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In today's news: A top Republican supports raising the debt ceiling, many Americans are spending less on their mortgages than ever before, the feds investigate Ford, female grads earn less than male grads, and lobbyists go to war over debit cards.

FEDERAL DEBT: Boehner says U.S. must raise debt limit

Republican House Speaker John Boehner has defused the most recent federal budget controversy, saying “it’s clear” the government’s debt limit has to be raised. But he has conditions. “Republicans are seeking spending cuts and no tax increases in exchange for supporting a higher debt limit,” Bloomberg reports.

HOUSING: Americans shed mortgage debt at record pace

Americans are spending less cash on mortgages and more on consumer spending and savings. “Low interest rates, defaults and refinancings have shaved more than $100 billion off the nation’s annual mortgage bill – an amount comparable to all unemployment benefits for one year,” USA Today reports.

CARS: Feds investigating Ford Freestyle acceleration

After more than 200 complaints, federal officials are investigating the Ford Freetstyle, a “crossover” SUV that has been reported in 18 accidents involving “throttle performance.” As MSNBC reports, “The cars can lunge up to 10 feet when the driver’s foot is not on the accelerator or the brakes.”

COLLEGE: Why do new female college grads earn 17 percent less than men?

Here’s a weird couple of facts: Women who graduate from college are more likely to find work than their male counterparts (last year, unemployment was 8.1 percent for female grads, versus 10.3 percent for men). But once they land those jobs, they get paid less. “You might suppose that’s a result of men choosing majors that lead to higher-paying jobs,” CNN reports. But “men usually come out ahead even in the same fields.”

BANKING: What impact will users feel from plan to cut debit card fees?

Will new “swipe fee reductions” that start July 21 help consumers or just retailers? It’s the hot topic among high-paid lobbyists for both banks trying to delay that plan and for retailers who support it. “Financial institutions have blanketed the Washington, D.C., subway with ads calling the planned reduction in swipe fees a $12 billion gift to retailers,” USA Today reports. “Retailers have characterized proposals to postpone the fee reduction as another bailout for the banking industry.”

Stacy Johnson

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