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Average US 30-year mortgage rate slips to 4.17 percent

30-year mortgage

30-year mortgage rates slips to 4.17%

WASHINGTON/February 9, 2017 (AP)(STLRealEstate.News) — Long-term US mortgage rates eased slightly this week.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the rate on 30-year fixed-rate loans slipped to an average 4.17 percent from 4.19 percent last week.  That was still sharply higher than a 30-year rate that averaged 3.65 percent for all of 2016, the lowest level recorded from records going back to 1971.  A year ago, the benchmark rate stood at 3.65 percent.

The average for a 15-year mortgage declined to 3.39 percent from 3.41 percent last week.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week.  The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates.  One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

The average fee for a 30-year mortgage fell this week to 0.4 point from 0.5 point.  The fee on 15-year loans also declined to 0.4 point from 0.5 point.

Rates on adjustable five-year loans eased to 3.21 percent from 3.23 percent.  The fee remained at 0.4 point.


Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Cops: Woman used $1.2M forged check to try to buy house

buy house

Attempt to buy house for $1.2 million with a forged check

DILLSBURG, Pa./February 9, 2017 (AP)(STL.News) — Police say a Pennsylvania woman tried to buy a house by forging a $1.2 million check from a credit union.

Police in Carroll Township, York County, say that happened in January.

Investigators say 49-year-old Katherine Kempson used the internet to copy a business logo from Members First Federal Credit Union to create the $1.2 million check.  She’s also accused of writing a bad check for $60,000 to a real estate agency as part of the bogus transaction.

Online court records don’t list an attorney for Kempson.  She faces a preliminary hearing March 20 on forgery and bad check charges.

Police Sgt. David Smith says the credit union’s fraud department first raised red flags, prompting police to investigate.


Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.  All rights reserved.  This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Published by K Amant’s, LLC d.b.a. STLRealEstate.News – Licensed material by AP (Associated Press).

At a cool $250M, LA mega-mansion is priciest listing in US

At a cool $250M, LA mega-mansion is priciest listing in US

LOS ANGELES/February 9, 2017 (AP)(STLRealEstate.News) — In the exclusive Bel Air neighborhood of Los Angeles sits a new monument to opulence, a $250 million mega-mansion that’s now the most expensive home listed in the United States.

The four-level, 38,000-square-foot mansion comes with a seven-member staff, a $30 million car collection and an infinity pool complete with a swim-up bar, 270-degree views of the city and a monstrous 20-foot outdoor television.

It has 12 bedroom suites, 21 bathrooms, five bars, three gourmet kitchens, a spa, a 40-seat movie theater, and a bowling alley.

The mansion was built on speculation, or with no buyer in mind. And only 3,000 people in the world could afford to buy it, said Bruce Makowsky, the developer and owner of the home who made his fortune as a handbag designer.

The Associated Press recently interviewed Makowsky inside the mansion. Here’s what he had to say about why he built it and who would spend $250 million on a house.

Q: Why did you build this house?

A: “After being on major mega-yachts across the world and on beautiful private aircraft, it didn’t make sense to me people were spending $350 million on a boat, $100 million on a plane and they’re living in $20 million and $30 million homes … The homes have not kept up with the toys. So my feeling is if you’re going to spend over 12 hours a day in your home it should be the most amazing experience in the world.”

Q: What is it like being inside the house?

A: “I would say it’s the eighth wonder of the world. I’ve had a couple people come in here and say it’s in the top seven — one of the other seven could go away … Every single inch of this house is breathtaking. It’s a sensory overload. I’ve shown this house about 25 times now. People go in and use just about every adjective on half of the lower level. There’s no more adjectives. They just become numb. Every single thing in this house makes you feel like you’re in heaven.”

Q: How did you reach $250 million for the listing price?

A: “The reason it’s $250 million is because of all the work for the past four years of having 300 people inside here, the art curations inside the house. We have over $30 million worth of cars, exotic sports cars and vintage cars … We have a 270-degree view from the snow-covered mountains all the way down to LA. Seven full-time staff come with the house, which is crazy. So if you want the best chef in the world, you have her, and if you want a masseuse we have you all hooked up … We have water features that go completely around the house. We have stones from 50 different quarries from around the world, the most beautiful precious stones running through the house … I truly believe the value is here.”

