News Roundups

Skinny COVID bill, new Fed strategy, and more

Daily stimulus and recovery news headlines from August 26, 2020.

GOP set to propose smaller coronavirus stimulus bill

Republicans are working on a more narrow coronavirus stimulus bill that they could release to members of Congress as soon as this week, two senior administration officials and three people briefed on the matter told CNBC.

The GOP is mulling a roughly $500 billion proposal that addresses only areas of bipartisan support: expanded unemployment insurance, a new authorization of small business loans, and money for schools and Covid-19 testing, treatment and vaccines. The plan would not include another direct payment to Americans.

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Fed adopts average inflation target, elevates focus on jobs

The Federal Reserve on Thursday rolled out an aggressive new strategy to restore the United States to full employment and lift inflation back to healthier levels in a world where weak inflation, low interest rates, and slow growth appear here to stay.

Under the new approach, laid out in a fresh statement on the Fed’s longer-run goals and monetary policy strategy approved by all 17 of its policymakers, the U.S. central bank will seek to achieve inflation averaging 2% over time, offsetting below-2% periods with higher inflation “for some time.”

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Lawmakers urge feds to jump-start offshore wind development

Members of Congress from New York on Wednesday called on the federal government to expedite long-overdue plans to designate and auction off areas in the South Shore waters of Long Island for wind development “as soon as possible.”

The bipartisan delegation of 13 said U.S. Bureau of Energy Management had begun early work toward identifying areas in a body of water known as the New York Bight in 2018 and expected the bureau to finalize more areas in early 2019 and conduct lease auctions early this year.

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Oil Market’s Wild Swings Subdued by Options Trading

When Laura and Marco barreled toward Louisiana and Texas this week, companies closed more than four-fifths of offshore oil production in the Gulf of Mexico to protect equipment and personnel. Crude-oil prices barely budged.

The insouciance was symptomatic of an exceptionally subdued summer in the market.

After convulsing this winter and spring, prices have crept slowly higher over the past two months. Futures for Brent crude, the benchmark in international energy markets, failed to move $1 a barrel in either direction for seven weeks in a row, the longest such streak since 2002.

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