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Business Highlights: Budget Clash, FDA, Pfizer

Business Highlights: Budget Clash, FDA, Pfizer

With their partys most powerful leaders arrayed against them, nine moderate Democrats are tapping the brakes on President Joe Bidens multitrilliondollar domestic program. A Monday evening test vote will set up this weeks interparty showdown. Top Democrats want the House to quickly approve a budget resolution setting up future passage of legislation directing $3.5 trillion at safety net and environment programs. But the moderates are threatening to oppose the budget unless the House first approves a $1 trillion infrastructure package. And they have enough votes to block its approval in the narrowly divided chamber.

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Senators question FDA on work with opioid maker consultant
Several U.S. senators are questioning the Food and Drug Administrations work with a consulting firm that helped businesses sell prescription painkillers during the nations overdose crisis. Democrat Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa, among others, have asked the FDA about potential conflicts of interest from its work with McKinsey & Company. A letter from the senators notes that the FDA paid McKinsey more than $140 million after hiring it several times starting in 2008. The consultant also worked with opioid painkiller makers like Purdue Pharma while serving the government
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Budget clash pits moderate Democrats against Biden, Pelosi
WASHINGTON: With their partys most powerful leaders arrayed against them, nine moderate Democrats are tapping the brakes on President Joe Bidens multitrillion-dollar domestic program. A Monday evening test vote will set up this weeks inter-party showdown. Top Democrats want the House to quickly approve a budget resolution setting up future passage of legislation directing $3.5 trillion at safety net and environment programs. But the moderates are threatening to oppose the budget unless the House first approves a $1 trillion infrastructure package. And they have enough votes to block its approval in the narrowly divided chamber.
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Stocks rise broadly; Pfizer gains after FDA approves vaccine
NEW YORK: Stocks closed higher on Wall Street Monday, allowing the S&P 500 to regain the ground it lost last week and bringing it just shy of another record high. The benchmark index added 0.9%, driven by gains in a broad range of technology, financial and communication stocks. The tech-heavy Nasdaq closed at a record high. Energy stocks rose the most as the price of crude oil climbed 5.3%, recovering some of the ground it lost in recent days. Pfizer rose after the FDA gave full approval to its COVID-19 vaccine. Moderna also rose on hopes its vaccine might get full approval too.
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Pop-up restaurants may stick around as COVID sees resurgence
NEW YORK: Pop-up restaurants, many started as stopgap measures by struggling chefs and owners, may have staying power as consumers continue to embrace takeout and delivery and the delta variant threatens to make dining in less of an option. Cheaper to operate than regular restaurants because they have less overhead and staffing costs, pop-ups let chefs and owners keep working during the pandemic when dining rooms were closed and the economy was teetering. Now, as re-openings across the country are threatened by a rise in COVID-19 cases due to the delta variant, pop-up creators and hosts are asking, What next?
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US regulators give full approval to Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
WASHINGTON: The U.S. has given full approval to the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer. The Food and Drug Administrations decision on Monday may help lift public confidence in vaccinations as the nation battles the most contagious coronavirus mutant yet. The FDA has never before had so much evidence to judge a shots safety. More than 200 million doses already have been administered in the U.S. since emergency use began in December. The decision could push some vaccine holdouts toward getting the shots. And it could spur more vaccine mandates by companies, universities and local governments.
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OxyContin makers lawyer warns of long, expensive litigation
A lawyer for Purdue Pharma says the companys settlement plan is the only way to avoid long and expensive litigation. The lawyer made his case Monday to a bankruptcy judge who is expected to rule this week on whether to accept OxyContin makers reorganization plan. It calls for using the companys future profits and more than $4 billion from members of the Sackler family who own it to abate the opioid crisis and pay individual victims. Members of the Sackler family would also get protection from lawsuits over opioids. Judge Robert Drain said hell also consider the views hes read in letters from people who lost loved ones to opioid overdoses.
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Existing home sales rose in July, inventory ticked higher
Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes rose in July for the second month in a row, though they only increased modestly from a year ago, suggesting the red-hot housing market may be cooling off a little. The National Association of Realtors said Monday that existing homes sales rose 2% last month from June to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.99 million units. Sales rose only 1.5% from July last year. The median U.S. home price climbed 17.8% from a year ago to $359,900. At the end of July, the inventory of unsold homes stood at 1.32 million homes for sale, up 7.3% from the prior month, but down 12% from July last year. At the current sales pace, that amounts to a 2.6-month supply, the NAR said.
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WHO head calls for two-month vaccine booster moratorium
BUDAPEST, Hungary: The head of the World Health Organization has called for a two-month moratorium on administering booster shots of COVID-19 vaccines as a means of reducing global vaccine inequality and preventing the emergence of new coronavirus variants. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Hungarys capital Monday that he was really disappointed with the scope of vaccine donations worldwide. He called on countries offering third vaccine doses to forward what they would use for booster shots to other countries so they can increase their vaccination coverage. Tedros said that vaccine injustice and vaccine nationalism increase the risk of more contagious variants like the delta variant emerging.
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Bus driver shortages are latest challenge hitting US schools
HELENA, Mont.: A shortage of bus drivers is complicating the start of a new school year already facing a surge in COVID-19 cases and conflicts over whether masks should be required in school buildings. School districts are offering hiring bonuses, training to get commercial drivers licenses and pay increases in an effort to attract more drivers. First Student contracts with school districts across the country to provide bus service, and held test driving events this summer. Its Big Bus, No Big Deal events were an effort to show people that driving a bus is not as difficult as people might think.
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The S&P 500 rose 37.86 points, or 0.9%, to 4,479.53. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 215.63 points, or 0.6%, to 35,335.71. The Nasdaq added 227.99 points, or 1.6%, to 14,942.65. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies advanced 40.70 points, or 1.9%, to 2,208.30.
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first published:August 24, 2021, 02:09 IST