- - Monday, September 5, 2011

WHITE HOUSE

Irene’s federal cost hits $1.5 billion mark

The White House is estimating that Hurricane Irene will cost the federal government $1.5 billion in disaster relief.

White House budget chief Jacob Lew released that preliminary estimate Monday. He said the $1.5 billion was on top of $5.2 billion needed for other recent disasters, including tornadoes that leveled much of Joplin, Mo.

The spending may touch off yet another partisan fight between President Obama and Congress.

The Obama administration has said last month’s debt ceiling deal with Congress allows the money to be spent by adding to federal deficits - a long-time practice for financing emergencies. The House’s No. 2 Republican, Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, has said the disaster spending should be paid for by finding offsetting cuts from the rest of the budget.

LABOR

Secretary urges joint effort on jobs creation

Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis says both political parties must come together to attack slow economic growth and high unemployment.

Mrs. Solis says “we do need everyone to be onboard” with President Obama as he tries to create a better hiring environment across the country.

Mrs. Solis says she doesn’t want to give away what Mr. Obama will tell the nation and a joint session of Congress in Thursday night’s primetime speech. But she tells NBC’s “Today” show that he’ll push programs such as investment in infrastructure, special assistance to dislocated workers and a continuation of payroll tax relief for middle-class workers.

She also says that Mr. Obama is “very mindful of what the needs and concerns are of those individuals who have been out of work for so long.”

FED

Former spokesman Coyne dead at 83

Joseph Coyne, who oversaw the public affairs operations at the Federal Reserve for more than three decades, has died. He was 83.

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