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Daily Briefing – 355

Post: Aug. 9, 2021

Senate Democrats Outline $3.5 Trillion Antipoverty, Climate Plan

The plan includes universal prekindergarten, two free years of community college, and expanded Medicare to cover hearing, dental and vision care. Democrats are planning to raise taxes on corporations and high-income households to cover the cost of the $3.5 trillion plan, which also calls for a federal paid leave benefit, a series of energy tax incentives, and a program to push the U.S. to receive 80% of its electricity from clean sources by 2030.

The plan outlined by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) on Monday also includes offering a pathway to citizenship for certain migrants to the U.S. and lowering the price of prescription drugs. It doesn’t include a measure to increase the U.S. government’s borrowing limit, meaning Democrats will seek to raise the debt ceiling with GOP support in the coming weeks. 

Read more at the WSJ

Vaccine Mandates Sweep Across Corporate America + Take the Council of Industry Quick Member Survey

The U.S. government may not require that everyone get Covid-19 vaccines, but large employers across corporate America are stepping into the void. More than a dozen large U.S. corporations, including Walmart, Google, Tyson Foods and United Airlines, have recently announced vaccine mandates for some or all of their workers.

We want to know what Council Members are thinking and what actions they are taking.  Please take our quick survey. Results will be shared next week. 

Top Cuomo Aide Melissa DeRosa Resigns

It’s undoubtedly the most significant loss for the Cuomo administration, even at the end of a week in which the governor has been condemned by everybody from the president to the state legislators who now have the votes to impeach him. DeRosa has been widely viewed as Cuomo’s most trusted adviser and gained national fame when she occupied the seat next to him at last year’s pandemic briefings.

DeRosa was a prominent figure in Attorney General Tish James’ report corroborating allegations of sexual misconduct made against Cuomo. According to the report, she contributed to the hierarchical culture of bullying, fear and retaliation in the executive chamber that prevented women from coming forward with their accusations or believing those claims would be taken seriously.

Read more at Politico

Assembly Judiciary Committee Impeachment Inquiry Will Conclude as Early as This Month

New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said Monday that the goal of the Judiciary Committee’s impeachment inquiry into Governor Andrew Cuomo is to conclude “all due haste.” The committee last week sent a letter to Cuomo’s legal team asking him to provide any additional evidence before it concludes its inquiry on August 13.

At the start of Monday’s hearing, Judiciary Committee chair Charles Lavine  said the committee will review the AG’s report in addition to its own findings. For three months, a law firm selected by the committee has been collecting evidence related to sexual harassment allegations against Cuomo, as well as his administration’s handling of Covid-19 in nursing homes, allegations related to the use of state resources in connection with Cuomo’s memoir and other issues. At a press conference after the hearing, Lavine said he expects public hearings to take place “after August 23.”

Read More at CBS News

US COVID Update – Half of Total US Population Fully Vaccinated

Half of the total U.S. population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, a White House official said Friday.  White House Data Director Cyrus Shahpar announced in a tweet that 50 percent of all Americans are fully vaccinated as part of an update on daily vaccination data.  

The updated data showed more than 821,000 doses were administered, including 565,000 people getting their first shot, in the past day. The seven-day average of newly vaccinated people rose 44 percent in the past two weeks, suggesting more unvaccinated people are getting their shots.  

Read more at The Hill

NYS Vaccine and COVID Update 

Vaccine Stats as of  Monday August 9th:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 64.3% of all New Yorkers – 12,356,238 (plus 21,797 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,3110 (plus 2,471) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 57.8% of all New Yorkers – 11,237,990 are fully vaccinated (Plus 10,769)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,176,019 (plus 1,388) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Sunday August 8th.  There were 12 COVID related deaths for a total of 43,151.


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 1,225

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 2.96%
  • Mid-Hudson: 2.98%

Useful Websites:

The Signs You Have the Delta Variant are Different than Original COVID-19

The delta variant of COVID-19 can have symptoms that are more mild and typically not associated with the virus that some may mistake the illness as allergies or another common sickness.   Many patients present with symptoms that appear to be run-of-the-mill illnesses, like sinus congestion, runny nose and sore throat. These symptoms could be signs that patients have the delta variant.

  • Cough, fever, and shortness of breath are common COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Sinus congestion, runny nose and sore throat are symptoms of becoming infected with the delta variant.
  • Sneezing more than usual is a symptom of having the delta variant.