Q: Why would someone spend so much money on a house, even with all these amenities?

A: “It’s the kind of thing where I can’t sell it. Somebody has to fall in love with it and die over it. And when a person sitting with $2 billion, $5 billion or $20 billion in the bank and it’s just a number, do they really want to enjoy every second of their life — because this isn’t rehearsal, this is real life — or do they just want to look at a number in the bank?”


AMANDA LEE MYERS, Associated Press


This version corrects the spelling of the developer’s last name, Makowsky not Makowksy.

Ellisvilles’ Greer Brewing to open late March or early April

Greer Brewing

ELLISVILLE, MO/February 2, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Chris Greer, founder/owner of Greer Brewing Company is targeting late March or early April for the opening his new microbrewery and Ellisvilles’ first brewery.

Leaving a career at UPS last May to pursue his dream of brewing craft beer, a love he discovered by home brewing.  With the support of his wife and family, he is in the final stages of creating his own brewery with 8 craft beers on tap and one on pump.

Greer Brewing

The brewery is being built in a building that had set empty for many years.  He is excited and had nothing but good things to say about the community, its neighbors and the city.  “It will not be a bar”, says Greer.

He showed us around the facility and the building is designed as if it was intended for Greer’s dream.  The building is constructed almost entirely of brick, mortar, steel and wood rafters in the ceiling.

Around the back is a great L-shaped covered patio like area that would be perfect for outdoor seating.  However, the city of Ellisville considers it to be inside because it covered by roof, which would require a sprinkler system costing in excess of $100,000.  With such rules, he is now limited to seating inside only with more plans and dreams to add a sprinkler system at some point so he can utilize the outdoor seating.

In the early stages Greer plans on a limited menu with cold items, with again, future plans to expand to a full kitchen.

Greer had been planning this dream for approximately 3 years before terminating his UPS career.  In addition to the craft beer and cold menu items there will be pool tables, darts and plenty of parking.

There has been questions about if there are too many microbreweries in the St. Louis metro area.  Greer says it is 20 miles to get to the nearest brewery.  Great idea in a community


Old industrial building to turn into manufacturing location

old industrial building

ST LOUIS, MO/February 2, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) A building that previously housed machines making barber chairs, and later hats, will someday soon have a variety of small to mid-sized manufacturers setting up shop in hopes to scale up in a singular location.  This special building, located at 2528 Texas Avenue in Fox Park will contain about 87,000-square-feet of manufacturing space and be known as Brick City Makes officially.  This large-scale project is trying to accomplish nothing ever done before in the city of St. Louis.

A collaboration between St. Louis Makes and the DeSales Community Development (DCD), Brick City Makes will combine different space sizes for manufacturers to work in, while also providing community programming, events, and even comprehensive access to education in the new-found building design.

The two behind the ambitious project, Marc Bowers and Tom Pickel, are confident they will be able to take the large industrial space and transform it into a highly sought after community hub.  About 75 percent of the local manufacturing companies have 20 or fewer employees, said Pickel, who is the executive director of DCD.  These specific companies need space and resources to scale up their operations without making overwhelming financial investments into new buildings.

“These companies are cash flow positive, new or established, but looking to accelerate growth,” said Bowers.  “They have to focus on the customer and don’t want to focus on real estate problems.  This project enables people to lease a small amount of space and the building to grow with them.”

This 2-acre facility will be parsed into 1000-3000-square foot spaces, which could house up to 36 manufacturers inside the building.  Brick City Makes is currently in the process of identifying companies with scalability and a higher degree of complexity to set up shop in the new community hub.

The project will cost $11 million and is funded through federal new markets tax credits, state and historic tax credits, as well as philanthropic donations.


Contributing Editor: Alexandra R. Fasulo

Four St. Louis companies awarded preliminary TIF funding

TIF funding

ST. LOUIS, MO/February 2, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Projects amounting to $383 million won preliminary Tax Increment Financing Commission from the city of St. Louis this past week.  Four St. Louis-area real estate developments that are combined seeking more than $50 million in public financing to help construct the projects proposed earlier this year were the lucky winners.

