The White House briefed lawmakers on a $2T dollar infrastructure plan yesterday, ahead of President Biden’s announcement of the proposal at a speech in Pittsburgh this afternoon.
Biden is also expected to propose a plan to pay for the package, largely financed by corporate tax hikes.
The infrastructure proposal is part of Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan, which includes a second piece of legislation focused on child care, healthcare, and education. The combined total cost of both bills is estimated to be between $3T and $4T over the next decade.
🤿 A deeper dive…
White House officials said the plan would allocate $2T in federal funding over the next eight years towards roads, bridges, EVs, and public transit.
The bill will also include funding for upgrading the electrical grid, improving water systems, expanding access to broadband internet, and research on semiconductors, among other measures.
The legislation will reportedly be funded by raising the corporate tax rate to 28% (from the current level of 21%) and creating a global tax on corporate earnings.
⏭️ What’s Next?
Though the White House is emphasizing the proposal’s urgency, it also says the measure will not be considered ‘emergency legislation’ like this month’s $1.9T COVID-19 relief bill.
Biden is expected to introduce the second part of his “Build Back Better” plan later next month, which will reportedly include universal pre-kindergarten and tuition-free community college, among other things.
It’s Not Infrastructure; It’s Reimagining the U.S. Economy
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🇨🇳📝 China’s Hong Kong Amendment
China’s top lawmaking body passed an amendment to Hong Kong’s constitution that expands the country’s legislature to 90 seats but reduces the number of directly elected seats to 20 (from 35). The law also requires potential candidates to be vetted by a new committee.
In the current 70-member legislature, Hong Kong voters elect half the members while the other half are chosen by constituencies representing various professions and interest groups.
The new 90-member body will have 20 elected members, 30 chosen by the constituencies, and 40 selected by the pro-Beijing Election Committee that also appoints the city’s leader.
More: Local national-security officials will also gain effective veto power over candidates, allowing opposition candidates to be barred from office.
Three separate wildfires in the Black Hills of South Dakota shut down Mount Rushmore yesterday and forced the evacuation of more than 400 homes.
Hundreds of firefighters battled the blazes amidst high winds, with gusts ranging from 50 MPH to 72 MPH. No injuries have been reported, though multiple fires are still burning in the state (as of late Tuesday night).
🧠 In the Know…
🏛️ The NYT ($) reported yesterday that the DOJ is investigating Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) over whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old.
Baron App Inc., the startup behind Cameo, announced a $100M funding round valuing the company at $1B.
Cameo is an app that lets fans pay for personalized video messages from their favorite celebrities. It brought in roughly $100M in video transactions last year – a more than fourfold increase from 2019 – and features more than 40k celebrities.
More: Cameo’s top earner for 2020 was Brian Baumgartner – Kevin Malone on “The Office” – who raked in more than $1M, followed by Brett Favre and Snoop Dogg.
🚫 FTC Attempts Vertical Veto
The FTC filed a lawsuit yesterday seeking to block biotech company Illumina’s planned $7.1B acquisition of Grail – a company developing a multi-cancer early detection blood test.
Most acquisition lawsuits filed by the FTC challenge so-called ‘horizontal mergers,’ which involve the combination of direct rivals.
This legal challenge has added significance because the proposed acquisition is a ‘vertical merger,’ meaning the two companies don’t compete head-to-head.
The agency is arguing the deal would diminish innovation in the U.S. market for multi-cancer early detection blood tests since other developers have no choice but to use instruments produced by Illumina to run these tests.
More: There has only been one litigated challenge to a vertical merger in the past 40 years: the DOJ’s 2017 case against AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner, which the government lost.
🧠 In the Know…
🏈 The NFLofficially approved an expansion of the regular season schedule to 17 games starting this year. The league will also reduce its preseason from four to three games.
🎙️ Spotifyacquired Betty Labs – the creator of sports-focused live audio social app Locker Room – in a deal reportedly worth $50M.
💰 PayPal will begin allowing U.S. consumers to check out with bitcoin, ether, bitcoin cash, or litecoin.
☝️ 1 Last Thing…
A Volkswagen spokespersonconfirmed the car manufacturer will not be rebranding its U.S. operations to “Voltswagen of America,” saying the move was intended as an early April Fool’s prank.
🖌👨🏽🎨The Journey of Humanity
“I wanted to create something poignant… Something that could potentially make a really big difference.”
British abstract artist Sacha Jafri used all his extra time in lockdown to his advantage, transforming a hotel ballroom into his most ambitious project yet.
The Journey of Humanity was purchased last week for a mind-blowing $62 million. The buyer? Dubai-based businessman Andre Abdoune, who remarked that the “investment and love” Sacha put into the painting was “so amazing.”
All proceeds from the purchase will go towards helping children affected by the pandemic.
🐇 Handstanding Out… a study conducted by molecular geneticists in Sweden found a gene defect may be the reason a breed of domesticated rabbits, called sauteur d’Alfort, perform handstands instead of hopping. (Check it out.)
📦 Anti-Social… tweets sent by Amazon’s public relations account last week were abrasive enough that an internal security engineer – worrying the account had been hacked – filed a report labeling the posts as “suspicious.” (The tweets were indeed authentic).
🔎 Haven’t A Clue
Which of the following is NOT a character from the board game Clue?
A) Professor Plum B) Scarlet White C) Mr. Green D) Colonel Mustard
(keep scrolling for the answer)
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