Driving the Day: 1/26/12

Jan 26, 2012

Shale Gas $100 Billion Savings to U.S. Exceed Tax Cuts: Energy – Bloomberg Businessweek

U.S. consumers could save $16.5 billion on home energy bills over the course of a year due to low natural gas prices spurred by new types of drilling, according to a senior economist at the U.S. Federal Reserve. Energy industry consultants HIS Inc. project U.S. households could see a total savings of $113 billion a year through 2015, including tack-on effects such as lower product prices and higher wages. If consumers save more than $100 billion from low gas costs, it could add to the U.S. domestic growth for 2012 or 2013.

Keystone Pipeline Decision Looms for GOP - POLITICO

Speaker John Boehner’s leadership team faces a big challenge in trying to push the Keystone XL pipeline project through a split Congress and after the White House rejected the plan last week. Republicans are focusing on two potential options: including the project on President Obama’s payroll tax holiday bill or with Boehner’s energy expansion and infrastructure spending package, expected to move through the House sometime next week. Boehner will have to make a decision in the next few days.

Pending Health Law Ruling, GOP Eyes Substitutes – The Washington Times

Republican lawmakers are preparing a health care overhaul in hopes of passing something over the summer after the Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of the individual mandate and Medicaid provisions in the current legislation. The justices are expected to make a ruling in June providing GOP lawmakers a chance to make a case to voters that the Affordable Care Act needs to be eliminated. Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PAa) said Wednesday he expects GOP leadership to advance the replacement package shortly after the ruling, even if the individual mandate holds up in court.

Long-Term Transportation Funding Likely to be Delayed – The Washington Post

Given the tense political atmosphere in Washington, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said a bill to fund America's highways and other transportation infrastructure will likely not pass this year. This forecast comes just days prior to the introduction of a five-year transportation blueprint by House Republicans. With government spending focused on defense and entitlement programs, America's transportation infrastructure is in a state of disrepair, and without long-term funding provided by infrastructure legislation, America's economic health is put in jeopardy.

Fed Signals That a Full Recovery Is Years Away – The New York Times

The Federal Reserve plans to continue holding down interest rates, stating Wednesday that the U.S. economy would take years to recover. To continue spurring growth, the Fed said it will keep short-term interest rates low until late 2014. Forecasting up to 2.7 percent growth for 2012 and 3.2 percent for 2013, the Fed said that by 2014, even with interest rates climbing up to 4 percent, the recovery would still be in progress. 

In other news…

Eased Immigration Laws May Spur Growth, U.S. Chamber Report Says – Bloomberg Businessweek

Obama to Unveil Energy Plans – The Wall Street Journal [Subscription Required]

Rep. Mica Promises Highway Bill Next Week – The Hill

Greek Debt Talks Resume – FOX Business

Indiana Right-to-Work Bill Advances – POLITICO

Taxpayers Still Owed $132.9B from Bailout: Report – FOX News

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