OVERNIGHT MONEY: Congress takes stock

FRIDAY OUTLOOK
 
The House is out of town for its nearly three-week recess and the Senate will not hold nomination votes during its rare Friday session. 
 
The Senate is considering the nominations of Michelle Friedland to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court and David Weil to be administrator of the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division.
 
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Because only a simple majority is needed after the "nuclear option" to advance and confirm most nominees, Republicans will likely still leave town Thursday evening while Democrats will have to stay to finish the work, The Hill’s Ramsey Cox writes.
 
As rank-and-file lawmakers head back to their districts, they — and their party leaders — will be taking stock of a busy legislative week in Congress.  
 
The House passed Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) last 10-year budget plan on Thursday, and the Senate cleared an extension of unemployment insurance benefits while failing to move on a gender pay gap bill.  
 
Gridlock likely means that these measures are sound and fury that yield more campaign advertisements than enacted laws. 
 
House Committee work held out more promise, with the Agriculture Committee reporting out a reauthorization of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and three CFTC nominees and the House Appropriations Committee OKing two bills, covering military construction and veterans affairs as well as the legislative branch. The spending bills can expect action in early May.
 
Also at the top of the agenda when the House returns will be a vote on the House Oversight Committee contempt resolution against former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner. 
 
House GOP leaders will be likely be doing a postmortem over the recess on the Ryan budget vote and their whipping operation. Unable to lose more than 18 members, GOP leaders lost 12. 
 
They were able to turn regular naysayers like Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) and Justin Amash (R-Mich.) to “yes.” 
 
Late Thursday GOP “no” votes explained why they went against the Ryan plan. 
 
Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas), who faces a primary challenge: “Both budgets were commendable for bringing the budget into balance without raising taxes and for repealing and replacing ObamaCare. The main difference was the RSC budget achieved balance in four years, and the Ryan budget balanced in 10 years.  I voted for the budget that balanced sooner, rather than later.”          
 
Conservative Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.): "Democrats want to increase spending 5.2% each year. Paul Ryan's budget would increase spending 3.5% each year. Only in Washington could a 3.5% increase in spending be considered ‘draconian’ or ‘austere!’ ”
 
Senate candidate Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.): “Simply put, the Ryan Budget continues to spend money we don’t have. In our state of fiscal emergency, we cannot afford to increase spending and delay the tough decision making for future Congresses.”
 
Senate candidate Jack Kingston (R-Ga.): "America's budget problems and massive debt are too dangerous to be put on a 'to-do' list by Congress and that is why I voted to balance the budget before the end of the decade, reform our entitlements, and fully repeal then replace Obamacare so families can keep their doctor and have affordable choices."
 
Centrist Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.): “While I remain concerned about the $17 trillion in national debt, my immediate focus is ensuring the residents in my district have the critical assistance they need to survive. It has been incredibly disappointing and frustrating to watch the economy not fully recover, reinforcing a lack of confidence in our businesses that stifles investment and job creation. With double-digit unemployment in my district, further reductions in food stamps, the children’s health insurance program, student loans and other essential domestic programs vital to the families I represent is not something I can support at this time.”
 
Centrist Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.): “While the House Republican budget includes positive aspects, it also includes some proposals that differ from the priorities of West Virginia’s First District.” His statement listed “maintaining Obamacare cuts to Medicare and making changes to the program that could negatively impact older West Virginians, a lack of needed investments in our aging infrastructure; reducing funding to programs such as Community Development Block Grants that communities across the First District utilize; cuts to education; and phasing out Essential Air Service (EAS), which our airports depend on.”
 
 
WHAT ELSE WE’RE WATCHING:
 
IMF/World Bank meetings: The spring meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund continue in Washington. Friday highlights include the release of the IMF Asia economic outlook at 9 a.m. and Western Hemisphere Outlook at 1 p.m. The meetings come as U.S.-backed World Bank President Jim Yong Kim has come under increasing criticism for his restructuring of the bank toward more headquarters-managed big infrastructure lending. The Financial Times editorial board issued a harsh critique this week. 
 
The full schedule for Friday’s IMF/ World Bank meetings, including a panel on universal global health insurance, can be found here
 
OBAMA: President Obama travels to New York to address the National Action Network convention. NAN was founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton, whose past FBI anti-mafia informant activities gained scrutiny this week.
 
KEYSTONE: Senate opponents of the Keystone XL oil pipeline will hold an 11:30 a.m. conference call on a report on its possible health effects. Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) will brief. 
 
 
LOOSE CHANGE
 
The Ways and Means Committee released a full transcript of its closed-door meeting on Lois Lerner and the IRS Tea Party targeting affair. Available here.
 
Stock indexes ended sharply lower on Thursday driven down by a flight from high-growth technology stock. 
 
 
ECONOMIC INDICATORS:
 
Producer Price Index (PPI): The Labor Department will release its March report that tracks the prices of goods at the wholesale level. The market tracks PPI closely because it represents prices for goods that are ready to sell to consumers. 
 
Michigan Sentiment: Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan will release its first measure of consumer sentiment for April.
 
Crops: The Agriculture Department will release an outlook report for feed grains, rice and wheat crops.
 
 
WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:
 
— Campaign finance groups: Lerner didn't target Crossroads
 
— GM: Recalls cost $1.3 million
 
— House GOP: We're willing to subpoena CFPB
 
— Federal deficit for first half of year is $413B
 
— Panel holds Lerner in contempt
 
— House passes final Ryan budget
 
— House kills Dem budget plan with help from 31 Dems
 
— Senators set 'principles' to prevent highway fund bankruptcy
 
— Senators strike deal on terrorism insurance extension
 
— DOT chief launches bus tour to push for transport funding
 
— House kills conservative budget plan
 
— Most say filing taxes is easy 
 
— GOP calls for Lerner’s prosecution
 
— Senate readies transportation funding proposal 
 
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