Friday Five | October 1, 2021

A recap of this week’s top-five news items and resources from the intersection of business and government.

1. Remarks by U.S. Treasury Secretay Yellen to the National Association for Business

In remarks before the National Association for Business Economists on Tuesday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urged Congress to support the Biden Administration’s $3.5 trillion “Build Back better” initiative that would secure America’s future prosperity, competitiveness and economic sustainability. She also urged support for a $1 trillion bipartisan bill to facilitate the long-overdue investments required to modernize our nation’s infrastructure.

“Over the course of American history, we have seen inflection points where policymakers had the courage to think big and act big to address longstanding flaws in the prevailing economic landscape,” Yellen said. “We face a similarly significant moment today where Congress can think big and act big to decisively send us down a better path.”

Read the full story here.

2. President Biden signs bill to avert partial government shutdown

With only hours to spare, President Joe Biden signed legislation to avoid a partial federal shutdown and keep the government funded through Dec. 3. Although political parties continue the dispute on raising the government’s borrowing cap, the legislation was needed to keep the government running once the current budget year ended at midnight Thursday. The short-term legislation will also provide about $2.86 billion in disaster relief for those recovering from Hurricane Ida, and $10 billion of that money will be allocated to farmers to cover crop losses from natural disasters.

“There’s so much more to do,” Biden said in a statement after the signing. “But the passage of this bill reminds us that bipartisan work is possible and it gives us time to pass longer-term funding to keep our government running and delivering for the American people.”

Read the full story here.

3. House delays vote on $1 trillion infrastructure bill 

House Democrats yesterday delayed a vote on Biden’s $1 trillion bill to improve the nation’s infrastructure, a significant setback to Biden’s economic agenda. In the hours leading to the vote, a dispute arose between party moderates and liberals on a second proposed $3.5 trillion package aimed at expanding Medicare, combating climate change and boosting federal safety-net programs financed through tax increases on wealthy Americans and corporations. Pelosi said she plans to hold the vote today, but many questions remain over the size and scope of the infrastructure package.

Read the full story here.

4. Maryland government ends budget year with $2.5B surplus 

Officials announced on Wednesday that Maryland’s state government ended the last budget year with $2.5 billion in cash left over. The extra money on hand is due to the federal pandemic aid that has flowed into Maryland and other states in multiple waves that has helped keep people working and businesses open. Despite the positive economic news, the state continues to deal with negative economic fallout from the pandemic. Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot suggested putting most of the surplus in the state’s rainy day fund and creating a plan to further help Marylanders in need.

Read the full story here.

5. Consumer confidence slides for third consecutive month 

The Conference Board reported Tuesday that U.S. consumer confidence declined for the third straight month in September as more cases of the delta variant spread, extending the life of the global pandemic. According to September’s reading, the consumer index fell from 115.2 in August to 109.3 in September, the lowest level index since it sank to 95.2 in February. Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators for the Conference Board, believes these back-to-back declines suggest consumers have grown more cautious and are likely to curtail spending in the future. The current spike in U.S. inflation has lasted longer than expected and the increase in consumer prices has caused some concern for the future while decreasing the desire to spend on big-ticket items such as homes, autos and major appliances.

Read the full story here.

Request a vaccine mobile unit at your business – The Maryland Dept. of Health will deploy mobile vaccination clinics for businesses interested in providing vaccinations to their employees and the community.



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