GOP Senators Ready $1T Infrastructure Counteroffer – Funded By COVID Relief Money – to Biden
Senate Republicans revived negotiations over President Joe Biden’s sweeping investment plan, preparing a $1 trillion infrastructure proposal that would be funded with COVID-19 relief money as a counteroffer to the White House ahead of a Memorial Day deadline toward a bipartisan deal.
The Republicans said Tuesday they would disclose details of the new offer by Thursday, sounding upbeat after both sides had panned other offers. At the White House, press secretary Jen Psaki declined to address the new plan but said: “We expect this week to be a week of progress.”
Siena Poll: 49% of Voters do not Support Cuomo Resignation
A plurality of voters in New York do not think Gov. Andrew Cuomo should resign from office as he faces a barrage of controversies over the last five months, a Siena College poll released on Monday found. The poll shows 49% of voters do not support the governor’s resignation; 41% of those surveyed do.
In a generic Democrat vs. Republican 2022 gubernatorial matchup, the poll Democrat governor leads 55-29%. When asked Cuomo vs. a Republican, voters side with Cuomo 48-38%. And when asked Attorney General Letitia James vs. a Republican, voters favor James 46-29%.
Vaccine Makers Press Countries to Oppose Patent Waiver
Since the Biden administration threw its support behind the waiver proposal early this month, pharmaceutical industry trade groups have been moving to support Germany, Japan and other countries that expressed opposition, people familiar with the lobbying said. The industry lobbyists have told the governments, in meetings and phone calls, that a waiver wouldn’t address shortages any time soon, while straining raw material supplies, the people said.
The proposal to waive the Covid-19 vaccine patents threatens to undermine a pillar of the drug industry’s business model: the patents protecting its innovations and giving companies a monopoly over sales of the medicines based on the technology for several years.
Biden Calls for Intelligence Report on Origins of Covid-19
President Biden ordered a U.S. intelligence inquiry into the origins of Covid-19, following renewed scrutiny on the possibility that the outbreak of the virus might have started with a laboratory leak in China. The White House has come under pressure to carry out its own investigation after China told the World Health Organization that it considered Beijing’s part of the investigation complete, calling for efforts to trace the virus’s origins to shift into other countries.
Mr. Biden, who wants a report within 90 days, said that U.S. intelligence has focused on two scenarios—whether the coronavirus came from human contact with an infected animal or from a laboratory accident. He said that there is a split among officials in the American intelligence community, or IC, on how the virus might have emerged.
US Vaccine Rollout – Half of U.S. Adults Are Fully Vaccinated
More than 129 million people in the U.S. 18 years and older have been vaccinated, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Inoculation of half of adults indicates the country’s vaccination campaign has left behind the supply constraints and other problems that marred its start. It comes as Covid-19 cases and deaths drop, which infectious-disease specialists attribute partly to immunizations. “I remain cautious and hopeful they will continue to trend downward as vaccinations scale up,” CDC director Rochelle Walensky said.
NYS Vaccine Update – Scholarships for Vaccinated Teens
Governor Cuomo Yesterday announced the ‘Get a Shot to Make Your Future’ incentive for 12- to 17-year-olds to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Participants can enter into a random prize drawing and potentially receive a full scholarship to a SUNY or CUNY college beginning May 27. Winners receive a full scholarship to any public college or university, including tuition and room and board. New York State will administer the random drawing and select 10 winners a week over five weeks for a total of 50 winners. Federal COVID-19 relief and outreach funds will be used to cover the cost of this vaccination incentive program.
As of Wednesday morning 10,486,657 (plus 52,886 from a day earlier) New Yorkers have received at least one vaccine dose and 8,888,842 are fully vaccinated (Plus 52,715). In the Hudson Valley 1,115,527 (plus 5,413) have at least one dose and 933,243 (plus 5,760) are fully vaccinated.
- Read the press release
- Read the scholarship press release
- Visit the vaccine tracker site
- Make an appointment
NYS COVID Update
The Governor updated COVID data through Monday May 22nd. There were 17 COVID related deaths for a total of 42,642. Hospitalization tracking data for the Mid-Hudson region and the rest of the State are below.
- Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 1,274
- Hospitalizations Mid-Hudson Region: Not Reported
ICU Beds In Use (All Uses)
- Occupied ICU Beds Statewide: 3,926
- Occupied ICU Beds Mid-Hudson Region: 371
Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:
- Statewide 0.85%
- Mid-Hudson: 0.77%
- Read the press release
- See the School Districts Dashboard
- See the SUNY Dashboard
- State Vaccine Information Site
Nearly 2.8 Million Sign Up for Vax-a-Million Lottery
Ohio deserves credit for finding a sharp way to do that. Today the Midwestern state announces the first of five winners of its “Vax-a-Million” lottery. Over 2.7m adults signed up for a weekly chance to win $1m, and 100,000-plus teenagers enrolled in the hope of winning a four-year college scholarship. Only part- or fully-vaccinated Ohioans were eligible.
