AP Business SummaryBrief at 12:45 p.m. EDT

Dems seem headed for climate, health win after ups and downs

WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s been more than a year in the making and has seen plenty of ups and downs. Now, a Democratic economic package focused on climate and health care faces hurdles but seems headed toward party-line passage by Congress next month. Approval would let President Joe Biden and his party claim a triumph on top priorities as November’s elections approach. They haven’t...

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Dems seem headed for climate, health win after ups and downs

WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s been more than a year in the making and has seen plenty of ups and downs. Now, a Democratic economic package focused on climate and health care faces hurdles but seems headed toward party-line passage by Congress next month. Approval would let President Joe Biden and his party claim a triumph on top priorities as November’s elections approach. They haven’t forgotten they came close to approving a far grander version of the bill last year, only to see Sen. Joe Manchin, one of their most conservative and contrarian members, torpedo it at the eleventh hour. The current compromise is more modest than earlier versions but still checks boxes on issues that make Democrats giddy.

Biden nominates utility’s ex-board chair to rejoin panel

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — President Joe Biden has nominated the former board chairman of the nation’s largest public utility to rejoin the panel. Huntsville, Alabama attorney Joe Ritch is Biden’s nominee to return to the board of the Tennessee Valley Authority for a term that expires in May 2025. Ritch left the board in 2017 after a Republican-controlled Senate failed the previous year to confirm former President Barack Obama’s reappointment of Ritch and two others. The nine-member board currently has four vacancies, not counting two sitting members who continue to serve after their terms expired in May. Ritch now joins five other Biden board picks awaiting Senate confirmation.

Inflation and wage data suggest US prices will keep climbing

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation surged in June and workers’ average wages accelerated in the spring — signs that Americans won’t likely feel any relief from rising prices anytime soon and that the Federal Reserve will feel compelled to further raise borrowing costs. An inflation gauge closely tracked by the Fed jumped 6.8% in June from a year ago, the biggest such jump in four decades. On a month-to-month basis, too, prices surged 1% in June, the biggest month-over-month rise since 2005. Friday’s figures underscored the persistence of the inflation that is eroding Americans’ purchasing power, dimming their confidence in the economy and threatening Democrats in Congress in the run-up to the November midterm elections.

Sri Lanka leader says IMF agreement pushed back after unrest

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s president says an agreement with the International Monetary Fund to help pull the bankrupt nation out of its economic crisis has been pushed back to September because of unrest over the past weeks. President Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his first speech since he was elected by Parliament on July 20, says even though he as the prime minister had aimed to reach an agreement by early August, it has now been pushed back by a month. He was elected to complete the five-year term of his predecessor Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who fled to Singapore after protesters angry over economic hardships stormed his official residence and occupied several key government buildings. Wickremesinghe says talked on a rescue package had not moved since those incidents.

How to recession-proof your life amid economic uncertainty

NEW YORK (AP) — Prices for gas, food and rent are soaring. The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates to the highest level since 2018. The U.S. economy has shrunk for two straight quarters. Economists are divided over whether a recession is looming. What’s clear is that economic uncertainty isn’t going away anytime soon. But there are steps you can take now to be ready for whatever is ahead. Yiming Ma is an assistant professor at Columbia University. She says it’s not a question of if but when a recession will happen. She says people should prepare but not panic. Making a budget, paying attention to your savings account and buying things second-hand can all help.

Unprecedented profit for major oil drillers as prices soared

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil companies were swimming in record profits the last few months. They were benefiting from high energy costs at a time when Americans struggled to pay for gasoline, food and other basic necessities. Consumers faced high fuel prices not just at the pump, but also baked into delivery costs, which drove up the cost of everything. Exxon and Chevron both reported record profits in the second quarter. When a gallon of gasoline soared above $5 last month, President Joe Biden blamed major oil producers, saying “Exxon made more money than God this year.”

Senate deal should make it easier to buy electric vehicles

DETROIT (AP) — The surprise deal by Senate Democrats on a pared-down bill to support families, boost infrastructure and fight climate change is likely to jump-start sales of electric vehicles. The measure agreed to by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and holdout Sen. Joe Manchin would give EV buyers a $7,500 tax credit starting next year, through the end of 2032. There’s also a new $4,000 credit for those buying used EVs. The vehicles have to be assembled in North America, and there are limits on annual income for buyers. There also are caps on the sticker prices of new EVs and a $25,000 cap on the price that can be paid for used electric vehicles.

Court upholds Taiwan tycoon’s sentence in tainted oil case

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — A court has upheld a nine-year prison term for one of Taiwan’s richest businesspeople on charges of selling tainted cooking oil. Wei Ying-chung, former chairman of Ting Hsin Oil and Fat Industrial Co., will go to prison for a third time in two cases involving adulterated oil following the ruling by Taiwan’s Supreme Court. Wei, 65, was convicted of importing lard in 2014 meant for use in animal feed from Vietnam and selling it to food manufacturers. The latest ruling left Wei with no more opportunities to appeal. Wei, along with his three brothers, ranked No. 7 last year on Forbes magazine’s list of Taiwan’s richest people with a total fortune of $6.4 billion.

Stocks rally again, close out best month since Nov. 2020

Stocks are finishing higher on Wall Street Friday as investors closed out the best month for the S&P 500 since November 2020. New data showed inflation jumped by the most in four decades last month, but sentiment was buoyed by positive earnings news out of technology giants Apple and Amazon, as well as oil giants Exxon and Chevron. The technology-heavy Nasdaq ended July with the biggest gains since April 2020. Stocks have gained momentum this month, fueled by better-than-expected corporate earnings and falling bond yields, which have pulled back after soaring much of this year on expectations of higher interest rates.

Alex Jones’ media company files for bankruptcy amid trial

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ media company Free Speech Systems has filed for bankruptcy, but his attorney says it shouldn’t disrupt the defamation damages trial underway in Texas that seeks to force Jones to pay $150 million or more to the family of one of the children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School attack. The trial in Austin, where Jones lives and Free Speech Systems is based, wrapped up its first week of testimony and is expected to conclude next week. The bankruptcy filing was announced in court late in the day. Courts in Texas and Connecticut have already found Jones liable for defamation for his portrayal of the Sandy Hook massacre as a hoax.

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