The decline in President Obama's popularity has heightened the vulnerability of his fellow Democrats in this fall's congressional elections.» Read More
President Barack Obama marked the five-year anniversary of a controversial economic stimulus plan by releasing a report on saying that government spending averted a second Great Depression, setting off a new round of partisan debate about the decision.
Obama had been in office only a month when he signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a $787 billion stimulus that Democratic majorities in both the Senate and House of Representatives passed over the objections of Republicans.
Many Americans remain doubtful about how helpful the stimulus was for an economy that still struggles to recover from a deep recession that took hold in 2008.
(Read more: What the Fed will tell markets this week)
The White House, eager to lay to rest those doubts, issued a five-year report on Monday that said the stimulus generated an average of 1.6 million jobs a year for four years through the end of 2012.
Severe winter weather this season may have cost the economy as much $50 billion and 76,000 jobs.
A CNBC Fed Survey of 19 Wall Street economists, strategists and fund managers puts the total weather impact at about a third of a percentage point on the $16 trillion US economy, or roughly $50 billion.
The big hit to the economy comes this quarter, where survey respondents estimated that bone-chilling cold and driving snow shaved about four-tenths of a point off total growth, including lost work hours and lost sales.
That's on top of a loss in the December quarter of 0.16 percent. But there is also an expected snap back next quarter of about 0.23 percent in part because of pent up demand — houses that still need to be built and cars that Americans had hoped to buy. Add it all up and the net is about 0.3 percent.
Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives will seek to make a 13-month extension of the federal debt limit conditional on the repeal of a planned cut in military pension benefits, lawmakers said on Monday.
Republicans were gauging support for the plan in anticipation of a Wednesday House vote that would extend the U.S. Treasury's authority to borrow through March 2015. The Treasury has said a cash crunch could start after Feb. 27, when it expects to exhaust any remaining borrowing capacity.
The proposal from U.S. House Speaker John Boehner came after weeks of internal party struggle. It is not the "clean" debt limit increase sought by President Barack Obama, but falls far short of past Republican demands for deep spending cuts that have provoked political standoffs and a partial government shutdown last October that rattled financial markets.
The Federal Reserve will continue to taper its stimulus of the U.S. economy by announcing a $10 billion reduction in its monthly asset purchases at each of its policymaking meetings scheduled this year, including the two-day session that starts Tuesday.
That's the consensus forecast from 45 of the nation's top money managers, investment strategists and professional economists who responded to this month's CNBC Fed Survey.
An overwhelming 87 percent expect the Fed to taper by an average of $9.87 billion at this month's meeting, roughly matching the $10 billion reduction, from $85 billion to $75 billion a month, announced after the the central bank's December meeting.
Seventy-two percent of the survey's respondents expect the Fed to announce an average $10.65 billion reduction after each of the rest of its meetings this year.
President Barack Obama will deliver Tuesday's State of the Union address facing deep skepticism from the American public about his leadership, according to a new NBC-News/Wall Street Journal poll.
The survey shows a 51 percent majority of the public disapprove Obama's job performance, compared with 43 percent who approve.
Congressional Republicans are showing little stomach for another bruising fight over the U.S. debt limit next month, but they do want to extract some concessions in exchange for expanding the Treasury's borrowing authority.
A senior Republican aide said House of Representatives leaders are in "listening mode" and seeking ideas from rank-and-file lawmakers.
The options range from demands for expanded offshore energy production to small tweaks in President Barack Obama's healthcare law to approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Another idea put forth would involve overhauling federal job-training programs, an element in a House Republican jobs bill that has gotten no traction in the Senate.
"If the president is asking for a blank check, we're not going to do that," said Representative Luke Messer, an Indiana Republican who serves on the House Budget Committee.
"I won't support a debt limit increase unless it is partnered with policies that will either reduce the deficit or help grow the economy," he added.
Obama has vowed not to negotiate over raising the debt limit, arguing that it is Congress' responsibility to ensure that its spending obligations can be paid.
As legislatures return to action and governors outline their budget plans, politicians in many states are facing a pleasant election-year challenge: What to do with all the extra money?
A slow but steady economic recovery is generating more tax revenue than many states had anticipated, offering elected officials tantalizing choices about whether to ply voters with tax breaks, boost spending for favorite programs or sock away cash for another rainy day.
It's a tricky question because of the economic experiments begun almost nationwide since the recession. A couple of dozen states controlled by Republicans have been seeking prosperity with tax cuts and less government. Their Democratic counterparts have sought to fortify their economies by investing more in education and other social services
(Read more: This state is in the worst fiscal condition: Study)
The clamor for new spending is already revealing fissures among some governors and lawmakers. And clashes have arisen even within the same party, suggesting that the debate in some places could widen beyond typical partisan disputes.
Wall Street has tightened its view of Federal Reserve policy in the months ahead and is now looking on average for the taper, or reduction in Fed stimulus to the economy, to come in February, according to the CNBC Fed Survey for December.
The expectation for February is two months earlier than the average in the CNBC survey in October, but most of the 42 respondents are actually more hawkish. A full 55 percent see the Fed tapering its bond purchases in January or December. That was the forecast of only 16 percent of respondents in October.
"The budget deal makes a taper more likely," John Donaldson of Haverford Trust wrote in response to the survey. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke "was very pointed during his September press conference that the budget/debt ceiling mess was a concern to the FOMC. This deal removes that concern and opens the door to a taper."
But not everyone agrees. More than 40 percent forecast a taper in March or later with this group believing the Fed has fought too hard to boost the economy to endanger it with a premature stimulus reduction.
House Republicans "capitulated" in agreeing to the two-year budget deal reached last night and left the country to deal with an unsustainable fiscal situation until the peak of the presidential primaries in 2015, when nothing will get done, former federal budget director David Stockman told CNBC on Wednesday.
"First, let's be clear—it's a joke and betrayal," Stockman, who served under President Ronald Reagan, said on "Squawk on the Street." "It's the final surrender of the House Republican leadership to Beltway politics and kicking the can and ignoring the budget monster that's hurtling down the road."
Stockman added that the budget deal means lawmakers would take a "two-year vacation" from dealing with the country's fiscal situation and revisit it in 2015 at around the same time as the Iowa straw polls. Without an incumbent in the presidential race, both political parties will be too busy to touch the budget, he said.
Buried inside a Congressional Budget Office report this week was this nugget: when it comes to individual income taxes, the top 40 percent of wage earners in America pay 106 percent of the taxes. The bottom 40 percent...pay negative 9 percent.
You read that right. One group is paying more than 100 percent of individual income taxes, the other is paying less than zero.
It's right there in Table 3 on page 13 of the report. The numbers are based on 2010 IRS and Census Bureau figures.
(Read more: New budget deal will pass, says GOP congressman)