The daily business briefing: September 13, 2021
Manchin won't vote for Democrats' $3.5 trillion spending bill, the surgeon general defends Biden vaccine requirements, and more
Manchin says he won't vote for $3.5 trillion spending bill
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), a critical moderate swing vote, said Sunday that he wouldn't back the $3.5 trillion spending bill proposed by President Biden and his allies in Congress. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer "will not have my vote on $3.5 [trillion]," Manchin said on CNN's State of the Union. Manchin, who has proposed cutting the bill's cost in half, said there was "no way" Congress can reach a deal in time to meet House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's goal of passing the legislation by Sept. 27. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is writing the bill, said it is "not acceptable" that Manchin doesn't support the bill, which Democrats plan to pay for mostly with new taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations.
Surgeon general defends Biden vaccine requirements
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy defended the Biden administration's new coronavirus vaccine requirements in schools and big businesses. "We know these kind of requirements actually work to improve our vaccination rates," Murthy said on ABC's This Week. President Biden is using the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to make companies with more than 100 workers mandate employee vaccinations. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said on NBC's Meet the Press that the new vaccine requirement was "an unprecedented assumption of federal mandate authority" that "hardens the resistance" to vaccinations by overstepping federal authority and "increasing distrust with the government."
Stock futures rise as Wall Street looks to break losing streak
U.S. stock index futures rose early Monday as Wall Street struggles to bounce back from five days of losses, its longest losing streak since February. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up by 0.6 percent several hours before the opening bell. Futures for the S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq gained about 0.5 percent. All three of the main U.S. indexes fell on Friday. The Dow and the S&P 500 finished the week down by 2.2 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively. Stocks have been under pressure since the release of a disappointing August jobs report that fueled concerns that the surge in coronavirus infections driven by the highly contagious Delta variant was slowing down the recovery.
COVID-test makers, drug stores brace for jump in demand
Makers of over-the-counter COVID-19 tests are boosting production and pharmacies are limiting purchases as they brace for a surge in demand due to the Biden administration's order that companies with more than 100 employees require vaccinations or weekly COVID screenings. Diagnostics manufacturers had reduced production in early 2021 as new coronavirus infections fell. CVS Health Corp. and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. have started capping the number of at-home tests customers can buy while they make sure test suppliers can meet a jump in demand. Employers are struggling to stockpile the tests they will need to screen employees who choose not to get vaccinated, according to consulting group Mercer LLC.
Apple shares end slide prompted by mixed court ruling
Apple shares edged higher early Monday, stabilizing after falling by 3.3 percent last week following a judge's mixed ruling on the iPhone maker's battle with Epic Games over in-app purchases. U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers issued an injunction that will force Apple to dismantle part of its App Store barricade that has prevented developers from routing video-game players to alternative platforms to make payments, forcing them to pay Apple's 30 percent fees. But Rogers rejected allegations by Epic, maker of Fortnite, that Apple has been operating an illegal monopoly. Epic filed notice Sunday that it would appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.