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Business News Roundup, March 1, 2021

The House of Representatives has approved a massive economic stimulus bill, and the Biden administration is prepping for its next economic initiative of improving U.S. infrastructure. A proposed minimum wage hike to $15 an hour is unlikely to be included as part of the legislation, although businesses have been showing support for more modest pay rate increases.

The FDA has approved a third COVID-19 vaccine, and Connecticut is preparing for increased vaccination demand as the state’s first age-based eligibility tier opens. Connecticut retailers discuss their pandemic-related struggles, and “computer vision” could lead to profitable enterprises in the near future.


The House of Representatives has narrowly passed a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus proposal proposed by the Biden administration. In a 219-212 vote, the chamber approved the American Rescue Plan, which includes measures such as stimulus checks, extended unemployment, and a variety of small business support measures; it also proposes raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, although the Senate parliamentarian has ruled that this item cannot be passed by a simple majority.

The Food and Drug Administration has authorized a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for use. This vaccine has been hailed as an option that can be more easily administered than the vaccines already available from Pfizer and Moderna, since it requires a single shot and can be stored in a standard refrigerator.

The Biden administration is looking ahead to its next major economic initiative of improving infrastructure in the United States. During his campaign, Biden pledged to spend $2 trillion on improving the nation’s roads, bridges, and other infrastructure, as well as clean energy improvements.

Business trends

Businesses have shown support for raising the federal minimum wage, with several large companies hiking their own pay, although the proposal has also raised concerns among smaller businesses that cannot raise their salaries as easily. Some lawmakers have pitched an alternative proposal of increasing the federal minimum wage to $10 an hour with policy changes designed to encourage companies to voluntarily raise pay rates.

Forbes is predicting that startups in the “computer vision” will begin to see massive commercial success as the technology finds more widespread use. Computer vision uses artificial intelligence to replicate human sight, and is finding applications in areas such as autonomous vehicles, agriculture, retail, security, and more.


Connecticut is preparing for increased demand for COVID-19 vaccination appointments as residents ages 55 and older, along with primary and secondary school educators and child care providers, become eligible today. The state has more than half a million people that meet the age requirement as well as 160,000 qualifying educators.

Senator Richard Blumenthal spoke with Connecticut retailers about the struggles the industry has encountered during the pandemic. The Connecticut Retail Merchants Association arranged the meeting.

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