President Barack Obama signed a $600 million bill to strengthen border security, and just to make sure the message got through, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano took the podium at today’s White House media briefing. Immigration has always been a tough political issue, and in an election year no great strides are expected on major reform before the November vote. “It cannot only be done by Democrats. The Republicans need to come to the table,” Napolitano said.
The American consumer is still a cautionary tale. But consumer sentiment appears to have stabilized in August after dropping sharply in July. “Consumers are still cautious, but it is not double-dip material,” said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group. In a separate report, U.S. retail sales rose in July but showed hints of lingering economic softness.
And finally, I tried to find something positive to say about Friday the 13th and realized there’s no need, because it’s still Friday!
Here are our top stories from today…
Obama signs $600 million border security bill
President Barack Obama signed a $600 million bill to beef up security on the border with Mexico, and his aides pressed lawmakers to set aside election-year politics and work toward broader immigration reform. With illegal immigration seen as a key issue in the November congressional elections, the administration touted the border enforcement plan as laying the groundwork for a revived effort to overhaul the immigration system.
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Retail sales tepid but sentiment finds a footing
Retail sales rebounded in July but showed hints of lingering economic softness, as did inflation data showing underlying price pressures stuck at their lowest level since the 1960s. The reports offer the latest evidence that the U.S. economy has slowed considerably in recent months, but were sufficiently firm to dispel, for now, fears of a renewed downturn.