The daily business briefing: June 1, 2023

The House passes deal raising the debt limit, regulators reach settlement with Amazon on privacy complaints, and more

Amazon's Alexa logo on a phone screen
Amazon will pay $25 million to settle allegations it violated children's privacy rights
(Image credit: Avishek Das/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

1. House passes deal to raise debt limit, sending it to Senate

The House on Wednesday passed the bipartisan deal to raise the debt ceiling and avoid an unprecedented and catastrophic default. The bill now goes to the Senate, where it still faces hurdles ahead of a June 5 deadline, when the Treasury Department has said it will start running short of money to cover all the country's financial obligations. Hard-line conservatives tried to block the bill in the House, saying the compromise brokered over the weekend by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and President Biden didn't contain sufficient spending cuts in exchange for raising the $31.4 trillion debt limit for two years. In the end, the measure passed by a comfortable 314-117 margin in a test of McCarthy's control of his party's narrow House majority.

The Washington Post

2. FTC announces settlements with Amazon on Ring, Alexa privacy violations

The Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday announced a $5.8 million settlement with Amazon over privacy violations involving its Ring doorbell camera unit. The FTC said in a court filing that a former Ring employee in 2017 used Ring cameras in bedrooms and bathrooms to spy on female customers. Amazon also agreed to pay $25 million to settle allegations it violated children's privacy rights by failing to comply with parents' requests to delete Alexa recordings. The settlements are the latest moves the FTC has made to respond to complaints that Big Tech companies are putting profits ahead of privacy. Amazon, which bought Ring in 2018, said it would make changes but disagreed with the FTC's claims about Ring and Alexa.

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3. Amazon workers walk out in climate protest

A group of Amazon's corporate workers staged a lunchtime walkout at the online retail giant's Seattle headquarters on Wednesday to protest the company's environmental impact, layoffs, and an order for employees to return to the office. The demonstration came a month after Amazon imposed a mandate for employees to report for in-person work three days a week. More than 1,900 employees committed to participating around the world, 900 of them in Seattle, Amazon Employees for Climate Justice said. The workers have complained that Amazon's massive distribution network has a huge carbon footprint, and they said the company wasn't acting fast enough to address it. "We respect our employees' rights to express their opinions," Amazon said.

The Associated Press

4. Stock futures rise slightly after House backs debt ceiling proposal

U.S. stock futures edged higher early Thursday after the House passed a deal to raise the debt ceiling, sending it to the Senate. Futures tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were up 0.1% and 0.3% respectively, at 7 a.m. ET. Nasdaq futures were up 0.2%. The Treasury Department has warned that it would start running short of money to pay the nation's bills next week, and concerns about an unprecedented default have rattled markets. Investors also are bracing for the Federal Reserve's June 13-14 policy meeting. Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker said he was leaning toward supporting a pause in the Fed's aggressive rate hikes to fight inflation, but Friday's May jobs report could affect that decision.


5. Job openings increased in April

U.S. job vacancies unexpectedly surged in April, according to the Labor Department's Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) released Wednesday. Available positions rose from a revised 9.75 million in March to 10.1 million in April, the highest in three months. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected JOLTS to show 9.4 million job openings. The report bumped up expectations that the Federal Reserve would raise interest rates again in June to cool the economy, rather than pausing as inflation shows signs of easing and trouble in the banking sector stokes concerns about the health of the economy. Fed policy makers will be watching Friday's May jobs report, which is expected to show that hiring slowed.


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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.