Happy Thursday and welcome to On The Money, your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.
Today’s Big Deal: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) says Democrats will need to go back to square one to strike a deal on a major social services and climate package. We’ll also look at a second life for a proposed congressional stock trading ban, another rise in jobless claims and a ton of people calling out sick.
But first, find out about the new “inclusive” M&M’s.
Let’s get to it.
Manchin: Spending plan talks ‘starting from scratch’
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Thursday that talks over President Biden’s sweeping climate and social spending package would be “starting from scratch,” throwing cold water on hopes of a quick revival.
“We’re going to start with a clean sheet of paper and start over,” Manchin told reporters, adding he doesn’t have talks scheduled with the White House.
Pressed if his previous $1.8 trillion offer to the White House was still on the table, Manchin indicated it wasn’t, saying Democrats will “just be starting from scratch.”
The context: Manchin’s comments come as the White House and top Democrats get ready to try to turn their focus back to the Build Back Better Act.
- Manchin initially told reporters on Wednesday that he hadn’t yet heard from the White House on trying to break up the package and said Thursday that he didn’t have anything scheduled with the White House.
- Biden opened the door to shrinking the plan, which was at the heart of his legislative agenda, telling reporters this week that “we’re going to have to probably break it up.”
- And top congressional Democrats have acknowledged that the spending plan will likely need to be scaled back to win over support from Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), even as progressives bristle at the idea of going smaller.
Jordain Carney has the latest here.
STOCK TRADING SHIFT?
Pelosi says she’s open to stock trading ban for Congress
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday appeared to suggest she is open to a ban on stock trading by members of Congress, a shift from her previous stance that members and their families should be allowed to make such financial transactions.
Asked about the hotly contested issue during her weekly press conference, Pelosi said she trusts lawmakers but would be willing to back a ban if it had the support of her caucus.
“I have great confidence in the integrity of my members. They are remarkable. So when people talk about well, somebody might do this and somebody, I trust our members,” she said.
- Pelosi’s comments come after several lawmakers in both parties unveiled proposals to prevent lawmakers from trading or holding certain stocks.
- Pelosi previously expressed opposition to a ban, stating last month that lawmakers have the right to participate in the “free-market economy.”
- Since then, multiple polls have shown that most Americans want to bar members of Congress from trading stocks.
Pelosi on Thursday also suggested that the Supreme Court should be held to the same standards when it comes to stock trading.
“So, I say when we go forward with anything, let’s take the Supreme Court with us to have disclosure,” she added.
The Hill’s Mychael Schnell has more here.
Weekly jobless claims rise to 286K amid omicron surge
New applications for jobless benefits rose sharply last week amid surging cases of COVID-19, according to data released Thursday by the Labor Department.
In the week ending Jan. 15, seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance rose to 286,000, a gain of 55,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 231,000. The four-week moving average of new claims also rose to 231,000 after several weeks of rising applications.
- The steep rise in claims raises concerns about the economic impact of the omicron variant, which has weighed on the economy through much of the winter. Economists say persistent staffing troubles, declines in face-to-face consumer activity and school closures could wipe out much of the quarter’s growth and job gains.
- Claims had already been rising ahead of last week as a resilient labor market finally buckled beneath the omicron surge. Weekly claims had lingered below pre-pandemic levels and hit a nearly 60-year low before the new variant appeared to spur a spike in layoffs.
Sylvan has more here.
Record 8.8 million Americans out sick because of COVID-19
A record of almost 9 million Americans are out sick due to the current surge of novel coronavirus cases in the country, representing about 6 percent of the U.S. workforce, according to data collected by the Census Bureau.
- Between Dec. 29 and Jan. 10, 8.8 million people told the Bureau they were not working due to COVID-19 diagnosis or were taking care of someone with an illness.
- Another 3.2 million people told the Bureau they weren’t working due to concerns of the virus spreading and getting infected from it, up 25 percent from December.
The new figures are the highest since Census began doing the survey around the start of the pandemic, topping last January’s peak of 6.6 million workers out, according to The Washington Post.
The Hill’s Olafimihan Oshin has more here.
Good to Know
Most of the top lobbying firms raked in record revenue last year as K Street worked overtime to influence President Biden’s ambitious agenda, according to new lobbying figures shared with The Hill.
Lobbying spending had already reached record highs in 2020 after Congress authorized trillions of dollars in new spending to fight the pandemic. But Democrats’ takeover of Congress and the White House helped further propel the influence industry to new heights.
Here’s what else we have our eye on:
- A Senate panel advanced a bill Thursday aimed at blocking the biggest technology platforms from giving preferential treatment to their own products, a proposal that has deeply divided the industry.
- An estimated 78 percent of the U.S. commercial fleet has been cleared to do low-visibility landings at airports with 5G wireless service, the Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday.
- Amazon announced that it is planning on opening an in-person clothing store called “Amazon Style” in a mall in Glendale, Calif. later this year.
That’s it for today. Thanks for reading and check out The Hill’s Finance page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.