Read more at The Hill

Mass(k) Confusion – Schools Reopening

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance in July recommending that students and faculty wear masks in school buildings. But the federal government doesn’t require it, leaving the ultimate decisions to states, cities and individual school districts.

When students in California and Illinois head back to school in a few weeks, they will have to wear masks. Florida and Arizona, meanwhile, banned mask requirements in schools. Some, but not all, districts there are insisting on them anyway. Local school leaders in Georgia can make their own choices about masking, and policies differ from one district to the next.  New York State has not made a decision on school mask mandates as of yet. 

Read more at the WSJ

IPCC Report is ‘Code Red for Humanity’

Human activity is changing the climate in unprecedented and sometimes irreversible ways, a major UN scientific report has said.  The landmark study warns of increasingly extreme heatwaves, droughts and flooding, and a key temperature limit being broken in just over a decade.

The report “is a code red for humanity” But scientists say a catastrophe can be avoided if the world acts fast. There is hope that deep cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases could stabilise rising temperatures.  UN Secretary General António Guterres said: “If we combine forces now, we can avert climate catastrophe. But, as today’s report makes clear, there is no time for delay and no room for excuses.”

Read more at the BBC

Aramco Posts Nearly 300% Leap in Second-Quarter Profit as Oil Demand Recovers

Saudi state oil giant Aramco reported a stunning 288% increase in net income to $25.5 billion for the second quarter, while maintaining its dividend of $18.8 billion, as big oil benefits from higher prices and a recovery in worldwide demand. 

Aramco’s net income of $25.5 billion for the quarter compares to $6.6 billion in the same quarter of 2020. The result beat expectations, with analysts expecting a median net income of $24.7 billion for the quarter. 

Read more at CNBC

McMahon: Albany’s Budget Blowout is Unsustainable

Buoyed by nearly $13 billion in unrestricted federal stimulus aid—plus billions more in funding targeted directly to school districts and local governments—Albany’s budget for fiscal year 2022 raised the baseline of recurring state operations spending by nearly 8 percent, to a level that won’t be sustainable once the federal cash is exhausted in a few years. For the first time ever, New York is projecting balanced state budgets across two consecutive fiscal years. But the fiscal hangover, dawning in the second half of the 2020s, could be a brutal combination of large deficits and eroding revenues—even assuming a continuous expansion of the national and regional economy.

Read more at the Empire Center

Pharmaceutical Firms Make Billions With COVID Jabs

Germany’s BioNTech, maker with partner Pfizer of the pioneering mRNA jab, raised its vaccine revenue forecast for 2021 in its latest earnings report on Monday.

Pfizer has earned more than its competitors, raking in $10.8 billion (9.2 billion euros) in the first half of this year. The US company has raised its outlook for 2021, expecting to make $33.5 billion in sales for the full year. BioNTech reported on Tuesday revenues of $7.3 billion euros in the first half. Unlike its larger partner, the company’s only product on sale is the coronavirus vaccine.

Read more at IndustryWeek

Excelsior Pass Plus Intended to Support the Safe, Secure Return of Tourism and Business Travel

Governor Cuomo last week announced the launch of Excelsior Pass Plus to expand travel and commerce opportunities for New Yorkers by enabling compatibility between New York State’s Excelsior Pass platform and the  globally recognized SMART Health Cards Framework developed by an international consortium called VCI. This includes a first-in-the-nation partnership with VeriFLY by Daon.

New Yorkers will be able to display their Excelsior Pass Plus at hundreds of businesses and locations that require proof of vaccination, as well as when traveling to entities where SMART Health Cards are accepted. Excelsior Pass Plus will provide New Yorkers safe access to retrieve a secure, digital copy of their COVID-19 vaccination record using the SMART Health Cards Framework – making their interstate and international travel and commerce experiences safer, contact-less, and more seamless. 

Read the press release

Warehouses are Luring Workers from Other Industries

Greater demand for warehouse space stemming from a structural shift in supply chain dynamics has led to a highly competitive labor environment in many markets, which COVID-19 has exacerbated. In 2Q 2021, a record 423.7 million square feet of industrial space was under construction across the U.S. An estimated 282,470 additional workers could be needed to support activities within these facilities. Increasingly, employees in other industries are switching jobs to work within the warehousing/transportation (W/T) sector.

Approximately half of employees making this change previously worked in the retail/wholesale and administrative/support services, and this flow is likely to accelerate. Recent national wage growth in those sectors lagged gains in W/T wages, which grew by 4.25% from January to June 2021, a record 6-month gain for the sector.

Read more at Material Handling and Logistics