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Business News Roundup, March 8, 2021

The Senate has advanced a major economic stimulus bill, although a separate effort to raise the minimum wage as part of the package faltered. As one forecast predicts that the U.S. will lead economic growth this year, the nation has suspended some tariffs with the European Union. A key congressional figure is calling for tax incentives to be directed solely at green initiatives as part of an anticipated infrastructure overhaul. And Connecticut banks saw a significant decline in profits in 2020, although there were signs of improvement as the year closed.


The Senate has passed a revised version of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan pitched by President Joe Biden in a 50-49 decision along party lines, and the measure now returns to the House for a final vote. Changes to the final version included a reduction of supplemental unemployment from $400 a week to $300 and tighter income eligibility for recipients of stimulus checks.

An effort to have the American Rescue Plan include an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, led by Senator Bernie Sanders, failed as eight Democratic senators joined Republicans in turning down the proposal. The Senate parliamentarian previously decided that the minimum wage hike originally proposed as part of the legislation could not be included.

The United States and European Union have agreed to suspend tariffs related to an Airbus-Boeing dispute for the next four months. The tariff suspension also applies to a variety of other products.

Business trends

An Oxford Economics forecast anticipates that the United States will lead post-COVID economic recovery, with the nation expected to surpass China in economic contributions for the first time since 2005. The forecast anticipates an approximately 6 percent boost in the world economy, with the U.S. economy expected to grow by 7 percent.

In looking ahead to President Biden’s planned infrastructure proposal, Senator Ron Wyden, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, is asking that tax breaks for the energy industry be limited to green initiatives. Wyden is seeking to limit tax breaks to clean energy, clean transportation fuel, and energy efficiency.


Connecticut banks experienced a major contraction in annual profits in 2020, according to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Thirty-four state banks had a net decline of 22.1 percent in income, although this was less severe than the national average and banks also saw fourth quarter gains.

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