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Business News Roundup, March 23, 2021

A multi-trillion dollar proposal in the works, concerns about COVID-19 variants and recent vaccine trial results, a call to end travel restrictions, a new Labor Secretary, a State Pier hearing, and a rejected insurance company takeover are among the top business news items this morning.


On the heels of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, the Biden administration is preparing a pair of proposals totaling $3 trillion to improve infrastructure, education, workforce development, and climate initiatives. The packages would be funded through tax increases on large corporations and wealthy residents.

The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has issued a statement expressing concern that AstraZeneca may have used outdated data for COVID-19 vaccine trials that yielded a 79 percent efficacy rate. AstraZeneca is seeking emergency authorization for the vaccine to be distributed in the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control says a recent rise of COVID-19 cases in the Northeast and Midwest should serve as a warning that continued precautions are needed. The CDC says more transmissible COVID-19 variants continue to pose a threat as several states in these regions begin to relax their business restrictions.

Marty Walsh has been confirmed as Labor Secretary in a 68-29 vote. Walsh, who had been serving as the mayor of Boston, will oversee matters such as workplace conditions and labor rights; he is the 21st Cabinet-level official to be confirmed by the Senate.

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More than two dozen tourism groups, including airlines, are pushing the White House to relax pandemic travel restrictions. Among other things, the groups are asking for relaxed requirements for individuals who have been vaccinated.


The board of directors at The Hartford, a major Connecticut-based insurer, has unanimously rejected a $23.24 billion takeover offer by Chubb, a rival insurer with North American headquarters in New Jersey. The Hartford said the acquisition would not be in the best interests of the company or its shareholders.

A virtual public hearing will take place at 2:30 p.m. today on a permit application related to a State Pier redevelopment plan. The permit would allow a space between two piers to be filled in to create one large pier, which would support efforts to make the site a hub for offshore wind development.

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