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Business News Roundup, April 5, 2021

An infrastructure counterproposal, new CDC travel guidance, pent-up savings, free flow in the Suez, reports on personal guarantees and minority business owners, and a public health option debate in Connecticut are among the top business news items this morning.


Senator Roy Blunt has has countered President Joe Biden’s $2.2 trillion infrastructure proposal with a pitch to limit upgrades to physical infrastructure, saying this would slash the price to about $615 billion. Republicans have criticized Biden’s bill as being too far-ranging in scope and voiced opposition to including tax hikes to fund infrastructure improvements, saying it could harm the economic recovery.

The Centers for Disease Control has advised that individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely travel domestically or abroad. The CDC said that while avoiding travel is still the best option, the efficacy of the vaccines has supported looser restrictions; the agency advised that people should continue to follow basic safety precautions such as wearing a mask.

Business trends

Economists are banking on swollen savings accounts to provide a major boost to economic activity this year, as Americans reigned in spending during the COVID-19 pandemic and have benefited from economic stimulus bills. A New York Times poll finds that 70 percent of Americans plan to spend more money in at least one area, including 35 percent who expect to increase spending on travel.

A Wall Street Journal report explores how many struggling small business owners have been relying on personal guarantees to support their company. These funds can be acquired from areas such as home equity or diverted retirement savings, posing a greater personal risk in the event of the business’s failure.

A backlog of ships at the Suez Canal has officially been cleared after more than 400 were unable to pass when a massive container vessel got stuck in the waterway. Canal officials announced that the traffic jam was cleared on Saturday, with new ships entering the canal without delay.

A New York Times report looks at the difficulties faced by minority-owned businesses in acquiring Paycheck Protection Loans and other federal assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. The article says these businesses often lacked the connections to secure financing or did not qualify under program rules.


Connecticut Republicans and business groups are voicing opposition to a proposed $50 million annual tax to fund subsidies for a public health option, saying it will drive up the costs of doing business in the state. Democrats have countered that their proposal expands health care access and is crafted in a way to avoid taxing small businesses.

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