House Speaker Nancy Pelosi explained to reporters Monday what kind steps she may consider to lower the federal voting age to 16 years old at a press conference in Ferguson, Missouri.
“We’re obviously collecting thoughts about it. Just because someone has a good idea — any of us — doesn’t mean it’s going to the Floor next,” Pelosi said. “It means you go through the process. You build consensus. You build a crescendo. That’s another club I’m starting: the crescendo club.”
She added, “You have an idea? Let’s see how many people you can convince. Let’s see what the other views are that we can enhance this.”
Pelosi, at her weekly presser last Thursday, told The Daily Caller she always supported lowering the voting age. The Democrat-proposed legislation, known as the “For The People Act” (H.R.1), included a debate over a failed amendment intended to lower the voting age to 16 years of age. The amendment was defeated 126-305, but H.R.1 passed. (RELATED: 125 Democrats And 1 Republican Vote To Lower Voting Age To 16)
“I myself, personally — I’m not speaking for my caucus. I myself have always been for lowering the voting age to 16,” Pelosi said last week. “I think it’s really important to capture kids when they’re in high school, when they’re interested in all of this, when they’re learning about government to be able to vote.” (RELATED: Pelosi Says She Personally Supports Lowering The Voting Age To 16)
The Speaker further elaborated on her thoughts concerning the issue Monday night when she joined Missouri Democratic Rep. Lacy Clay to talk about and take questions about H.R.1, as well as the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2019 (H.R.4).
“ …. When kids are in high school is really a prime time for them to be aware of civics. Many years ago, when I was in school, civics was a requirement. Then — remember that? Well, you don’t remember that, but you read about it.”
But then, it became an elective, and I don’t know. There were other things kids took instead. So, the point is that when they are in high school, we see such a heightened interest in history and civics and climate and gun safety and you name it. And that would be a time for them to be registered to vote. Now, we want to start something that might say ‘register to register.’ But you’ve got to get them on there because once they leave high school, not all kids go to college. And even if they do, they might not be in that same sense of community that they as high school students can make a big difference. More and more, more and more.
Pelosi previously supported a local effort two years ago in San Francisco known as Proposition F, which would have lowered the voting age for municipal elections, but the measure was defeated.
Kerry Picket is a host on SiriusXM Patriot 125
Source: The Daily Caller
FILE PHOTO: A Wall St. street sign is seen near the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., March 7, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
March 19, 2019
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Investors remained bullish on longer-dated U.S. Treasuries for a sixth consecutive week on worries about a slowing economy and expectations inflation will stay muted despite a tight domestic labor market, a J.P. Morgan survey showed on Tuesday.
The margin of investors who said they were “long,” or holding more Treasuries than their portfolio benchmarks, over those who said they were “short,” or holding fewer Treasuries than their benchmarks, increased to nine percentage points from 7 points the prior week, according to the survey.
Three weeks ago, the gap between longs and shorts rose to 11 percentage points, the highest since September 2016.
The survey results come the same day Fed policymakers begin a two-day meeting at which they are expected to leave interest rates unchanged.Twenty-eight percent of the investors surveyed said on Monday for a third straight week they were long on U.S. government bonds, the J.P. Morgan survey showed.
The share of investors who said they were short Treasuries fell to 19 percent from 21 percent a week ago.
The percentage of investors who said they were “neutral,” or holding Treasuries equal to their portfolio benchmarks, edged up to 53 percent from 51 percent the week before, J.P. Morgan said.
Positions among active clients, which include market makers and hedge funds, showed no bearish bets on longer-dated Treasuries. Active net longs rose to 30 percent, the highest since May 2018, while the share of these clients who said they were neutral increased to 70 percent from 60 percent.
In early Tuesday trading, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury was 2.6267 percent, up from 2.6050 percent a week ago.
(GRAPHIC: Investors positions in longer-dated U.S. Treasuries – https://tmsnrt.rs/2V9OjHR)
(Reporting by Richard Leong; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)
Phillip Stucky | Contributor
Former Vice President Joe Biden experienced a four-point bump over his previous standing with potential Democratic challengers should he join the 2020 presidential race, in a Morning Consult poll released Tuesday.
