New York (CNNMoney.com) - Department of Transportation secretary Ray LaHood on Monday blamed a senator's filibuster for furloughing thousands of federal employees and threatening state jobs while shutting down highway construction projects nationwide.
"As American families are struggling in tough economic times, I am keenly disappointed that political games are putting a stop to important construction projects around the country," wrote LaHood, in a press release. "This means that construction workers will be sent home from job sites because federal inspectors must be furloughed."
LaHood was referring to the one-man filibuster of Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., who has blocked a bill that would, among other things, provide a short-term extension of the Highway Trust Fund, which is a federal fund set up to pay for transportation projects around the country.
Bunning spokesman Mike Reynard did not speak directly about the job disruptions cited by LaHood, when asked about it by CNNMoney.com, but he reiterated Bunning's belief that if 100 senators support the bill, they should come up with the $10 billion to fund it on a pay-as-you-go basis.
"Sen. Bunning supports this bill," said Reynard. "He believes it's essential, and he believes we should pass it. But he believes we should pay for it. "
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - President Obama is pouring $13 billion into an ambitious high-speed rail project. Some say it will never make money. Some say it will. And still others say profit is not even the point.
Obama's plan is "to jump-start a potential world-class passenger rail" in 10 major corridors, linking cities within the Northeast, California, Florida and other regions with "bullet trains" that exceed 110 miles per hour. State governments are in the process of applying for the federal funds.
Sam Staley, director of urban growth and land-use policy at the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think-tank, said the project is risky, and that forecasts used to promote high-speed rail are "notoriously unreliable" because they "overestimate ridership and underestimate cost."
California, the nation's most heavily populated state, is undergoing the most ambitious project: high-speed rail system that would link San Diego to San Francisco and Sacramento.
Mehdi Morshed, executive director of the California High Speed Rail Authority, estimated that the San Francisco-to-Anaheim leg will cost $34 billion, nearly half of which would come from the federal government.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Fannie Mae, the troubled mortgage finance company, reported a first-quarter loss of $23.2 billion on Friday.
The mortgage giant also reported that it submitted a request for $19 billion from the Treasury Department to cover its losses. That followed a request earlier this year for $15.2 billion to cover 2008 losses.
It also said Treasury has doubled its support level to the company to $200 billion, as President Obama had authorized.
In its quarterly release, Fannie Mae said its entire mortgage portfolio was experiencing increases in delinquency and default rates. It blamed the rise in unemployment, falling home prices and the revaluation of homes in the wake of the economic downturn.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Freddie Mac's chief executive, installed last year after the government took over the troubled mortgage finance company, is resigning, the company and its regulator said Monday.
David Moffett will step down by March 13. Freddie Mac (FRE, Fortune 500) said it would announce a successor by then.
Moffett said that he planned to return to the financial services sector. He served as chief financial officer of U.S. Bancorp from 1993 until 2007.
"We are very sorry to see David go," Freddie Chairman John Koskinen said in a statement. "He made valuable contributions to Freddie Mac as the company transitioned into conservatorship."
Moffett replaced Richard Syron as Freddie CEO in September, when Freddie and Fannie Mae (FNM, Fortune 500) were placed under conservatorship by its regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
Both companies back mortgages held by private homeowners, and have received massive cash infusions from the government.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told a House committee Thursday that the nation will emerge from the current credit crisis with a "far sounder financial system."
"We are in the midst of a once-in-a century credit tsunami," Greenspan told the House Oversight and Reform Committee in prepared testimony.
Greenspan said that whatever regulatory changes are made to respond to the crisis, "they will pale in comparison to the change already evident in today's markets."
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - It's the $64,000 question on Capitol Hill this week: what is responsible for the record escalation on oil prices?
Speculators have taken much of the blame. But on Wednesday, one of the nation's leading energy analysts said that it's more complicated than that and the cause is multi-faceted.
"In such circumstances as these, there is a tendency to seek a single explanation," said Daniel Yergin, in testimony before the Joint Economic Committee. "History, however, demonstrates that changes of this scale and significance result not from a single cause, but rather from a confluence of factors.