The projects include the $83 million rehab of the Armory, a $170 million mixed-use project in the Cortex innovation district, a $104 million rehab of the Jefferson Arms building, and a $26 million project in the Delmar Loop.  But, before each of the projects can be finished, they must first be approved by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.

For the Armory project, Green Street’s redevelopment is expected to include mixed-use space, including a health spa, restaurant and bar, offices, and other types of developments said a document provided by the city of St. Louis.  Green Street is also planning to utilize a Community Improvement District, Transportation Development District, and full real estate tax abatement.

The Aloft boutique plan, proposed by Cortex, calls for the innovation district’s very first hotel and new residential apartment development with more than 200 studio, one and two bedroom units. Construction is planned for the beginning of 2018, sources report.

Four developers are working on the projects, including Boston-based CV Properties, Baltimore-based Wexford Science and technology; Florida-based Structured Parking Solutions, and Chicago-based Silliman Group.

None of this is news to the city of St. Louis as the major developers have previously submitted their planning intentions to be considered for the TIF funding.  Though they are almost to the finish line, they do require St. Louis board certification and approval before the massive construction plans can take off.

As we speak, Alterra International, a Dallas-based developer with the Jefferson Arms building under contract, is working on the historic downtown building rehab.


Contributing Editor: Alexandra R. Fasulo

Average US 30-year mortgage rate unchanged at 4.19 percent

Mortgage Rates

WASHINGTON/February 2, 2017 (AP)(STLRealEstate.News) — Long-term US mortgage rates barely budged this week, after marking their first increase of the year last week.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the rate on 30-year fixed-rate loans was unchanged from last week at an average 4.19 percent. That was still sharply higher than a 30-year rate that averaged 3.65 percent for all of 2016, the lowest level recorded from records going back to 1971. A year ago, the benchmark rate stood at 3.72 percent.

The average for a 15-year mortgage ticked up to 3.41 percent from 3.40 percent last week.

After meeting this week, Federal Reserve policymakers left the key interest rate unchanged at a time of solid economic gains but also heightened uncertainty surrounding the new Trump administration. At the same time, the Fed pointed to improved sentiment among consumers and businesses.

Many economists think the Fed will put off further rate increases until more is known about President Donald Trump’s ambitious agenda, or whether his drive to cancel or rewrite trade deals will slow growth or unsettle investors.

Mortgage rates surged in the weeks following Trump’s election in early November. Investors in Treasury bonds bid yield rates higher because they believed his plans for tax cuts and higher spending on roads, bridges and airports will drive up economic growth and inflation.

But mortgage rates reversed course in the first week of the year, falling after nine straight weeks of increases.

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week. The average doesn’t include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

The average fee for a 30-year mortgage rose this week to 0.5 point from 0.4 point. The fee on 15-year loans also increased to 0.5 point from 0.4 point.

Rates on adjustable five-year loans rose to 3.23 percent from 3.20 percent. The fee remained at 0.4 point.

Long-term US mortgage rates steady; 30-year at 4.19 percent

mortgage rates fall - US mortgage rates

US mortgage rates hold steady with 30-year mortgage rates at 4.19%

ST LOUIS, MO/February 2, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Long-term US mortgage rates barely budged this week, after marking their first increase of the year last week.

Current avg Last week 52-week high 52-week low
30-year fixed – 4.19 percent – 4.19 percent – 4.32 percent – 3.41 percent
15-year fixed – 3.41 percent – 3.40 percent – 3.55 percent – 2.72 percent
5-year adjustable – 3.23 percent – 3.20 percent – 3.33 percent – 2.68 percent


Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Published under a license agreement between K Amant, LLC d.b.a. STLRealEstate.News and the Associated Press (AP)

STLRealEstate.News publisher – K Amant

US home prices rise 5.3 pct. amid solid demand, tight supply

US home prices

US home prices rise

WASHINGTON/February 1, 2017 (AP)(STLRealEstate.News) — US home prices marched steadily higher in November, pushed up by healthy demand for homes and a shrinking supply of available properties.

The Standard & Poor’s CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home index, released Tuesday , rose 5.3 percent, slightly faster than October’s gain of 5.1 percent.

