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Business News Roundup, May 17, 2021

A counterproposal deadline for the White House’s infrastructure package, a Mississippi River bridge shutdown further strains supply chains, child tax credits roll out this summer, staff retraining amid labor shortages, a boom in mergers and acquisitions, a slow return to the office in Connecticut, and uncertainty about the enforcement of new Connecticut mask rules are among the top business news items this morning.


The White House is anticipating a counterproposal to its $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan on Tuesday, after President Joe Biden signaled that he is willing to break the package into separate bills, narrow its scope, and seek compromise on how to fund it. Republicans recently floated a $568 billion plan for traditional infrastructure improvements, although Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday that the GOP could be willing to go as high as $800 billion.

The closure of a Memphis bridge is highlighting the nation’s infrastructure issues and further adding to supply chain disruptions facing businesses. The Hernando de Soto Bridge has been closed to vehicle traffic and ships have been prohibited from sailing under the bridge after a cracked beam was discovered.

The Treasury Department says child tax credits approved under the American Rescue Plan will be distributed starting on July 15. The credits, which will provide up to $300 a month for each child under the age of six and up to $250 per month for children between the ages of six and 17, are available to families earning $150,000 or less.

Business trends

Some companies are addressing a shortage in workers by retraining their existing staff to meet new needs. The Wall Street Journal profiles how retailers have launched programs to train workers in statistics, coding, and other necessary skills as e-commerce grows.

Older entrepreneurs have been more bullish on mergers and acquisitions during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to multiple reports. Brokers have suggested that Paycheck Protection Program loans, other government aid, and low interest rates have all made for ideal conditions to pursue such business transactions.


Several Connecticut businesses are not rushing to bring their employees back to the office after Governor Ned Lamont’s announcement that an indoor mask mandate will be lifted for vaccinated individuals on Wednesday. Companies are deferring a return for a variety of reasons, including updating their office environment or working out a hybrid work strategy.

Connecticut businesses are expressing concerns about the new state guidance, saying it is unclear how they can permit vaccinated individuals to go without a mask while ensuring that unvaccinated individuals continue to wear them. Business groups are consulting with state officials to see how the rule might be modified and what responsibilities will fall to them.

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