The daily business briefing: January 25, 2017
Trump revives Keystone and Dakota Access oil pipelines, stocks hit records as Trump moves on economy promises, and more
Trump revives Keystone and Dakota Access pipeline projects
President Trump on Tuesday signed executive orders reviving the Keystone and Dakota Access oil pipelines. The Obama administration had rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, and delayed the Dakota Access project to see whether its final stretch could be rerouted to avoid concerns that it would threaten the water supply and sacred sites on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. Trump said both projects would hinge on renegotiated terms, which would include such requirements as using American steel and building the pipes in the U.S. "If we're going to be building pipelines in the United States, we'll build the pipes in the United States," Trump said.
Stocks hit records as Trump moves on economy-boosting promises
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq stock indexes reached record highs on Tuesday as President Trump used executive orders to begin delivering on campaign promises investors are counting on to boost the economy. Trump revived the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, promising that the projects would bring thousands of construction jobs. The moves marked a first step in his promised push to roll back the Obama administration's environmental initiatives and expand energy production. Financial and technology stocks led the gains in a sign of new life for the post-election rally, which had stalled in recent weeks. The Dow is poised to make another run for the psychologically important 20,000 mark with futures edging up Wednesday ahead of key earnings reports following the index's 113-point Tuesday gain.
Trump promises automakers he will cut 'unnecessary' regulations
President Trump met with leaders of the largest U.S. automakers on Tuesday, promising to cut "unnecessary" environmental regulations to make it easier for them to build and expand U.S. plants. Trump has been putting pressure on Ford, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler to add manufacturing jobs in the U.S., repeatedly threatening to impose a tough border tax on any vehicles they build in Mexico for sale in the U.S. "We have a very big push on to have auto plants and other plants, many other plants, you're not being singled out … to have a lot of plants from a lot of different items built in the United States," Trump told the executives.
CBO projects rising federal deficits
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday that the federal budget deficit is projected to begin rising again after seven years of declines. The shift is projected to add nearly $10 trillion to the federal debt over a decade. The new forecast presents a challenge for House Republicans who regained power in 2010 vowing to reduce former President Barack Obama's deficits but now face budget strains as President Trump promises tax cuts and new military and infrastructure spending.
Trump administration freezes activities at EPA and other agencies
The Trump administration announced Tuesday that it was freezing activities at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Agriculture, and the National Institutes of Health. The administration also imposed a temporary media blackout on the agencies, barring employees from external communication such as talking to reporters, publishing press releases, or posting to social media or agency websites. Doug Ericksen, communications director for the Trump EPA transition team, said the blackout would probably be lifted by the end of the week. "We're just trying to get a handle on everything and make sure what goes out reflects the priorities of the new administration," he said.