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The daily business briefing: July 16, 2019

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Harold Maass
Fake Amazon boxes on the ground
Kevin Hagen/Getty Images
The daily business briefing newsletter
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1.

Pelosi says House won't raise debt ceiling without budget deal

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Monday that the House would not raise the debt ceiling unless it is part of a budget deal. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that Congress will have to raise the debt ceiling before its August recess if there is no budget deal before then. Otherwise, he said, the federal government won't have enough money to pay all of its bills. Lawmakers have until the end of September to hammer out a budget deal, as that's when funding for several agencies is scheduled to run out. The Treasury Department can only issue debt up to the limit set by Congress. Since President Trump's inauguration, total government debt has increased by about $3 trillion, to more than $22 trillion. [Politico, The Washington Post]

2.

Amazon workers in Minnesota, Europe strike on Prime Day

Amazon workers in Minnesota, Germany, and the U.K. held strikes during one of the online retail giant's biggest sales days of the year, protesting working conditions and wage practices on Monday. "Amazon has the means to do so much more for all of its employees," Amazon warehouse employee William Stolz told CNBC from Minnesota at the start of a two-day Prime Day event expected to bring in global sales of up to $5.8 billion. "We would like to see workers have better job security, better treatment for those that are injured, bringing back some of the benefits and bonuses that we used to have." An Amazon spokesperson said the company provides "great employment opportunities with excellent pay — ranging from $16.25-$20.80 an hour, and comprehensive benefits." [Quartz, The Associated Press]

3.

Stock futures little changed as banks report earnings

U.S. stock index futures were little changed early Tuesday as investors awaited a wave of quarterly earnings reports. Citigroup, the first big Wall Street bank to report this week, said Monday that its second quarter profits rose by 7 percent from a year ago, boosted by higher interest rates and a lower tax rate. Citigroup reported profit of $1.95 a share, up from $1.63 per share last year and exceeding the $1.81 per share analysts projected. JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, among several banks reporting before the bell Tuesday, also beat earnings expectations. Investors will be looking for signals of what the banks expect as the global economy slows and the Federal Reserve considers lowering interest rates to boost U.S. growth. [The Associated Press, CNBC]

4.

Tesla simplifies offerings and adjusts prices

Tesla announced Tuesday that it was updating its options and prices to simplify its electric-car offerings. The company said it was dropping the "Standard Range" versions of Model S sedan and Model X sport-utility vehicle, leaving just the "Long Range" and "Performance" versions as base options. With the change, the starting prices will rise to $84,990 for the Model X and $79,900 for the Model S, excluding any buying incentives. Tesla also said it was lowering the starting price for the Model 3, its first mass-market vehicle, to $38,900. Tesla produced a record 72,531 Model 3 sedans in the second quarter, and some employees said they took shortcuts, such as reducing testing for water leaks, at Tesla's open-air "tent" factory to meet aggressive production goals. [Reuters, CNBC]

5.

Computing pioneer Alan Turing to be featured on U.K. 50-pound note

The face of codebreaker and computing pioneer Alan Turing will be on Britain's new 50-pound note, the Bank of England announced Monday. Turing helped crack Nazi Germany's secret codes with his "Turing bombe," a predecessor of modern computers. After the war, however, he was prosecuted for homosexuality, which was then illegal. He died in 1954 at age 41, after eating a cyanide-laced apple. He received a posthumous apology and royal pardon in recent years. Turing was "a giant on whose shoulders so many now stand," Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said. The U.K. already has redesigned its 10- and 20-pound notes, which feature the images of author Jane Austen and artist J.M.W. Turner, respectively. [The Associated Press]