The recent midterm elections have sparked hope that a Democratic White House and a Republican-controlled Congress will advance a number of long-stalled customs and trade initiatives. To help lawmakers brighten the holiday season before they adjourn for the year, we put together the following list of bills to boost domestic employment, expand foreign markets, align policy with existing business practices, aid developing countries, and lower consumer prices.
President Obama will soon announce an executive action to defer the deportations of somewhere between 1 million and 4.5 million unauthorized immigrants. Those whose deportations are deferred will be eligible for a temporary work permit through a 1987 provision in the Code of Federal Regulations.
The curious drop in gasoline prices, which recently dipped below $3 for the first time since December 2010, may be welcome by consumers. But the accompanying dive in crude oil prices has some U.S. producers concerned. Though typical economic stressors of higher supplies and weaker global demand are in play, the current slump is indicative of a crude oil price war being waged by Saudi Arabia.
Chancellor Angela Merkel continues to be seen by the German electorate as a steady hand well-suited to leading in a time of crisis. The latest opinion polls show the chancellor’s center-right CDU running far ahead of its coalition partner, the center-left SPD, and Merkel’s own approval rating is holding steady at 65 percent. However, with the economy showing signs of faltering, and the outlook clouded by conflict between the EU and Russia, her popularity cannot be taken for granted.
Before becoming prime minister, India’s Narendra Modi was barred from receiving a visa to visit the U.S. A rising leader in the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), he was tied to deadly sectarian violence. But now he leads one of Asia’s most important powers and the Obama administration rolled out the red carpet.
President Obama’s much anticipated executive actions to reform immigration have been delayed, again. The president explained by saying, “The truth of the matter is that the politics did shift midsummer because of that problem [unaccompanied children].” He further said he wants to “make sure that the public understands why we’re doing this, why it’s the right thing for the American people, why it’s the right thing for the American economy.”
Brazil’s hosting of the World Cup soccer tournament in June through July 2014 was a trial of sorts for President Dilma Rousseff, who will stand for re-election in October. Any serious problem during the games could have turned the upcoming election into a referendum on whether she is the best person to head the government in the summer of 2016 when Brazil hosts the Olympics.
Until mid-July, the diplomatic crisis generated by Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March and Moscow’s ongoing indirect support for a pro-Russia separatist rebellion in eastern Ukraine appeared to have settled into a state of equilibrium. Powerful EU members resisted pressure from the U.S. for an expansion of economic sanctions targeting strategic government agencies and powerful political and business allies of President Vladimir Putin.
The recent primary defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was one of the bigger shocks to American politics in some time. Congressional leaders, known to bring home the bacon for local folks, usually are handily reelected. But Cantor’s loss will do more than simply reshuffle the biggest offices on Capitol Hill.
Government policies have unintended consequences that can play out far into the future. There is perhaps no better example of this than the complex legal changes that have impacted the current surge of unaccompanied immigrant children (UAC) coming across the border. American policies crafted in the 1990s likely unintentionally had a role in incentivizing some of the migration and the smugglers that carry many of the migrants.
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