Mike DeWine, Ohio’s governor, declares the lottery a success for boosting previously flagging demand for the jab, with a notable uptick among 16- and 17-year-olds. Ohio may have hit the jackpot: inspired by its example, Maryland, New York and Oregon have introduced similar cash lotteries.
Raimondo: U.S. Chip Funding Could Result in as Many as 10 New Factories
U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Monday a proposed $52 billion boost in U.S. government funding for semiconductor production and research could result in seven to 10 new U.S. factories.
Raimondo said at an event outside a Micron Technology Inc (MU.O) chip factory that she anticipated the government funding would generate “$150 billion-plus” in investment in chip production and research – including contributions from state and federal governments and private-sector firms.
McMahon: Financial Plan Shows the State is Rolling in Dough
New York’s budget is bursting with cash—fueling the biggest spending hikes in memory, as shown in the financial plan update released today by Governor Cuomo’s Division of the Budget.
The FY 2022 All Funds spending total of $209 billion—up 12 percent—includes recurring federal aid to programs such as Medicaid, plus special temporary federal funding approved in a series of enormous state and local coronavirus relief packages passed by Congress starting in March 2020.
Hudson Valley Labor Stats – Mfg Employment Up 14.2% Year on Year
The New York State Department of Labor yesterday released preliminary local area unemployment rates for April 2021. In April 2021, there were 59,600 unemployed in the region, down from 67,100 in March 2021 and down from 167,100 in April 2020. Year-over-year in April 2021, labor force increased by 54,300 or 5.1 percent, to 1,116,400.
In April 2021 there were 40,900 people working in Manufacturing, up from 40.600 in March 2021 and up from 35,800 in April 2020. Year-over-year in April 2021, manufacturing labor force increased by 5,100 or 14.2%.
Lordstown Motors Cuts Electric Truck Production Plans in Half
In a press release dated May 24, Lordstown CEO Steve Burns stated that the company has “encountered some challenges, including COVID-related and industry-wide related issues” in the lead up to production of the company’s Endurance electric truck later this year.
The company notes the costs were largely incurred in “higher than expected expenditures for parts/equipment, expedited shipping costs, and expenses associated with third-party engineering resources,” as the company attempts to build out its production facilities. Also notable are the company’s reported losses, which stand at a whopping $125 million in the first quarter of 2021.
Labor Shortage Will Push Wages Higher, According To Bank Of America
Employers are desperate to staff up quickly to meet surging consumer demand, but some workers have been slow to return for a number of reasons including virus concerns, childcare constraints, early retirement and more generous federal unemployment benefits, BofA senior U.S. economist Joseph Song wrote in a Friday research note. According to Song’s analysis, wage growth will be stronger in sectors that were hit hardest by the pandemic—including construction, real estate and hotels and food service.
It’s already clear some workers are holding out for higher pay before they reenter the workforce: The average self-reported reservation wage—the lowest wage a worker says they will accept to start a new job—has grown 21% since the fall for people earning less than $60,000 per year, according to data from the New York Fed.
Cargo Activity Keeps Stewart Busy
The pandemic all but decimated the airline industry over the last more than a year and that is evident by the loss of over 81 percent of passengers at New York Stewart International Airport in 2020.
On the air cargo side of operations, the situation is much different, Stewart Business Development Director Mike Torelli told the advisory Stewart Airport Commission on Tuesday. “On both the freight and the mail that is a total of 57,223 tons for the year, which is a high for Stewart Airport and also a 40 percent increase over the previous year, and those preliminary numbers for the first couple of months (of this year) continue to go up,” he said.
Biden Global Tax Proposal Faces Setback after Ireland Objects
US President Joe Biden’s push to get major economies to agree on a 15 percent minimum tax rate for multinational corporations has hit turbulence after Ireland’s finance minister expressed “significant reservations” about the plan. “We do have really significant reservations regarding a global minimum effective tax rate status at such a level that it means only certain countries, and certain size economies can benefit from that base — we have a really significant concern about that,” Donohoe told Sky News.
The objection carries weight because Ireland hosts an outsized number of technology and pharmaceutical firms that were attracted to the country for its lower tax rate.
China Replaces Germany as UK’s Biggest Import Market
China has replaced Germany as the UK’s biggest single import market for the first time on record, partly fuelled by demand for Chinese textiles used for face masks and PPE, official figures showed.
Goods imports from China to the UK increased by 66% since the start of 2018 to £16.9bn in the first quarter of 2021, the Office for National Statistics said. Imports from Germany fell by a quarter over the same period, to £12.5bn. The European Union as a whole remains the largest trading partner for the UK.