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Politics On The Money: Weekly jobless claims fall to 498K, hitting new post-lockdown low | House to advance appropriations bills in June, July

02:20  07 may  2021
02:20  07 may  2021 Source:   thehill.com

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Happy Thursday and welcome back to On The Money. I'm Sylvan Lane, and here's your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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THE BIG DEAL-Weekly jobless claims fall to 498K, hitting new post-lockdown low: Weekly first-time claims for unemployment insurance fell below 500,000 last week for the first time since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, according to data released Thursday by the Labor Department.

  • Initial applications for jobless benefits came in 498,000 in the week ending May 1, a drop of 92,000 from the previous week's revised total of 590,000, which was initially reported at 553,000.
  • Last week's sharp drop pushed weekly jobless claims to their lowest level since March 14, 2020, when millions of Americans were pushed out of work by the emerging pandemic. Weekly jobless claims peaked at 3.3 million in April and stayed within the seven-digit range through much of the year.

I break it down here.

Montana to end expanded jobless benefits in June, offer return-to-work bonuses

  Montana to end expanded jobless benefits in June, offer return-to-work bonuses Montana will stop offering expanded unemployment benefits in July and give bonuses to recipients of jobless aid who come back to work to help tackle labor shortages, Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) announced Tuesday.Gianforte said that Montana will end participation in a range of federal programs created in March 2020 by the CARES Act and extended several times throughout the coronavirus pandemic to support millions of Americans forced out of work by COVID-19, the first state to do so. After June 27, Montana will stop giving recipients of jobless aid the additional $300 per week offered through Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.

The upshot: President Biden and Democratic lawmakers are hoping to turn the momentum of the recovering economy behind their push for trillions in infrastructure and social support spending.

  • Democrats argue that it is essential to make a major investment in jobs and systems for those still struggling to rebound from the pandemic despite the national comeback.
  • Republicans have expressed some interest in a potential bipartisan deal focused exclusively on traditional infrastructure repairs, but have ruled out supporting most of Biden's proposals and all of the tax increases floated to pay for them.

Biden in Louisiana: In search of a deal, Biden on Thursday touted his $2.3 trillion infrastructure package in Louisiana, seeking to highlight the proposal's bipartisan components as negotiations with Congress intensify.

Biden made two stops in the Gulf Coast state to highlight the American Jobs Plan, which would spend billions of dollars upgrading the country's water systems, roads, bridges and ports, while weatherizing buildings and making structures better equipped to handle the effects of climate change.

Weekly jobless claims fall to 498K, hitting new post-lockdown low

  Weekly jobless claims fall to 498K, hitting new post-lockdown low Weekly first-time claims for unemployment insurance fell below 500,000 last week for the first time since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic according to data released Thursday by the Labor Department.Initial applications for jobless benefits came in 498,000 in the week ending May 1, a drop of 98,000 from the previous week's revised total of 590,000, which was initially reported at 553,000.Last week's sharp drop pushed weekly jobless claims to their lowest level since March 14, 2020, when millions of Americans were pushed out of work by the emerging pandemic. Weekly jobless claims peaked at 3.

"We have to build back better in a whole series of ways," Biden said in remarks on the banks of Lake Charles, with the dilapidated I-10 bridge as a backdrop. "It's about building a strong foundation for the American people. So when I think about the threats of hurricanes, and global warming, and the poor condition of our economy as it relates particularly to infrastructure, I think of one thing. I think of jobs." The Hill's Brett Samuels takes us there.

LEADING THE DAY

House to advance appropriations bills in June, July: The House Appropriations Committee and its subcommittees are planning to mark up the 12 spending bills to fund the government for the 2022 fiscal year in June, with floor passage expected in July.

Chamber calls on states to scrap $300 boost to jobless benefits

  Chamber calls on states to scrap $300 boost to jobless benefits The U.S. Chamber of Commerce called Friday for states to stop offering a $300 weekly boost to unemployment insurance payments in the wake of April's below-expectations jobs report.The influential business trade group argued that the additional support for jobless workers is preventing Americans from seeking employment and should be pulled back before it is set to expire in September."The disappointing jobs report makes it clear that paying people not to work is dampening what should be a stronger jobs market," said Chamber Executive Vice President Neil Bradley.

"The subcommittee and full committee markups will be in June, and we will be on the floor in July," Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said Thursday at a Brookings event.

  • President Biden has requested $1.5 trillion in spending for the year, including a 16 percent increase in nondefense spending and a 1.7 percent boost for defense funds.
  • The overall request is 8.4 percent higher than current spending, not including emergency COVID-19 funds.

Biden has yet to roll out a full budget proposal, which would include plans for mandatory programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, as well as a 10-year spending plan. That request is expected in the coming weeks. The Hill's Niv Elis tells us about the road ahead here.

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The roadblocks:

  • While the House is set to move its spending bills along, the Senate is likely to lag. The 60-vote threshold for passing spending bills in the upper chamber means bipartisan agreements will need to be reached on spending levels before appropriations bills can advance.
  • Further complicating things will be the need to address the debt limit. A Thursday estimate from the Bipartisan Policy Center predicted that Congress will need to act by Oct. 1 to avoid a default, which would set off a global financial crisis.

Rural Democrats urge protections from tax increases for family farms: A group of House Democrats who represent rural communities are urging leaders in the chamber to ensure that family farms aren't hurt by legislation based on President Biden's proposed tax increases.

  • The rural-district lawmakers are concerned about Biden's proposal in his American Families Plan to tax capital gains at death.
  • The White House has said that this proposal will include exemptions for family farms and businesses in certain circumstances, and the lawmakers want to make sure that such an exemption is included in legislation.
  • Thirteen lawmakers, led by Reps. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa) and Jim Costa (D-Calif.), signed the letter.

"The repeal of stepped-up basis for capital gains and immediate taxation could especially hurt family farms, some of which have been in families for generations; therefore, we strongly urge you to provide full exemptions for these family farms and small businesses that are critical to our communities," the lawmakers wrote in a letter Thursday to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.). The Hill's Naomi Jagoda has more here.

Racing a cop, ditching the mask, heading to the zoo: News from around our 50 states

  Racing a cop, ditching the mask, heading to the zoo: News from around our 50 states How the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting every stateStart the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.

GOOD TO KNOW

  • Google will allow employees to work in a hybrid model, with most employees working out of their offices half of the week and others working remotely full-time, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said Wednesday.
  • The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) on Thursday launched $3 million in television ads to demand Congress pass the American Jobs Plan.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the final guidance on Wednesday for cruise lines to apply to run test trips with volunteer passengers, signifying a step closer toward normalcy for the industry.
  • Companies like KFC, Wingstop and Buffalo Wild Wings are paying extra for poultry due to the scarce amount available, The Wall Street Journal reported.
  • Rebecca Rockefeller Lambert and Peter Gill Case, two heirs to the Rockefeller family's oil fortune, have pledged a total of $30 million in support of an effort that aims to combat new fossil fuel development.

ODDS AND ENDS

  • Twitter is rolling out a feature for users to send and receive tips, it said Thursday.
  • American Express is putting $40 million into a fund that will provide loans and other resources to underfunded small-business owners in the U.S., with a focus on minority-owned companies.

Racing a cop, ditching the mask, heading to the zoo: News from around our 50 states .
How the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting every stateStart the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.

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