Biden leads with 35 percent of the vote, followed by Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, who garnered 27 percent of the vote. Sen. Kamala Harris and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke were tied for third place with 8 percent. (RELATED: Biden Claims He Was A Desegregationist Despite Sordid History On Race)
The Morning Consult poll is released each week, and Biden increased his standing by four percentage points. Despite a wide-reaching media and ground campaign, O’Rourke only experienced a 1 percent increase in support in the poll. Harris lost two points in the poll this week.
“I have the most progressive record of anyone running,” Biden said to raucous applause before correcting himself. “Anybody who would run — I didn’t mean it. Anybody who would run.”
Morning Consult polled 13,551 registered Democrats who self-reported they may vote in a Democratic primary or caucus in their state. The poll ran from March 11 through March 17 and had a margin of error of 1 percentage point in either direction.
Source: The Daily Caller
FILE PHOTO: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Urjit Patel pauses during a news conference after a monetary policy review in Mumbai, India, December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas
March 19, 2019
By Suvashree Choudhury
MUMBAI (Reuters) – Economists raised concerns over a sharp slowdown in Indian economy and pitched for a monetary policy boost to support growth at a meeting with the nation’s central bank chief on Tuesday, according to three participants.
Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das met more than a dozen economists to get their views on the economy ahead of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decision due on April 4.
Most economists expect the six-member MPC to cut the repo rate by 25 basis points for the second time in a row next month to 6.00 percent, a level last seen in August 2017.
While the economists did not specify the extent of rate cut that the RBI could consider, one of them called for a 50-basis- point reduction, one of the participants said.
“Most of the participants said that monetary policy needs to do the heavy lifting to boost growth as there was no space for fiscal expansion,” another participant said.
The meeting under Das, who took charge in December, was in sharp contrast to the previous ones under former governor Urjit Patel, who was slightly reclusive and preferred to meet a small group of 5-6 economists. Das’ style has, however, been more open and communicative.
India’s economy expanded by 6.6 percent during October-December, its slowest pace in five quarters, on weak consumer demand and investments, dealing a major blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he seeks a second term in office at a general election that kicks off next month.
Slowing growth has hit the federal government’s tax collections, constraining its ability to substantially boost spending ahead of elections.
However, neither Das nor any RBI official from the monetary policy department gave any indication of their thoughts or views, as is typical in such big-group meetings.
Economists and strategists spoke of several issues including drought, liquidity management, exchange rate, inflation, growth, bank credit growth, real interest rates and monetary policy transmission.
“The meeting went on for two-and-a-half hours as there were many participants,” said another economist who attended the meeting.
“But they didn’t say a single word on these topics.”
The RBI did not respond to an email seeking comment on the meeting with economists.
Some economists pointed out that food inflation could begin inching up after September if monsoon rains were not sufficient, but was unlikely to push retail inflation past the RBI’s 4 percent target.
Consumer inflation was at 2.57 percent on-year in February as food prices continued to fall for a fifth straight month.
The economists also raised concerns over a slowdown in global growth that has hurt India’s exports. India’s outbound shipments grew 2.4 percent annually in February, slower than 3.7 percent in January.
“Overall, the view was that the downside risks to growth have increased since the last policy while inflation risks have remained muted,” said a third participant.
“Not many of us clearly specified how much rate cut we wanted, but we presented the facts to make it clear to RBI that there was a need for a big boost to the economy.”
(Reporting by Suvashree Choudhury; Editing by Shreejay Sinha)
FILE PHOTO: Silhouettes of mobile users are seen next to a screen projection of Instagram logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
March 19, 2019
(Reuters) – Facebook Inc’s Instagram will now let U.S. users to shop products directly from the photo sharing app by adding a ‘checkout’ feature on items tagged for sale, the company said on Tuesday.
The move is in line with Facebook’s plan to monetize higher-growth units like Instagram, especially as the company’s centerpiece product, News Feed, struggles to generate fresh interest.
Instagram said it has partnered with more than 20 brands, including Adidas and H&M, on the new feature.
The photo sharing app has more than 130 million people tapping to reveal product tags in shopping posts every month, up from 90 million in September, it said.
(Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru and Katie Paul in San Francisco; Editing by Arun Koyyur)
FILE PHOTO: Mark Read, chief executive of WPP, leaves following the AGM in London, Britain, June 13, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo
March 19, 2019
By Kate Holton and Pamela Barbaglia
LONDON (Reuters) – A series of buyout funds including U.S. firms Advent and Blackstone are in talks with advertising group WPP to explore bids for a majority stake in its data analytics unit Kantar, four sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The sale, led by Goldman Sachs, may value Kantar at up to 3.5 billion pounds ($4.7 billion), but some private equity investors are fretting over the decline in profits and revenues that the business has suffered in recent years.
Hellman & Friedman and CVC Capital Partners are also working on the deal, the sources said, while industry players have so far shied away from the process.
Bain Capital has also expressed interest in making a bid for Kantar, another source said, adding Bain might later decide to team up with one of the other buyout funds in the race.
WPP sent out confidential information packs this week, with non-binding offers expected in April, one of the sources said.
WPP, Blackstone, Advent and CVC declined to comment, while representatives at Bain Capital and Hellman & Friedman were not immediately available.
WPP, the owner of agencies including JWT, Finsbury and Ogilvy, is in the middle of an overhaul launched by its new boss Mark Read following several profit warnings in 2017 and 2018.
The London-based group wants to sell a majority stake in Kantar to reduce debt as it braces for a tough year with revenue expected to drop by between 1.5 and 2 percent in 2019.
Kantar, a leading player in market research, provides brand and marketing communications research for some of the world’s largest advertisers.
Yet it has suffered a decline in revenue in recent years, with underlying sales down 2 percent last year to 2.6 billion pounds and operating profit down 14 percent to 301 million.
“The deal poses some challenges for private equity funds as it’s been on a downward trajectory for a while,” one source said.
Private equity investors are examining the turnaround potential of a possible deal, the sources said, and would value the business at up to 10 times its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), hoping to reignite growth within the first three years of their investment.
Liberum analyst Ian Whittaker said in February that Kantar could fetch more than 3 billion pounds, with WPP raising close to 2.1-2.2 billion pounds from a 60 percent stake sale.
WPP boss Read aims to complete the sale by the end of the summer as he needs cash to steer the world’s biggest advertising group back to growth.
Read took the helm of WPP last year, pledging to spend 300 million pounds to restructure the group and bring it back in line with peers by the end of 2021.
Founder Martin Sorrell, 74, remains a major WPP shareholder but is now running a new company which last year beat WPP in the race to buy Dutch digital agency MediaMonks.
(Editing by David Holmes)
FILE PHOTO: A trader passes by screens showing Spotify on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
March 19, 2019
By Medha Singh
(Reuters) – U.S. stock futures rose slightly on Tuesday as investors anticipated a more accommodative policy stance from the U.S. Federal Reserve in a two-day policy meeting this week.
A flurry of downbeat economic data this month has supported market expectations that the Fed may reinforce a halt to further rises in interest rates.
The Fed concludes its deliberations with a news conference on Wednesday.
Investors will also be watching out for the central bank’s “dot plot,” a diagram showing individual policymakers’ rate views for the next three years, along with details on its plan to reduce holdings in bonds.
Traders currently expect no rate hikes this year, and are even building in bets for a rate cut in 2020.
Optimism that the Fed will remain less aggressive in raising rates and hopes of a resolution to a bitter trade dispute between the U.S. and China helped the markets claw back most of their losses from late last year.
The benchmark S&P 500 hovers at a five-month high and is just 3.5 percent away from its September record closing high.
At 7:04 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 102 points, or 0.39 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 11.25 points, or 0.4 percent and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 27 points, or 0.37 percent.
Technology and financial stocks helped Wall Street’s three main indexes rise on Monday, the benchmark index and the tech-heavy Nasdaq’s fifth rise in last six sessions.
The blue-chip Dow’s advance has been hindered by Boeing Co as the world’s largest planemaker faces increased scrutiny in the wake of two deadly crashes of its 737 MAX aircraft in five months.
Boeing shares slipped 0.6 percent in premarket trading on Tuesday after shedding about 12 percent since the March 10 plane crash in Ethiopia.
Chip designer Nvidia Corp jumped 1.6 percent on partnering with Softbank Group Corp and LG Uplus Corp to deploy cloud gaming servers in Japan and Korea later this year.
