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House delays vote on Biden’s $1.75 trillion bill after hours-long speech

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House delays vote on Biden's $1.75 trillion bill after hours-long speech
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds her weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., October 12, 2021. REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan

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By Richard Cowan, David Morgan and Moira Warburton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The vote on U.S. President Joe Biden’s $1.75 trillion social spending bill has been delayed until Friday in the House of Representatives, after Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy gave an hours-long, circuitous speech.

The vote was originally scheduled for Thursday evening after the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a nonpartisan arbiter, released a cost assessment of the bill, which several moderate Democrats said they needed before they would vote.

But the vote was delayed until 8 a.m. (1300 GMT) on Friday after McCarthy spoke – and often seemed to stray – from a thick binder of prepared remarks for more than four hours, at times shouting over Democrats in the House who were openly dismissive of his obstruction.

Democrats in the House were attempting to advance Biden’s $1.75 trillion domestic investment bill, despite the CBO’s finding that it would add to the deficit.

“I’ve had enough. America has had enough,” McCarthy said in his speech that cataloged a list of Republican grievances, some related to the bill and some not.

The House voted 220-211 to approve the rule for debating the measure, clearing the way for a vote on passage later in the night. No Republicans supported the move.

McCarthy was occasionally interrupted by Democrats.

Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez described it in a video posted on social media as “one of the worst, lowest quality speeches” she had ever seen.

“It is stunning to me how long a person can talk (while) communicating so little,” she said.

Earlier, the CBO said the legislation would increase federal budget deficits by $367 billion over 10 years, although it acknowledged that additional revenues could be generated through improved Internal Revenue Service tax collections.

The CBO estimated that the new tax enforcement activities would generate a net increase in revenues of $127 billion through 2031. The White House estimates the changes will generate $400 billion in additional revenue and said the bill overall will reduce deficits by $121 billion over a decade.

Several of the moderate Democrats who had wanted to see the CBO “score” before voting said they accepted the White House’s math.

“We put in the work and look what we got — a Build Back Better Act that’s fully paid for, reduces the deficit and helps American families,” said Representative Carolyn Bordeaux. “Now it’s time to pass it.”

Representative Stephanie Murphy said she had reservations about the size of the legislation but there were “too many badly needed investments in this bill not to advance it in the legislative process.”

If passed, the bill would be in addition to the more than $1 trillion infrastructure investment legislation that Biden signed into law this week.

The new bill provides free preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds, boosts coverage of home-care costs for the elderly and disabled, significantly lowers the cost of some prescription drugs such insulin, expands affordable housing programs and increases grants for college students.

The two measures comprise the twin pillars of Biden’s domestic agenda and would be on top of the $1.9 trillion in emergency coronavirus pandemic aid that Biden and his fellow Democrats pushed through Congress in March over a wall of opposition from Republicans.

Democrat House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer called the bill “transformational,” adding that its success “will be measured in the deep sense of hope that Americans will have when they see their economy working for them instead of holding them back.”

Republicans have vowed to withhold their support, leaving Democrats to employ a special “budget reconciliation” procedure that would allow them to ram the legislation through the Senate with a simple majority vote, instead of at least 60 votes in the 100-member chamber normally needed to advance measures.

Republican Representative Guy Reschenthaler said the bill will worsen inflation and hand tax breaks to the wealthy. He labeled it “the Democrats’ big government socialist spending spree.”

In addition to funding expanded social programs, the bill provides $550 billion to battle climate change.

If it passes the Democratic-controlled House, it would go to the Senate for consideration, where two centrist Democratic members have threatened to hold it up. Senators are expected to amend the House bill. If so, it would have to be sent back to the House for final passage, possibly around the end of December.

Democrats have a 221-213 majority in the House and can only afford to lose three Democratic votes on the bill since no Republicans are expected to vote for it. One Democrat said on Thursday evening he intended to vote against it, due to tax breaks that would favor rich Americans.

Economy

Large US companies by market cap begin to think more about cutting investments and staff – survey

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biggest us companies by market cap

The chief executive officers (CEOs) of the largest US companies by market cap are revising downward their plans for hiring and investment amid a worsening outlook for the US economy, a quarterly Business Roundtable (BRT) survey showed.

That’s because of high inflation and rising costs, said the association, which includes dozens of major U.S. corporations. The S&P 500 and U.S. 100 indices are also declining amid the developments.

The index, which gauges the economic outlook, fell 11 points this quarter, to 73 points. The indicator is still above the 50-point mark, indicating that the economy is growing. However, it fell below the long-term average of 84 points for the first time since the third quarter of 2020.

The index of planned investments fell 7 points to 68 points and expected sales fell 8 points to 91 points, according to the BRT report.

What will the biggest U.S. companies do by market cap?

About 39% of CEOs plan to increase the number of employees at their companies in the next six months, while 28% of respondents intend to downsize. Last quarter, those numbers were 47% and 19%, respectively.

Nearly half (49%) said that labor costs are a major expense at their company. Twenty-one percent of CEOs plan to reduce capex in the next six months and 40% plan to increase it. In the third quarter these proportions were 18% and 43%, respectively.

U.S. CEOs on average forecast that U.S. GDP will increase by 1.2% in 2023. 142 CEOs participated in the BRT survey, which ran from October 31 to November 28.

Earlier, we reported that Saxo Bank presented “shocking predictions” for the next year.

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Economy

Saxo Bank predictions 2023: Saxo Bank presents “shocking predictions” for the next year

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Analysis Saxo Bank

Saxo Bank predictions 2023: The Danish Bank has published ten “shocking predictions” for 2023. They concern a series of unlikely and underestimated events because of which, however, “the world markets can be covered with a powerful shock wave”..

Saxo Bank analysis – what’s going to happen next year?

Against the backdrop of rising energy prices, leading U.S. technology companies and “billionaire technophiles” will create a multi-billion dollar project aimed at exploring new opportunities in the energy sector, the bank predicts. According to the bank, this project will be comparable to the “Manhattan Project” to study atomic energy and the creation of the nuclear bomb, and investments in the new project will be about $1 trillion.

Inflationary pressures and geopolitical instability will continue to affect not only the global economy but also the financial markets, says the Danish bank. Against this background, states will take a more conservative policy, reducing investments in more complex financial instruments, and investing in traditional assets such as gold. And traders at the same time are considering Gold Futures.

Increased demand for gold in 2023 will, according to Saxo Bank, cause its price to rise from the current $1,800 to $3,000 per ounce.

Earlier, we reported that Apple has postponed the release date of an unmanned electric car for a year.

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Apple postponed the release date of Apple’s electric car by a year

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Apple's electric car

U.S. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has pushed back the release date of Apple’s unmanned electric car by a year to 2026 and somewhat tempered its ambitions about the extent of its self-driving capability, Bloomberg reported, citing sources.

Earlier, Apple announced electric cars. According to the sources, the Titan project has been in limbo for the past few months because top executives at Apple have concluded that their vision of a fully self-driving car with no steering wheel and no pedals can’t be realized with existing technology. The APPLE Price Chart showed a slight decline amid this news. 

In this regard, the company has decided to adjust the project and now plans to create a less autonomous car, with a steering wheel and pedals, with the possibility of fully unmanned driving on highways, sources said.

The driver of the car is expected to be able to do his or her own thing while driving on the highway, such as watching a movie or playing a game, and will receive advance notifications to switch to manual control when approaching city streets or deteriorating weather conditions.

Apple shares fell 2.5 percent in trading Tuesday. Since the beginning of this year, their value has fallen by 19.5%.

We previously reported on World Economic News now through the morning of Dec. 6.

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