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Policy: Economy

The week ahead in economics: Obama's budget, Fed nominees and the jobs report

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Jobs,Paul Ryan,Labor,Entitlements,PennAve,Joseph Lawler,Economy,Federal Reserve,Budgets and Deficits,Income Inequality

A jam-packed week for economics-related news in Washington is threatened by Winter Storm Titan, which is bearing down on the Mid-Atlantic region. Here’s what’s on the schedule:

House budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., is scheduled to publish a report Monday criticizing the U.S. welfare system and outlining his plans for reform, according to the Washington Post's Robert Costa. Ryan is one of a handful of conservative lawmakers who has taken a renewed interest in trying to improve the nation's safety net. In part, Ryan's plan will be a response to President Obama's efforts to draw attention to the state of income inequality.

The White House will release the president's budget request for fiscal 2015 on Tuesday. Obama is expected to ask Congress for funds to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit to childless workers and also for a major infrastructure project. He will not ask, as he did last year, to make the government use chained CPI, a measure of inflation thought to be more accurate than the regular Consumer Price Index that would cause seniors' benefits to grow more slowly and also boost tax revenues.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will appear before the House Ways and Means Committee Thursday to discuss the president's budget.

Also on Tuesday, the Senate Budget Committee will hold confirmation hearings for three nominees to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

One, Jerome Powell, is a current member of the board nominated for another term. Lael Brainard, who served as a top official in Obama's Treasury Department, is also nominated for a position as governor. The candidate who will likely receive the most scrutiny by far is Stanley Fischer, who is nominated to be the vice chairman to Chairwoman Janet Yellen. Fischer will likely face questions about his tenure as governor of the Bank of Israel, his time working for the megabank Citigroup, and his enormously influential career in academic economics.

Friday will see the release of the February jobs report. After disappointing numbers for December and January, economists expect the payroll report to show about 150,000 new jobs for the month. February, like the preceding two months, featured unusually harsh winter weather around much of the U.S., likely making it more difficult to take away any strong conclusions about the underlying strength of the economy.

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