So far, home sales have remained healthy even as mortgage rates have risen, suggesting homebuyers are trying to lock down purchases before rates increase further. Americans bought existing homes at the fastest pace in nearly a decade in November. Yet the number of homes for sale has fallen to a 17-year low, fueling bidding wars in many cities.

Prices in Seattle jumped 10.4 percent in November from a year earlier, the biggest gain among the 20 cities tracked by the index. Portland followed with a 10.1 percent gain. Denver reported an 8.7 percent increase.

The Case-Shiller index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. The index measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The November figures are the latest available.

Svenja Gudell, chief economist at housing data provider Zillow, said some relief from higher prices may be on the horizon. Rising mortgage rates and a leveling off of rents in many cities could cool demand for homes in the coming months, potentially slowing price gains.

The flattening of rents could also encourage developers to build more single-family homes rather than apartment buildings, which would provide more choices to potential buyers.

“These emerging trends could start impacting the market in time for the busy spring and summer home shopping season, and bear watching,” Gudell said.

Sales of both new and existing homes slipped in December after posting solid gains in November. But the number of Americans signing contracts to buy homes climbed last month, a sign that sales may soon increase. A signed contract is usually followed a month or two later by a closed sale.

Steady job growth and modest wage gains have helped fuel a rebound in home sales and prices following the housing bust that began in late 2006. Home prices nationwide began to rebound in 2012 and by some measures fully recovered to their pre-recession levels in September.

Low mortgage rates have been critical to the recovery. The average 30-year fixed mortgage fell below 4.5 percent in 2011 and averaged just 3.65 percent for all of last year. They have risen since the election as investors have pushed up interest rates on expectations of faster growth.

The 30-year fixed averaged 4.19 percent last week, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said, up from 4.09 percent the week before.



St. Louis median home price rose 4 percent in 2016

St. Louis median home price

ST. LOUIS, MO/February 1, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) St. Louis median home price – Realtors and residents may have scoffed skeptically when experts predicted that St. Louis would be one of the nation’s hottest real estate markets in 2016, but no one’s laughing anymore: homeowners did their laughing straight to the bank, as homes flew off the market in a fraction of the 2015 time.  The area’s median home prices rose four percent in 2016, from $160,000 to $167,000, despite the total number of sales being up 8 percent.  Additionally, the number of days on the market in St. Louis dropped from 103 to just 86.  The months of inventory for the year dropped from 4.3 to 3.9. Wow.

That’s all according to St. Louis REALTORS, which predicted this upward tick throughout the past year. The site commented, “We have been watching our housing market meet and exceed all economic predictions for the past twelve months,” said the group’s president, Barry Upchurch.  “We all heard and appreciated what chief economist Jonathan Smoke was saying about our area in February 2016.  His prediction for the year was spot on.  Now, we have the data to finally back it up.”

The trend shows no signs of slowing either.  The media sale price in December was up six percent from the previous year.  This sustainability means the prices are only going to keep rising, especially with the lack of sellable inventory.  Real estate agents’ groups believe the numbers suggest healthy growth, not an unsustainable bubble like in past years.

“Throughout the year we have experienced consistent price appreciation,” said CEO John Gormley.  “It has not been a real estate roller coaster – instead, what we have seen in St. Louis are the economic indicators that you look for in a healthy, affordable housing market including a steady incline in sales and a decreased time on market.”

It’s all great news for the residents of St. Louis.


Contributing Editor: Alexandra R. Fasulo

Developer buys Railway Exchange Building in downtown St. Louis

Railway Exchange Building

ST. LOUIS, MO/February 1, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Railway Exchange Building – Downtown St. Louis had a bit of real estate activity this past week with the official announcement of a Florida-based developer completing a purchase of the century-old Railway Exchange Building.  After the purchase, the new owner, Hudson Holdings of Delray Beach in Florida, paid just above $20 million for the building that occupies an entire block in the middle of downtown.  When asked about the transaction, Hudson Holdings did not respond to request for comments about its plans.  The company put the building under contract last spring.

