The daily business briefing: December 7, 2021
Devin Nunes is leaving Congress to run Trump social media startup, NYC imposes vaccine mandate on private companies, and more
Nunes leaving Congress to run Trump social media startup
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), a close ally of former President Donald Trump, announced Monday that he plans to resign from Congress this month to become chief executive of Trump's new social media company. "I'm writing to let you know I've decided to pursue this opportunity," the 10-term congressman wrote in a letter to constituents. Trump Media & Technology Group said Nunes would become its CEO in January. Nunes, who served as chair of the House Intelligence Committee when Republicans controlled the chamber, led GOP efforts to discredit the FBI's Russia investigation. Nunes would have faced a tougher path to re-election than usual in the midterms because California's congressional map is being redrawn and is expected to tilt his district more toward Democrats.
New York City announces vaccine mandate for private companies
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday announced a first-in-the-nation coronavirus vaccine mandate for all in-person employees at private companies in the city. De Blasio called the policy a "pre-emptive strike" against a potential new wave of COVID-19 cases fueled by the new Omicron coronavirus variant, and to help limit infections from holiday gatherings. "Omicron is here, and it looks like it's very transmissible," de Blasio told MSNBC. "The timing is horrible with the winter months." New York City already requires vaccinations for city workers, as well as customers and employees at indoor restaurants, entertainment venues, and gyms. Starting Dec. 27, workers at private companies will have to have received at least their first dose.
Stock futures rise as Omicron concerns ease
U.S. stock futures surged early Tuesday, adding to Monday gains that came as concerns eased about the potential economic impact of the new Omicron coronavirus variant. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 were up by 1 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively, at 6:30 a.m. ET. Futures for the tech-heavy Nasdaq were up by 1.9 percent. All three of the main U.S. indexes jumped on Monday following reports that health officials expected COVID-19 cases from Omicron to be less severe than those from the Delta variant, which still accounts for nearly all coronavirus-related hospitalizations and deaths in the United States. The Dow jumped by 1.9 percent on Monday. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq gained 1.2 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively, after the discovery of the Omicron strain dragged markets down last week.
SEC investigates Trump social media deal
The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating a deal between former President Donald Trump's latest social media venture and the special purpose acquisition company — or SPAC — that is taking it public, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday, citing a regulatory filing by the SPAC, Digital World Acquisition Corp. After news broke of the Trump-Digital World deal, the Journal and other news outlets reported that Trump met with Digital World CEO Patrick Orlando early this year, before the SPAC raised any money, which would be a violation of SEC rules if they had substantive deal talks. SPACs can't have a target already identified when they start raising money.
Instagram features to let users know when it's time to take a break
Instagram on Tuesday is launching its "Take a Break" tool, which will urge users to do something else after they have spent a certain amount of time scrolling through the platform's content. The social media platform, owned by Facebook-parent Meta, announced plans for the feature in September as part of an effort to discourage users, particularly teenagers, from damaging their mental health by getting sucked into spending too much time scrolling from post to post. Users will be able to turn on the feature in "Settings" and choose alerts every 10 minutes, 20 minutes, or 30 minutes. The release comes a day before the head of Instagram will answer questions from lawmakers about the platform's efforts to bolster its child-safety policies.