A report by Citigroup indicates El Nino may harm the global economy in the second half of this year. The report released this month says the El Nino weather pattern may increase returns from grains by as much as 25 percent and lead to higher retail food prices. Australia declared El Nino last month. . The U.S. predicts the pattern may last through January and beyond. The pattern is developing as food prices measured by the United Nations are the lowest in more than five years because of increasing global supplies.

Earlier this week, Republicans in both chambers moved bills to cut EPA’s budget in a move to block several regulations. The House Appropriations Committee approved an Interior and Environment spending bill that would cut the agency's budget by $718 million next year. That bill would also block the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. rule. Tuesday, members of the Senate Appropriations Committee's interior and environment subcommittee approved their spending bill for next year. The bill promises to block several EPA rules and cut funding for the Department of Interior and environment programs even deeper than the House does. Democrats opposed the bills and the White House Office of Management and Budget expressed opposition as well.

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