Sources are still speculating what the firm is up to, and think that redevelopment would include a mixture of residences, stores, and perhaps even a hotel.  The building comes with lofty history, having been constructed in 1914.  It has 21 floors and 1.2 million square feet of space.  It was formerly the headquarters of the May Department Stores Co. and downtown’s Macy’s Store location.

Macy’s moved out of the building when it closed in 2013.  Since its closure, the building at 601 Olive Street has been vacant.  The property includes the parking garage connected to the Railway Exchange by a fourth-floor sky-walk over Olive Street.

Recently updated on the Hudson Holdings website, the company emphasizes the “downtown historic adaptive re-use” of the location and sees potential in the older, transformational assets.  The real estate firm is no stranger to historic renovations, having projects that include the nearly century-old Huntington Building in downtown Cleveland, the Textile Building in Cincinnati, and the Mark Twain Building in downtown Kansas City.

When Macy’s downtown St. Louis closed, it occupied the Railway Exchange’s three lower floors, less than a third of the space the Famous-Barr store previously filled.

Stay tuned for information and details on what the development company plans to new with the new-found historical and strategically located acquisition.


Contributing Editor: Alexandra R. Fasulo


Picture courtesy of Preservation Research Office

2016 ends on a high note for St. Louis

Mortgage rates - St. Louis, MO

ST. LOUIS, MO/February 1, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Though it wasn’t the second hottest market in the nation as one expert had predicted at the start of the year, it was one hot year for local real estate, specifically in the St. Louis region.  The year ended with closings up 7 percent, and prices up a modest 3.3 percent. Homes sold 11 percent faster than in 2015, and the overall vitality of the market is looking strong heading into 2017.

The president of Coldwell Banker Gundaker, Jim Dohr, says a lot of things came together at the right time to make a real estate year to remember.  “You couple increasing jobs and a little better local economy with very low interest rates and affordability – that’s an extremely profitable recipe for a very good housing market.”

Dohr went onto say as 2017 gets underway, the supply of homes on the market in St. Louis is the lowest it’s been in the last decade.  But, despite the tiny supply, he expects prices to increase only modestly this year.  “I read an article last week which said the Midwest is the new frontier in real estate, especially for millennials because of its affordability.  We’re just in the very unique spot here where prices are modest – and that is a great thing moving forward.”

Dohr ended by stating that if anyone is considering selling their home and moving out or around St. Louis, now is the time to do it.  With supply low and demand high, anyone intent on selling a home is going to get the best bang for their buck, and witness their property on the market for a very short amount of time if they list it now.

All in all, it was a great year for St. Louis, and as millennials pour into the city, it only means good things for the local economy.


Contributing Editor: Alexandra R. Fasulo

St. Louis in 10 top rising American cities

10 top rising American cities

ST LOUIS, MO/January 27, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Years in review are still coming in as we near the third week of January, and St. Louis was bestowed another title regarding real estate, city growth, and city promise for millions of millennials and individuals in search of an affordable metropolis.  In most American “it” cities today, urban living and home-ownership seem mutually exclusive and downright near financially impossible, especially in New York City and Los Angeles.  Earlier this month, real estate lifestyle magazine Curbed announced to the world that having the best of both worlds is possible – and it’s possible most of all in a city like St. Louis.

Curbed officially put St. Louis in its top 10 rising American cities where home ownership is affordable for the year ahead.  The article selected its cities by looking at affordability, walk-ability through the city, public transportation, and urban amenities without making a 7-figure salary.  To come to this conclusion, Curbed sourced information from experts at Urban Land Institute, RCLCO Real Estate Advisors, American Planning Association, and  They then took the data and weighed it against factors such as job growth, home value, and millennial population growth to find cities that fit the bill.  Additionally, Curbed put special emphasis on the “overlooked” cities like St. Louis, nixing Pittsburgh, Austin, and Nashville from their final listing.

Having found a 13 percent millennial population growth, 7 percent sales prices appreciation year-over-year, $179,000 median home price and a popular of 315,685, St. Louis made the Curbed cut.  A spokesperson from Curbed stated, “The Gateway to the West has traditionally had a low profile, but its fortunes look increasingly brighter these days, with a billion-dollar construction boom, including new work around the Ballpark Village Development, and a fast-growing startup scene.”