In economic news, data at 10 a.m. ET is expected to show new orders for U.S.-made goods rose 0.3 percent in January after edging up 0.1 percent the month before.
(Reporting by Medha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)
FILE PHOTO: Special Counsel Robert Mueller (R) departs after briefing members of the U.S. Senate on his investigation into potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo
March 19, 2019
By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Special Counsel Robert Mueller, examining potential conspiracy between President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia, is leading the latest in a series of U.S. investigations conducted by prosecutors outside usual Justice Department channels in recent decades.
The release of the findings by previous investigators analogous to Mueller has been handled differently over the years, sometimes with voluminous reports and other times with no reports or with key elements kept under wraps for months and even years.
Mueller is preparing to submit a report to U.S. Attorney General William Barr on his findings, including Russia’s role in the election and whether Trump unlawfully sought to obstruct the probe. Trump has denied collusion and obstruction. Russia has denied election interference.
Barr already is coming under pressure from lawmakers to make the entire document public quickly, though he has wide latitude in what to release.
Here is an explanation of some past high-profile U.S. investigations and how their findings were made public.
The Justice Department named a special prosecutor to investigate the Watergate scandal that eventually forced Republican Richard Nixon in 1974 to become the only U.S. president to resign from office. At the time, no specific regulations or laws governed special prosecutors.
Attorney General Elliot Richardson, as a condition of his Senate confirmation, appointed Archibald Cox as a special prosecutor to examine the 1972 break-in by Republican operatives at Democratic headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington.
Cox found himself at odds with Nixon over subpoenas to obtain taped White House conversations. Nixon ultimately ordered the firing of Cox, and several top Justice Department officials resigned in protest including Richardson, in an event dubbed the Saturday Night Massacre.
Leon Jaworski, subsequently named as the new Watergate special prosecutor, prepared a report with his findings, known as the “road map,” to assist Congress with possible impeachment proceedings to remove Nixon from office.
The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee used it as a basis for hearings and passed articles of impeachment, though Nixon quit before the full House could act. The “road map” remained under seal by a federal court for 55 years until it was released by federal archivists in 2018.
The job of independent counsel, with broader powers, was created by Congress after the Watergate scandal. In 1986, Lawrence Walsh was named as independent counsel to investigate the Iran-Contra affair involving illegal arms sales to Iran under Republican President Ronald Reagan, with the proceeds diverted to fund rebels in Nicaragua called Contras.
The probe lasted nearly seven years and led to criminal charges against 14 people. The convictions of some prominent officials – Oliver North and John Poindexter – were overturned on appeal. In 1992, Republican President George H.W. Bush pardoned others.
Walsh submitted his final report to a federal court in 1993, which had the power to release it publicly but was not required to do so. Its release was delayed after people named in the report sued to keep it suppressed. A federal appeals court ruled in 1994 that it should be released in the public interest. Walsh then unveiled it at a news conference.
WHITEWATER AND LEWINSKY SCANDALS
Attorney General Janet Reno in 1994 appointed Robert Fiske as a independent counsel to investigate allegations of impropriety by Democratic President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton regarding real estate investments in the Whitewater Development Corporation. Fiske’s probe was expanded to include reviewing the death of Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster, which police had ruled a suicide.
Fiske, who was not subject to the independent counsel law because it had temporarily lapsed, publicly released a 200-page interim report in 1994 clearing White House officials of wrongdoing in the Whitewater affair and confirming that Foster’s death was a suicide unrelated to Whitewater.
On that same day, Clinton signed a law reauthorizing the independent counsel statute, which paved the way for a federal court to replace Fiske as independent counsel with Kenneth Starr. Starr turned in a report on Foster’s death to federal courts in 1997, also finding no foul play. It remained under seal for three months before being released.
Starr’s probe expanded into other areas, including a sexual affair between Clinton and White House intern Monica Lewinsky and alleged improprieties in the White House travel office. His expansive 445-page report, containing explicit details on Clinton’s sexual affair, was sent to Congress in 1998. Two days later, lawmakers voted to release it publicly. Its findings triggered an unsuccessful Republican effort to remove Clinton from office through the impeachment process.
Congress let the independent counsel law expire, with some lawmakers believing Starr went too far. The Justice Department in 1999 wrote regulations creating the new job of special counsel, with more limited powers.
