Initial approval of a major social policy and environmental bill, this legislation’s impact on the deficit, support for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, consumer plans to respond to inflation, a strategy shift from a major pharmacy chain, and a groundbreaking for the first commercial scale offshore wind farm in the United States are among the top business news items this morning.
The House of Representatives has narrowly passed a social policy and environmental bill making $2 trillion in investments over the next decade, approving the measure in a 220-213 vote. The bill now faces a vote in the evenly divided Senate, and will be returned to the House if modifications are made.
The Congressional Budget Office has released its score on this bill, saying it would add $367 billion to the deficit over the next decade. This figure is reduced to $250 billion when factoring in revenue from stronger tax enforcement.
U.S. regulators are agreeing that booster shots of the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines should be available to all adults, an expansion from their current availability to groups such as older Americans and those working in higher risk environments. The Centers for Disease Control must give final approval to this recommendation.
Nearly nine out of 10 Americans are worried about inflation, according to a poll from Country Financial. Nearly half said they plan to reduce their spending on restaurants and takeout as a result, with significant shares also curtailing plans to upgrade personal technology devices or buy new clothing.
CVS is making a significant change to its retail strategy, closing nearly one in 10 of its stores and remodeling several locations to include more health services such as primary care. The pharmacy chain says the change is due to a shift in consumer buying patterns but also offered a harsh assessment of its brick-and-mortar strategy, saying overlapping locations and the poor quality of many stores was deterring people from visiting.
Ground has been broken on the first commercial offshore wind farm in the United States, as work gets underway on the Vineyard Wind 1 project. The installation will have the capacity of generating 800 megawatts of electricity each year.