Industry sees hope in today’s economic news


House and Senate negotiators unveiled an $85 billion agreement late Tuesday to fund federal agencies through the fall of 2015, averting another government shutdown and bringing potentially welcome news to the marine industry.

The news comes alongside reports that home mortgage debt saw its first rise since the recession, the Federal Reserve said Monday.

Marine industry analysts often say large discretionary purchases, such as boats, are tied to consumer confidence — which has fluctuated during repeated budget impasses in Congress — and a housing market rebound.

Home mortgage debt rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.9 percent, or $87.4 billion, in the third quarter, the first gain since the first quarter of 2008, MarketWatch reported. The rise comes as house prices have been recovering and as the foreclosure crisis winds down. According to separate data from CoreLogic, prices are up about 13 percent year-on-year as foreclosures have dropped 30 percent.

National Retail Federation CEO Matthew Shay praised the budget deal in a statement posted this morning, saying that it “is an early and much needed holiday present for consumers and the businesses that employ and serve them every day in communities across the country.”

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., announced the deal, which would cancel half of the spending cuts known as the sequester for the current fiscal year, according to the Washington Post.

Murray and Ryan said the deal would allow more spending for domestic and defense programs in the near term while adopting deficit-reduction measures over a decade to offset the costs, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Revenue to pay for the higher spending would come from changes to federal employee and military pension programs and higher fees for airline passengers, among other sources. An extension of long-term jobless benefits, sought by Democrats, was not included. Although they pledged to keep fighting, senior Democrats acknowledged that checks are likely to be cut off at the end of the month for more than a million people, potentially undercutting the strengthening economic recovery.

But the agreement could provide an offsetting boost to the economy by returning a degree of normalcy to the Washington budget process and restoring confidence in the ability of Republicans and Democrats to work together after years of destabilizing strife.

The deal, which goes to the House and Senate for approval in the coming days, marks a major change in the landmark 2011 budget-cutting law, which set in motion 10 years of fiscal austerity, including across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration.


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