in bonds and the euro.
Asset managers from Pimco to Investec view the events surrounding Catalonia as a domestic affair for Spain that doesn’t pose a systemic risk for the rest of the euro area.
Spain’s 10-year bond yield increased two basis points to 1.65 percent as of 9:31 a.m. in London Friday, in line with regional peers. It climbed as much as five basis points the previous day before paring the advance within hours. The euro’s dip on Thursday on the Catalan news also proved fleeting. It ended the day 0.6 percent higher. It fell 0.4 percent against a broadly stronger dollar on Friday to $1.1803.
Markets expect the tussle between Madrid and the Catalan separatists to intensify, but the muted moves showed that it isn’t clear-cut whether this fight for independence is necessarily a negative for Spain in the longer term, according to analysts at Rabobank International and Mizuho International Plc.
“Obama and Bush decry deep US divisions without naming Trump.”
Former Presidents Barack Obama and George W Bush have voiced concern about the current political climate in the US, in comments seen as a veiled rebuke of Donald Trump’s leadership. Mr Obama urged Americans to reject the politics of «division» and «fear», while Mr Bush criticised «bullying and prejudice» in public life. They were speaking separately. Neither mentioned President Trump by name.
Speaking at a Democratic campaign event in Newark, New Jersey, Mr Obama said Americans should «send a message to the world that we are rejecting a politics of division, we are rejecting a politics of fear».
Speaking just hours earlier in New York, Mr Bush said: «Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication.” Americans, he said, have «seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty». «At times it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. «We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism, forgotten the dynamism that immigration has always brought to America.»