Cities that joined St. Louis include Colorado Springs, Indianapolis, Provo, and San Antonio.


Contributing Editor: Alexandra R. Fasulo


Picture courtesy of Missouri Division of Tourism

Existing US home fell in December as supplies at 17-year low

US home fell

WASHINGTON/January 25, 2017 (AP)(STLRealEstate.News) — Americans retreated from purchasing homes in December, as the number of properties listed for sale sank to its lowest level since 1999.

The National Association of Realtors said Tuesday that sales of existing homes fell 2.8 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.49 million.  For all of 2016, sales posted an annual gain of 3.8 percent to 5.45 million.

But the housing market has become trapped by a supply shortage that has pushed prices higher and may limit the potential for additional sales growth.  Home-buyers simply have fewer choices, as new construction has yet to meet demand and existing homeowners have been reluctant to list their properties for sale.

“Home buying is likely to face additional headwinds going forward, which include low inventory levels, rebounding prices and higher mortgage rates,” said Admir Kolaj, an analyst at TD Bank, who added that these factors are unlikely to “completely derail” the housing market.

Just 1.65 million homes were listed for sale in December.  This marks a 6.3 percent drop from a year ago to the smallest total since 1999.

The tight supplies pushed the median sales price to $232,200 last month, up 4 percent from a year ago.

Homebuyers were able to manage the rising sales prices in part because of low mortgage rates in 2016, but those rates have climbed upward and settled above 4 percent since Donald Trump’s presidential victory.  The financial markets expect that Trump will try to stimulate economic growth through deficit spending, which caused the rates to rise on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note and mortgages.

The Realtors estimate that rising mortgage rates in recent months increased the typical monthly payment by $75, or $900 a year.

It’s possible that rising mortgage rates are causing more people to buy homes earlier than they otherwise would in hopes of locking in lower monthly payments.

“When that activity dies down, we’re not sure where the next wave of buyers is coming from,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said last week that the rate on 30-year fixed-rate loans averaged 4.09 percent from 4.12 percent.  That was dramatically higher than a 30-year rate that averaged 3.65 percent for all of 2016, the lowest level recorded from records going back to 1971.

In December, sales fell in the Northeast, Midwest and West, while staying unchanged in the South, according to the Realtors.


JOSH BOAK, AP Economics


Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Latest: Senate panel approves Ben Carson for HUD job

Ben Carson

Ben Carson, Hud job

WASHINGTON/January 25, 2017 (AP)(STL.News) Ben Carson — The Latest on activities in Congress (all times EST):

11:10 a.m.

The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee has unanimously approved President Donald Trump’s nominee for housing secretary, Ben Carson.

The former Republican presidential candidate and celebrated neurosurgeon would lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a sprawling agency with 8,300 employees and a budget of about $47 billion. His nomination now heads to the full Senate.

Committee Chairman Michael Crapo of Idaho praised Carson and his impressive career, saying HUD “will benefit from having a secretary with a different perspective and a diverse background.”

Ranking Democrat Sherrod Brown said he had some reservations but welcomed Carson’s promises to address lead hazards in public housing.

11:10 a.m.

Former wrestling entertainment executive Linda McMahon is emphasizing her experience in building a business from scratch as she seeks to become the next administrator of the Small Business Administration.

McMahon says in a confirmation hearing Tuesday that she and her husband started out sharing a desk and went on to build a company with more than 800 employees.

She also notes that she and her husband once declared bankruptcy and lost their home, saying “I know what it’s like to take a hit.”

McMahon resigned from WWE in 2009 before running unsuccessfully on two occasions for the U.S. Senate.

She spent about $100 million of her own money in those races and was a big contributor to political action committees seeking to help Donald Trump in November’s election.


11:00 a.m.

President Donald Trump has invited the Senate leadership to the White House to discuss the vacancy on the Supreme Court.

That’s the word from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The Kentucky Republican said Tuesday that he, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and the leaders of the Judiciary Committee would meet with Trump on Tuesday afternoon.

The court has had one vacancy since last February when Justice Antonin Scalia died. McConnell and Republicans refused to consider former President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland.


10:55 a.m.

