Cheat Sheet: What is Still in the Dem Megabill (At Least as of Monday Evening)?
Democrats being forced to slash the price tag of their social spending bill from $3.5 trillion to roughly $2 trillion as they close in on a deal that can satisfy both the party’s moderate and progressive factions. Promises like free community college are dead altogether. Dreams of paid leave and expanding Medicare to cover dental, vision and hearing are at risk. Originally permanent expansions of Medicaid and the Child Tax Credit will now run for as little as one year.
At the heart of the party’s decision to embrace a far slimmer spending package than they first outlined this summer is a bet by top Democrats that even scaled-back versions of their vision will be successful enough to get extended and expanded later on.
Transitory: Yellen Expects Inflation to Linger, Then Ease Later in 2022
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Sunday that she expects higher inflation to linger for months, then ease by the middle to end of next year. “The COVID shock to the economy has caused disruptions that we’ll be working through over the next year. And, of course, Americans have not seen inflation like we have experienced recently in a long time,” Yellen said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “As we get back to normal, expect that to end.”
She named health and child care concerns as two reasons why “many firms are experiencing a shortage of labor.” And shutdowns related to Covid-19 in Asia have impacted the import of good, she said, including a shortage in semiconductors that has pushed up prices of used cars and a reduction in the production of new cars.
Vaccine Mandates Are Surviving Nearly All Court Challenges
In at least 17 lawsuits, judges appointed by both Democrats and Republicans have refused to block vaccine mandates.
More than 20 states and dozens of cities have adopted vaccination mandates—mostly through executive orders and legislation—to control the spread of Covid-19. The legal basis for the orders largely stems from a Supreme Court ruling from a century ago upholding a vaccine mandate after an outbreak of smallpox in Massachusetts. The court acknowledged in that case that states have broad powers to combat significant public-health challenges.
McMahon: NY Job Growth Still Trails U.S.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, private-sector employment in New York grew in September by 0.2 percent, or 14,800 jobs, compared to 0.25 percent for the nation as a whole. In addition, however, the Labor Department’s strong initial estimate of August employment growth in the state (28,000 jobs, or about 0.4 percent) was reduced by more than 9,000 jobs.
At September’s monthly growth rates, the nation will surpass pre-pandemic employment levels in October 2022, while New York won’t fully recover until the end of 2025. The comparative trends since 2010 are illustrated below; note that New York employment growth actually had begun to fall behind the national average in 2019, a few months before the COVID-19 health crisis hit.
U.S. COVID Update – Latest Variant Not Contagious Enough to Change Virus ‘Trajectory’
Former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on Sunday that the latest delta variant is not contagious enough to change the COVID-19 pandemic’s “trajectory” in the United States.
“I don’t think this is enough to really change the trajectory of the direction we’re heading in. We’re much closer to the end of this delta wave than we are to the beginning. The South looks very good right now. In the Midwest, where there’s been a very dense epidemic, we see cases starting to decline. There was a pickup in cases in the Great Lakes region, in parts of New England, so that’s concerning. I think as we get to Thanksgiving, maybe shortly thereafter, we’re going to be on the downswing” across the country, Gottlieb added.
NYS Vaccine and COVID Update
Vaccine Stats as of Monday October 25th:
One Vaccine Dose
- 73.6 of all New Yorkers – 14,228,168 (plus 9,863 from a day earlier)
- In the Hudson Valley 1,488,767 (plus 982)
- 66.1% of all New Yorkers – 12,854,922 (plus 11,486).
- In the Hudson Valley – 1,327,172 (plus 1,002).
The Governor updated COVID data through Sunday October 24th. There were 28 COVID related deaths for a total of 57,741.
- Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 2,044.
Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:
- Statewide 2.10%
- Mid-Hudson: 1.91%
FDA Staff : Benefits of Giving Vaccine to 5- to 11-Year-Olds Generally Outweigh Risk of Rare Heart Condition
In a report released Friday, the agency flagged the risk of heart-inflammation conditions including myocarditis associated with the vaccine but said the overall benefits, in preventing Covid-19 disease and hospitalizations, would outweigh the risk of the heart conditions.
