Congress is gearing up for the rest of the year after passing a $1.7 trillion federal funding bill this afternoon.
We’ll also look at the latest information on the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation indicator, why Democrats released former President Trump’s tax returns, and more.
But first, what do you think of Obama’s list of favorite movies?
Welcome to On The Money, your guide to everything that affects your bills, bank account, and bottom line. For CNNBreakingNews, we’re Aris Folley and Karl Evers-Hillstrom. Subscribe here or in the box below.
Programming note: We’re taking a break until Tuesday, January 3. Happy holidays!
THAT IS A WRAP
The House of Representatives passes omnibus and finances the government until autumn
The House of Representatives passed a huge $1.7 trillion omnibus package on Friday, bringing weeks of drama to freeze government funding for fiscal year 2023.
The bill was passed largely bipartisan, 225-201-1, a day after the Senate passed it in a bipartisan vote. The bill is now being presented to President Biden’s desk for signature.
- The legislation provides for $772.5 billion in discretionary spending outside defense and $858 billion in defense funding — a plus that, according to Republicans who are pushing for the bill, exceeds inflation, while they tout the opposite for funding outside defense.
- And it includes a law known as the Electoral Count Act, which clarifies the role of the vice president in confirming a solemn presidential election. This measure is intended to help prevent a repeat of the violence in the Capitol on January 6, 2021, when a pro-Trump mob entered the Capitol and forced Congress to evacuate.
- Democrats have also pointed to a $13.4 billion increase in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a $28.5 billion increase for children’s nutrition programs, and $6 billion for the special nutrition program for women, infants, and children.
While the bill was widely supported by Democrats, only nine House Republicans voted in favour of the measure as Republican leaders pushed their members to oppose it.
Some Democrats were also anything but enthusiastic about the package, as two turned away from the progressives as they resisted increasing defense funding.
Aris has the details here.
Mehr von CNNBreakingNews
- Five highlights of the $1.7 trillion spending bill just passed by Congress
HAVE PRICES REACHED THEIR PEAK?
The Fed’s preferred index shows that inflation is easing again
The Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation indicator has declined again in the past month, potentially fueling hopes that central banks will slow interest rate hikes.
- The price index for personal consumption expenditure (PCE) rose by 0.1 percent in November and 5.5 percent last year.
- This is a decline compared to the annual increase of 6 percent in the previous month.
- Excluding food and energy, prices rose by 0.2 percent month by month and only 4.7 percent annually, which is roughly in line with analysts’ forecasts.
Earlier this month, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 0.5 percentage points, the smallest increase since June.
We’ll see if the latest PCE data will encourage the Fed to slow interest rate hikes, which economists warn could lead to a recession.
Karl has more here.
TECH WINS AGAIN
How big tech fought antitrust reform — and won
Tech giants and their army of industry groups banded together to suppress multi-year efforts by Congress to overhaul antitrust laws and pour millions into campaigns to block key bipartisan bills against the country’s four largest tech companies.
They seem to have prevailed over would-be reformers. Two key bipartisan measures against Internet giants that failed to make it by the end of the year must pass bills, effectively nullifying their chances of getting passed this year.
And since the GOP will take control of the House of Representatives in January, the best opportunity to enforce it may now be in the rearview mirror.
- Tech giants and their allied trade associations spent $277 million on lobbying over the past two years, six times more than antitrust advocates. Amazon and Apple both broke their own lobbying spending records this year.
- They sent former aides to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who failed to bring the bills to a vote, as well as Judiciary Committee staff to help draft the antitrust legislation.
- Big Tech has also passed online privacy bills and legislation to channel advertising revenue from digital platforms to news outlets, providing clear insight.
Karl and Rebecca Klar go into this in more detail here.
Why Democrats released Trump’s tax returns
After years of fighting over former President Trump’s tax returns, Democrats finally got their hands on them and made them available to the public in two congressional reports released this week.
The Democrats stress, however, that their decision wasn’t about Trump himself, but about oversight of the IRS and the US tax system in general — even though Trump was the first president since Watergate not to release his tax returns before taking over the presidency.
to the Democrat-led Ways and Means Committee report, Trump was not audited in his first two years in office. His first audit as president only really came when the IRS was asked directly by Congress to provide Trump’s tax returns.
This could be a violation of IRS policy, which states that “individual income tax returns are subject to mandatory review for the President and Vice President” and that they are subject to “normal pipeline processing” and “regular filing and retention procedures.”
Tobias Burns from CNNBreakingNews has the overview here.
Good to know
If the Christmas tree looks bigger this year, the reason may be the smaller pile of presents underneath.
Retail analysts expect Americans to spend roughly the same amount on Christmas gifts this year as they did last year. However, due to inflation, the money is used to buy fewer gifts. Seven less gifts, to be exact.
Other things we’re keeping an eye on:
- A massive winter storm stranded thousands at US airports on Friday, just a few days before the Christmas holidays.
- President Biden signed the $858 billion annual defense authorization bill on Friday after Congress passed the bill just before the year-end deadline.
- Congress passed legislation this week to incentivize food donations to combat hunger and reduce food waste.
- Facebook parent company Meta agreed to pay $725 million to settle a privacy class action lawsuit accusing the social media giant of allowing consulting firm Cambridge Analytica and other third parties access to user information.
That’s it for today. Thank you so much for reading. Check out CNNBreakingNews’ finance page for the latest news and coverage. I’ll see you next week!