Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that the Democratic-controlled House won’t pass legislation to increase the government’s borrowing cap until the Trump administration agrees to boost spending limits on domestic programs.
The California Democrat said she’ll agree to increase the so-called debt ceiling, which is needed to avoid a market-cratering default on U.S. government obligations this fall. But she said she’ll do so only after President Trump agrees to lift tight “caps” that threaten both the Pentagon and domestic agencies with sweeping budget cuts.
“When we lift the caps then we can talk about lifting the debt ceiling — that would have to come second or simultaneously, but not before lifting the caps,” Pelosi told reporters.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who is leading negotiations for the administration, shares Pelosi’s sentiments, though his top priority is to increase the borrowing ceiling.
“If we reach a caps deal, the debt ceiling has to be included,” he said Wednesday.
The Trump administration will expand options for small companies to use special accounts to help workers buy their own health insurance or upgrade job-based coverage, officials said Thursday.
The tax-free individual accounts are called “health reimbursement arrangements,” or HRAs. HRAs are already available, but the administration is promoting new uses that could boost their popularity. Critics fear this could undermine traditional workplace insurance.
The HRA accounts join short-term health insurance and association health plans as the Trump administration’s answer to high health insurance premiums.
Twitter says it has deleted nearly 4,800 suspect accounts linked to Iran that the company says secretly pushed that government’s agenda.
Twitter is adding those accounts and their tweets to a public database it launched in October to track its battle against government-linked misinformation. It is also adding a smaller number of deleted accounts linked to Russia, Venezuela and the Catalonia region of Spain.
Twitter said the removals are meant to prevent election interference while preserving valid political speech.
Cargill Inc. said Thursday that it will spend $30 million to fund new ideas for ending deforestation in Brazil, and called on its peers, governments and organizations to pitch in.
Minnesota-based Cargill is a major player in Brazilian soybean production. Cargill’s Ruth Kimmelshue said agribusiness is set to land short of its goal to eliminate deforestation in key supply chains, including soy, by 2020.
“I’m not going to admit defeat, but we can all be reasonable people and see that we have significantly more work to do,” Kimmelshue said Thursday.
Soybean farming continues to encroach on ecosystems in Brazil, leading to destruction of forests and native vegetation. Soy often is a base ingredient in livestock feed, and a growing appetite for meat worldwide is pushing demand for the crop and prompting many South American farmers to expand their cropland.