The FDA assessment could support the agency’s authorization of the vaccine in children in the coming days or weeks, but the myocarditis risk is likely to be a topic of debate among advisers to the FDA who are scheduled to first review the application.
Fauci: Vaccines Could be Available to Kids in Early November
Anthony Fauci said Sunday that COVID-19 vaccines could be available for children in early November, providing a boost of optimism for some parents seeking to get their kids inoculated in time for the holidays. Fauci said he did not want to get ahead of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CDC, but said that “if you look at the data that’s been made public and announced by the company, the data looked good.”
“If all goes well, and we get the regulatory approval, and the recommendation from the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], it’s entirely possible, if not very likely, that vaccines will be available for children from 5 to 11 within the first week or two of November,” Fauci told “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos on ABC.
Endemic Covid-19 Has Arrived in Portugal. This Is What It Looks Like
Portugal, a country ravaged earlier in the year by the Delta variant of the coronavirus, now has the highest Covid-19 vaccination rate in Europe and offers a glimpse of a country trying to come to grips with what is increasingly looking like an endemic virus.
Portugal has been averaging six deaths a day for the past month, compared with almost 300 at the peak in January. Adjusted for population, the current rate equates to about 200 in the U.S. The deaths plunged to one or two a day in May and June before rising to 20 in July. The number of new daily recorded infections and hospitalizations has been trending down since the summer. The country is now averaging about 750 new cases a day, compared with almost 13,000 in January. There are about 320 people hospitalized, down from almost 6,700 at the peak.
Saab Opens Jet Components Plant in Indiana
The multimillion-dollar facility, located in the Discovery Park District adjacent to the Purdue campus, supports production of the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation T-7A jet trainer. When at full capacity by 2027, Saab Inc. expects to employ up to 300 people in the West Lafayette facility. The facility, announced in May 2018, opened early this year on the West Lafayette site. However, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the grand opening.
Construction of the facility began in 2020., and was completed on-time and on-budget. The facility will initially be the site “for domestic production of Saab’s aft airframe section for the T-7A Red Hawk trainer program,” according to a Saab Inc. press release. “It will also support research and development in autonomy, artificial intelligence and advanced manufacturing.”
Top 10 OSHA Violations of 2021
The 2021 list includes the same 10 violations as the previous year (and indeed, the same list from 2019 as well), although the order did change somewhat. In OSHA’s reveal of the top 10 safety violations of 2021 at the recent NSC conference in Orlando, Patrick Kapust, deputy director of OSHA’s Directorate of Enforcement Programs, pointed out that the total number of violations was down somewhat from the previous year, largely due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic necessitating many employees working from home for much or part of the year.
The following slides report the total number of violations (based on OSHA’s preliminary count), as well as the ranking of each violation in the previous year.
Hertz Rental Car Co. Orders 100,000 Tesla EVs
Hertz Co. announced October 25 it had ordered 100,000 electric cars by 2022 from Tesla Motors for its fleet of rental vehicles and would install EV charging infrastructure at its locations around the world.
According to a company statement, Tesla’s Model 3 vehicles will make up 20% of Hertz’s global fleet once the order is filled by the end of next year. That’s barring any unforeseen disruptions that might be caused by semiconductor shortages, Hertz said.
HHS Takes Actions to Increase Access to Easy-to-Use Over-the-Counter COVID-19 Tests
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is investing $70 million from the American Rescue Plan to help bring more high-quality, at-home tests onto the market in the U.S. in coordination with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). NIH’s new Independent Test Assessment Program (ITAP) will establish an accelerated pathway to support FDA evaluation of tests with potential for large-scale manufacturing.
This new program will help identify manufacturers of high quality tests and encourage them to bring those tests to the U.S. market, increasing options for people and overall supply and potentially lowering costs. In this new program NIH will provide reliable, independent laboratory and clinical data to FDA for test manufacturers that can scale up quickly. If tests meet FDA’s performance and quality standards, FDA will use this information to grant emergency use authorization (EUA). HHS will prioritize new over-the-counter test applications that have the potential for manufacturing at significant scale. The goal is to accelerate the availability of more high-quality, accurate and reliable over-the-counter tests to the public as quickly as possible.