Sen. Bernie Sanders says President Donald Trump’s nominee for budget director should be disqualified because he failed to pay more than $15,000 in payroll taxes for a household worker more than a decade ago.

Sanders, an independent from Vermont, is the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee. The committee held a confirmation hearing Tuesday on Republican Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina.

Sanders noted that Mulvaney voted for a bill in 2015 that would disqualify people with serious tax delinquencies from being federal employees.

Mulvaney said he discovered the unpaid taxes while preparing for the nominating process. He has since paid the taxes.

Unpaid taxes have derailed some previous Cabinet picks, but others were confirmed anyway. Mulvaney’s tax problem is unlikely to derail his nomination if Republicans remain united behind him.


10:50 a.m.

A Senate panel has easily approved the nomination of Elaine Chao to lead the Transportation Department.

Chao was labor secretary in President George W. Bush’s administration and deputy transportation secretary under President George H.W. Bush. She is also the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, and was known to many senators before President Donald Trump tapped her for his Cabinet.

Chao told senators during a hearing on her nomination this month that she hopes to “unleash the potential” of private investors to boost infrastructure spending.

She is expected to play a major role in Trump’s effort to fulfill his campaign promise to generate $1 trillion in infrastructure investment. The administration is expected to release its infrastructure plan this spring.


10:45 a.m.

A Senate panel has approved President Donald Trump’s choice of conservative billionaire investor Wilbur Ross to lead the Commerce Department.

Ross has specialized in buying distressed companies that still have a potential for delivering profits. He has known Trump for more than 20 years, was an early supporter of his presidential campaign and an economic policy adviser to Trump’s team.

The Senate commerce committee approved his nomination by a voice vote. The full Senate must still vote on the nomination.

Ross has been a critic of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico, which he blames for a loss of U.S. jobs. He has also accused China of protectionist policies.


10:35 a.m.

The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee has forced a one-week delay in the committee vote on attorney general nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein says one reason she asked for the delay until Jan. 31 is because of women who marched in Washington and other locations on Saturday. Feinstein said the women want equal rights and pay, rights for workers and protections for the environment.

“It is these principles, these values that the attorney general must defend,” Feinstein said at a committee meeting Tuesday.

She said “we owe it to” those women to be careful in considering the nomination.

Feinstein said the committee received 188 pages of new material Sunday that need to be reviewed. Committee rules allow any member of the committee to delay a vote.


10:20 a.m.

Breaking with President Donald Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan says he has seen no evidence that 3 million to 5 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally voted last November and cost the Republican the popular vote.

Ryan told reporters on Tuesday: “I’ve already commented on that I’ve seen no evidence to that effect.”

His comments came hours after Trump incorrectly claimed at a White House reception with congressional leaders, including Ryan, that he lost the popular vote to Democratic rival Hillary Clinton because of the vote by those here illegally.

That’s according to a Democratic aide familiar with the exchange who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private meeting.

There is no evidence to support Trump’s claim.

Another Republican, Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent, said Trump needs to move on. “The election is over,” Dent said, and Trump “won fair and square.” Trump needs to “get to the serious business of governing,” Dent said.


10:05 a.m.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says he has invited President Donald Trump to address a Joint Session of Congress on Feb. 28.

Ryan announced the invitation on Tuesday, informing reporters after a meeting with House Republicans. Ryan had met with Trump Monday night at the White House. Trump also met with Republican and Democratic congressional leaders on Monday.

Trump was sworn in as the 45th president on Friday. It would be his first speech to Congress.


10 a.m.

Congressional analysts are projecting that President Donald Trump has inherited a stable economy and a government that is on track to run a $559 billion budget deficit for the ongoing budget year.

The new estimates from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office also say the economy will hold relatively steady. Economic growth is projected to rise slightly to 2.3 percent this year and unemployment to average less than 5 percent for the duration of Trump’s term.

The latest CBO figures are in line with previous projections. They come as Trump and Republicans controlling Congress are working to repeal much of former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, boost the Pentagon budget, and reform the loophole cluttered tax code.

Balancing the budget would require cuts to domestic agencies and big health programs like Medicare


Picture courtesy of ThinkProgress


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