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Good morning, here is your weekly briefing.
1. After a seven-year effort, repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) falls flat on its face.
John McCain returned to the Senate following his brain cancer diagnosis which enabled the party to get their health care proposal to the floor for debate. The vote ended 50-50, with Vice President Pence breaking the tie in the affirmative.
After the repeal and replace vote ended 43 in favor and 57 against, and the partial repeal amendment ended 45 in favor and 55 against, a final vote was made on a ‘skinny repeal.’ As expected, the senator from Maine, Susan Collins, and the senator from Alaska, Lisa Murkowski, voted no. The decisive vote, however, was that of Senator McCain who voted no in the chamber echoing audible gasps as he cast his vote.
The final tally of the skinny repeal ended 49 in favor and 51 against. No other health care proposal has yet been made.
2. Pakistani prime minister steps down following corruption charges.
The charges that made the Supreme Court rule in order to disqualify the former prime minister stem from disclosures last year in the Panama Papers, which implicated Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his three children.
In the efforts to replace him, populist politician, Imran Khan, is currently the strongest contender to succeed him.
3. President Trump announces on Twitter intent to forbid transgendered people from serving in the military.
In an announcement that caught the Pentagon off-guard, Trump said that because of the high costs allocated to medical care for transgendered people, he would reinstitute the ban, that Obama lifted, to restrict transgendered people from serving in the U.S. military.
A massive blow to the LGBTQ community, for which Trump claimed to be the largest ally for during the campaign.
4. More staff turmoil in the White House this week — Chief of Staff Priebus, out.
After the new White House communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, had made the rounds on cable news in a campaign to discredit former chief of staff, Reince Priebus turned in his resignation.
Mr. Scaramucci in a call to a The New Yorker reporter, he accused Mr. Priebus of plotting against him by leaking information from the White House to the press. He also took a jab at Chief Strategist Bannon saying, “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock,” when asked about media attention.
Trump has declared that he wants Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly to replace Priebus as chief of staff.
5. Tension keeps rising between President Trump and Attorney General Sessions.
In an interview with The New York Times, Mr. Trump claimed that he would not have appointed Sessions to the position had he known that he would’ve recused himself from the Justice Department’s Russia investigation.
Ongoing attempts to smear the attorney general and former senator have left a sour taste in the mouths of Mr. Sessions former colleagues in the Senate and his former constituents in Alabama, who helped elect President Trump.
6. U.S. economy grows in the second quarter, despite a rocky first quarter.
Friday’s second quarter GDP report showed that the U.S. GDP, the staple measurement for the economy, grew 2.6% in the second quarter.
The second quarter growth is more than double of the 1.2% growth seen in the first quarter, and has been the largest growth in GDP seen since the third quarter of last year.
While certainly a welcomed trend, it’s still short of the 4% promised by the president. We will keep a close eye on whether or not his actions in Q3 will make the U.S. reach that goal.
7. Newly tested North Korean ballistic missile may reach California and beyond.
The missile that landed of just off Japan’s northern islands flew for approximately 45 minutes. This is longer than the previously tested missiles, and suggests that they might reach the western coast of the U.S., and mayhap even further.
South Korea and the U.S. is expected to start negotiations in regards to allowing North Korea’s southern counterpart to build more powerful ballistic missiles to counter the threat.
8. White House says President Trump would sign the bill that imposes sanctions on Russia.
The legislation that was passed by all but three congressmen imposes economic sanction on Russia for their attempted election meddling in the 2016 election and sharply limit the ability of the president to terminate or suspend sanctions.
Russia has already retaliated against the proposal by seizing two U.S. diplomatic properties. They have furthermore ordered staff reduction to the American Embassy.
The White House announced on Friday that the president would sign the measure.
Weekly Market Recap
While the S&P 500 remained largely unchanged at the end of the week, the Dow Jones Industrial average increased by a little over 1% this week. The 2.6% GDP growth announced for the second quarter seems to have had a minimal impact on stock prices.
Following the Fed’s FOMC meeting last Wednesday, they announced intent to reduce their holdings of mortgage-backed securities and Treasuries. The timeline remains unclear, as they stated it would happen “relatively soon.” While not vital information to short term market strategies, it may put pressure on long-term interest rates.
Next week, we’re keeping our eyes on the vehicle sales report that will be released on Tuesday, as well as the July job report that will be released Friday morning.
Weekly market change
Have a good rest of the week.
The Brief is a weekly briefing which gives the reader the bread and butter of what happened in the previous week. Grab your cup of coffee this Monday morning and read a bite-sized version of what happened last week. Subscribe to The EC Journal mailing list to get The Brief in your e-mail inbox every Monday.
This week's read is a take on how we should not be too hasty in conflating President Trump's Twitter content with the vehicle of distribution