Biden launches vaccine crackdown
Happy Thursday and welcome to On The Money, your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.
Today’s Big Deal: A major step from the Biden administration toward closing the vaccine gap using labor laws. We’ll also look at Democratic internal tensions over spending and another sharp drop in jobless claims.
But first, some cringe.
For The Hill, I’m Sylvan Lane. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org or @SylvanLane. You can reach my colleagues on the Finance team Naomi Jagoda at email@example.com or @NJagoda and Aris Folley at firstname.lastname@example.org or @ArisFolley.
Let’s get to it.
Biden to require COVID-19 vaccines, tests for millions of private workers
President Biden announced a new rule Thursday to require all private employers with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccines or weekly testing.
- The requirement could impact nearly 80 million workers, the administration official said, and if a business fails to comply with the rule they could face fines up to $14,000 per violation.
- The rule will be issued from the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration “in the coming weeks,” and the implementation timeline will likely mirror the roughly 90 day window other private sector employers, like Tyson Foods and United Airlines, have required.
The context: The new rule for employers is one in a series of new aggressive steps that Biden announced in a speech Thursday evening to boost vaccination rates in the coming weeks and rapidly scale up the country’s COVID-19 testing capacity, according to senior administration officials familiar with the plans. The Hill’s Nathaniel Weixel breaks it down here.
The background: The new national strategy, dubbed “Path Out of the Pandemic,” is a massive escalation of the administration’s efforts to beat back surging cases of COVID-19. Barring any legal obstacles, it will also likely accelerate the shift toward vaccine requirements among US businesses.
- In the seven days ending Aug. 30, the share of job postings on Indeed that required COVID-19 vaccinations rose 119 percent from the same period in July. Job postings that mentioned a general vaccination requirement, but not COVID-19 specifically, rose by 242 percent over the same period.
- And nearly one-fifth of U.S. workers said their employer is requiring staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as of last month, according to a Gallup survey released Wednesday.
LEADING THE DAY
Video: White House outlines new 6-part plan to battle COVID-19 surge (ABC News)
Democratic leaders betting Manchin will back down in spending fight
Democrats are racing ahead with a $3.5 trillion spending package that would boost funding for social programs and raise taxes despite rumblings from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) that he might not support legislation with that price tag.
In doing so, they’re essentially daring Manchin and other moderates like Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) to vote against the eventual budget reconciliation package, knowing that the base would erupt in anger over any Democratic lawmakers who buck the party on such a high-profile vote.
Manchin warned in a Wall Street Journal op-ed last week that he won’t vote for a $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, but his shot across the bow isn’t deterring fellow Democrats. The Hill’s Alexander Bolton explains here.
House Democrat says she’ll oppose parts of $3.5T spending package
Rep. Stephanie Murphy (Fla.), a prominent moderate House Democrat, indicated Thursday that she is planning to vote against the provisions under consideration in the House Ways and Means Committee’s markup of portions of Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending bill, citing concerns about the legislative process.
- Murphy said that she supports many of the proposals in Democrats’ spending package, and she said she recognizes that Democrats have to advance the legislation on a Democratic-only basis.
- But she expressed concerns about the fact that the Ways and Means Committee has only released some of the proposals it is expected to consider in the markup, and has yet to release proposals on prescription drugs, clean energy incentives, and tax increases.
- She also said that lawmakers have yet to see Congressional Budget Office scores for many of the proposals.
“Process matters, because I want my constituents to have faith in what I’m doing,” she said.
Naomi tells us what it means here.
CLAIMS DOWN THE DRAIN
Jobless claims plummet in final week of federal unemployment aid
New applications for unemployment benefits dropped sharply last week just days before several pandemic jobless aid programs were set to expire, according to data released Thursday by the Labor Department.
- In the week ending Sept. 4, seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance totaled 310,000, falling by 35,000 to the lowest level since March 14, 2020. Claims are now less than 100,000 above the 225,500 total seen in the final week before COVID-19 upended the global economy.
- Another 96,198 workers applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) last week, a pandemic jobless aid program for gig workers and contractors.
The new claims data comes shortly after roughly 9 million people lost their federal unemployment benefits Monday with the expiration of PUA, the $300 weekly supplement offered through Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) and an additional 53 weeks of benefits offered through Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) for those whose state benefits ran out.
Good to Know
The nation’s deficit has reached $2.7 trillion in 11 months of the current fiscal year, according to an estimation from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released Thursday.
Here’s what else have our eye on:
- CNBC: “Federal Reserve regional presidents Robert Kaplan and Eric Rosengren said Thursday they will sell individual stock holdings amid ethics concerns regarding trading in 2020.”
- The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) on Thursday urged Democratic lawmakers to implement a minimum corporate tax and boost tax enforcement in their proposed $3.5 trillion spending plan.
- UPS on Thursday announced plans to hire more than 100,000 workers for the 2021 holiday season.
That’s it for today. Thanks for reading and check out The Hill’s Finance page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you Friday.