Kathy Hochul Vows Change From ‘Toxic’ Cuomo Administration
New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said Wednesday that she is ready to take over as governor from Andrew Cuomo in two weeks, and vowed not to have a “toxic” workplace, as Cuomo allegedly has had for three terms. “The governor and I have not been close,” Hochul told reporters at her first press conference.
Hochul also said, “I’m fully prepared to assume the responsibilities of the 57th governor of New York.” She had already held meetings and calls with members of the New York legislature, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, former Sen. Hillary Clinton, as well as business and faith leaders, and other governors of northeast states.
Read more at CNBC
Senate Passes Democrats’ $3.5 Trillion Budget Blueprint
The party line vote, 50-49, came just before 4 a.m., one day after the Senate passed a roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package. It is an initial victory for President Biden and congressional Democrats who are seeking to pass as much of their legislative agenda as possible this year, before next year’s midterm elections overtake Capitol Hill.
The House is expected to return to Washington the week of Aug. 23 to vote on the budget resolution, If the House passes a budget resolution identical to the Senate’s, Democrats can unlock a special process known as reconciliation that allows them to pass legislation with a simple majority in the Senate rather than the 60 votes most bills need.
Inflation: CPI Rises 5.4% in July, Core Up 4.3%
The Labor Department reported Wednesday that its consumer price index rose 5.4% in July from a year earlier, in line with June’s figure and matching the largest jump since August 2008. Core inflation, which excludes energy and food, rose by 0.3% last month. The core figure is up 4.3% over the last year, a slight deceleration from June’s 4.5%.
Shelter costs, which are seen as a more structural component of the CPI and make up about a third of the overall index, increased 0.4% and accounted for more than half the monthly gain in the core index.
Inflation Negates The Recent Rise in Wages
Companies big and small are raising wages to attract workers and hold onto employees as the economy revs back into gear. But those fatter paychecks aren’t going as far, thanks to rising inflation. In fact, compensation is now lower than it was in December 2019, when adjusted for inflation, according to an analysis by Jason Furman, an economics professor at Harvard University.
The Employment Cost Index — which measures wages and salaries, along with health, retirement and other benefits — fell in the last quarter and is 2% below its pre-pandemic trend, when taking inflation into account. Employees of the utilities industry saw their real compensation slide 1% since December 2019. Manufacturing fell 0.7% and in transportation and warehousing, real compensation slipped 0.6%.
US COVID Update – Mortality Rising Fast In Unvaccinated Regions
The US continues to face a COVID-19 surge, with the most severe burden faced by states in the South and Southeast regions of the country. The national biweekly relative change peaked at more than +160% in late July, but a slight decrease to +119% indicates that the increase is beginning to taper off.
While full vaccination coverage has surpassed 50% nationally, major disparities remain at the state level. Analysis by The Wall Street Journal found that all 12 states that are reporting per capita hospitalizations greater than the national average have full vaccination coverage below the national average. At the local level, counties with the lowest vaccination coverage also are experiencing much larger surges in mortality, compared to counties with higher vaccination coverage. These statistics illustrate that vaccines are providing protection against severe disease, hospitalization, and death.
NYS Vaccine and COVID Update
Vaccine Stats as of Wednesday August 11th:
One Vaccine Dose
- 64.5% of all New Yorkers – 12,409,680 (plus 29,720 from a day earlier)
- In the Hudson Valley 1,315,825 (plus 2,202)
- 57.9% of all New Yorkers – 11,267,589 are fully vaccinated (Plus 15,385)
- In the Hudson Valley – 1,180,205 (plus 1,535) are fully vaccinated.
The Governor updated COVID data through Tuesday August 10th. There were 15 COVID related deaths for a total of 43,184.
- Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 1,367
Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:
- Statewide 3.01%
- Mid-Hudson: 3.11%
- Read the press release
- Visit the vaccine tracker site
- See the School Districts Dashboard
- See the SUNY Dashboard
- State Vaccine Information Site
Biden Wants Private Businesses to Mandate Vaccines
President Biden is pushing for all businesses to require the vaccine for workers. His meeting with business leaders on Wednesday who have required the COVID-19 vaccine for employees, including United Airlines and Kaiser Permanente, is designed to highlight companies, including small ones, that have “taken the right step to create safer workplaces,” said Kevin Munoz, White House assistant press secretary.
Some private companies have imposed vaccine mandate for employees following Biden’s directive that all federal employees show that they are vaccinated or submit to regular testing for COVID-19.
Federal Contractors Must Comply with New COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates for On-Site Employees
Federal contractors are being contacted by their contracting agencies about implementing requirements relating to President Joe Biden’s mandate that all federal employees and on-site contractor employees either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or face repeated testing, and comply with strict social distancing and masking requirements.
Currently, the mandate for federal contractors is limited to employees who work on-site at federal facilities and the requirements are being issued as a site access safety protocol: any worker who does not comply with the requirements will be denied site access. However, in the White House press release on the new mandate indicates that the requirements could be imposed on federal contractors more broadly later to include workers other than those who work at federal sites.
Pelosi: No Vote on Infrastructure this Month
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made clear to rank-and-file Democrats on Wednesday that the House will not take up the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure package this month, rejecting calls from moderates in her caucus who are demanding a quick vote. Pelosi, since the infrastructure talks launched in earnest months ago, has adopted the position that the House will not turn to the $1 trillion infrastructure package until the Senate passes a much larger $3.5 trillion package chock full of Democratic social benefits programs and climate initiatives.
That strategy has been championed by progressive lawmakers in the House who don’t quite trust some of the centrist Democrats in the Senate and want to use the bipartisan infrastructure bill as leverage — critics say as hostage — to ensure the larger $3.5 trillion package clears the upper chamber.
Machine-Tool Orders Are Up 48.6% Year To Date
New machine-tool orders were about $2.51 billion in the first six months of 2021, 48.6% higher than the year-ago period and above pre-pandemic figures, according to data from the Association for Manufacturing Technology.
The data is reported by AMT in its monthly U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders Report, a forward-looking index to manufacturing activity presenting actual data for capital investments in new machine tools. The total reflects machine shops and other manufacturers planning for future work orders – specifically, new orders of metal-cutting and metal-forming and -fabricating equipment.
Moderna Opening Vaccine Plant in Canada
U.S. biotech company Moderna will build a plant in Canada to produce vaccines for COVID-19 and other respiratory infections, the Canadian government and the company announced Tuesday. Canada currently has no domestic vaccine production, and so has depended on imports of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and other jabs to inoculate its 38 million people against the novel coronavirus.
Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne made the announcement with the head of Moderna, saying the plant would fulfill orders for its messenger RNA vaccines, with manufacturers struggling to meet soaring demand for Covid-19 shots worldwide.
White House Calls on OPEC to Boost Oil Production as Gasoline Prices Rise
The White House is calling on OPEC and its oil-producing allies to boost production in an effort to combat climbing gasoline prices, amid concerns that rising inflation could derail the economic recovery from Covid. Biden administration officials spoke with representatives from OPEC’s de facto leader Saudi Arabia this week, as well as with representatives from the United Arab Emirates and other OPEC+ members.
The Biden administration is also calling on the Federal Trade Commission to “monitor the U.S. gasoline market” and “address any illegal conduct that might be contributing to price increases for consumers at the pump.”
From January: Biden Makes Sweeping Changes to Oil and Gas Policy
President Joe Biden has followed through on a campaign pledge by introducing a moratorium on new oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters. With nearly 25 percent of U.S. oil and gas production coming from federal lands, the policy shift may have significant implications for future investment and production.
The backlash from oil and gas producing states will be fierce and lawsuits have already begun, but the Biden administration views this policy as a key part of its climate agenda and is unlikely to change course.