FEDERAL RAID AT WACO
Reno in 1999 appointed John Danforth as special counsel to investigate the 1993 federal raid on the Branch Davidian cult compound in Waco, Texas. The FBI used tear gas and a fire broke out, killing more than 70 people including cult leader David Koresh.
Danforth was the first person appointed under the 1999 regulations, the rules that now apply to Mueller. Under those rules, a special counsel must submit a confidential report to the attorney general, who then has discretion to publicly release some or all of it. The attorney general must weigh the public interest. But he also must consider thorny issues such as secrecy of grand jury testimony, protecting classified information, communications with the White House possibly subject to the principle of executive privilege shielding certain information from disclosure, and safeguarding confidential reasons for why some individuals were not charged.
Reno specifically instructed Danforth to prepare two versions of his report, a confidential one and another for public release. Rod Rosenstein, the Justice Department’s No. 2 official, gave no such instruction to Mueller when he appointed him in May 2017.
In 2000, Danforth held a news conference to publicly release his report, exonerating federal agents and Justice Department officials of any wrongdoing.
OUTING OF CIA AGENT PLAME
In 2003, James Comey, then the Justice Department’s No. 2 official, appointed Patrick Fitzgerald as special counsel to investigate how CIA operative Valerie Plame’s cover was blown through media leaks. Fitzgerald was not appointed under the 1999 regulations and was not bound by them.
Fitzgerald held a 2005 news conference to announce that a grand jury had returned a five-count indictment against Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, for obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements. Fitzgerald never published a final report on his findings.
A jury convicted Libby. Republican President George H.W. Bush commuted his sentence in 2007. Trump gave Libby a full pardon in 2018.
(This story has been refiled to insert dropped word in lead paragraph.)
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Will Dunham)
FILE PHOTO: The Swiss National Bank (SNB) is pictured next to the Swiss Federal Palace (Bundeshaus) in Bern, Switzerland December 7, 2018. Picture taken December 7, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
March 19, 2019
ZURICH (Reuters) – The Swiss National Bank will leave its ultra-loose policy alone on Thursday, said all the economists polled by Reuters, and most don’t expect any change until at least 2021.
All 32 economists polled by Reuters expect SNB Chairman Thomas Jordan to maintain the bank’s negative interest rates and readiness to intervene in currency markets to restrain the safe-haven Swiss franc.
They expect the SNB to keep its target range for the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) locked at -1.25 to -0.25 percent, the same level since it ditched its minimum exchange rate of 1.20 Swiss francs to the euro four years ago.
None of the respondents expect any change until the end of this year, especially in view of the European Central Bank’s slowing of its own policy normalization. Most forecast it will come in 2021 at the earliest.
“We do not expect the SNB to change interest rates before the end of 2020. In fact, if we are correct in our assessment that the ECB will be forced to re-start QE next year, upward pressure on the franc – and SNB concerns about deflation – are likely to intensify into 2020,” said Jack Allen at Capital Economics.
“This means the SNB may have to delve into its toolbox to ease policy next year,” Allen said. He thinks the SNB might take rates even further into negative territory if necessary.
There was also no disagreement about the negative interest rate the SNB charges on sight deposits. All the economists expect -0.75 percent to be maintained this week.
All but one expected the bank to retain its description of the franc as “highly valued”. That one expected it will be described as “significantly overvalued”. The franc has gained 3 percent against the euro in the last 12 months to trade around 1.1360.
A strong franc weighs on Switzerland’s export-reliant economy and also adds deflationary pressure. The SNB is expected to cut its 2019 inflation forecast on Thursday from its current view of 1 percent.
The SNB will have to wait at least until the ECB starts its monetary policy tightening — now delayed to 2020 at the earliest — before it begins its own path to normalization, analysts said.
“Pressure on the SNB is mounting from two sides: on the one hand, the financial industry and pension funds are increasingly coming under pressure, which puts pressure on the SNB to end the negative interest rate phase as early as possible,” said Alessandro Bee at UBS.
“On the other hand, the weakness in European growth and the various political risks lead to a higher risk of a Swiss franc appreciation. The SNB is between a rock and a hard place.”
(Reporting by John Revill, polling by Manjul Paul and Richa Rebello, editing by Larry King)