A Barrett court would continue Trump’s deregulatory agenda long after he’s left the White House, experts say

Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court has brought the public’s attention to divisive social issues like abortion rights, but replacing the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with a more conservative figure could have an equally important effect on business regulation and the U.S. economy.

a person wearing a suit and tie: Amy Coney Barrett.

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Amy Coney Barrett.

“Barrett is likely to be a pro-business justice, to restrict the ability of government to adopt some economic regulations, and would likely vote to expand the constitutional rights of business,” said Adam Winkler, constitutional law professor at UCLA and author of the book “We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights.”


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That could be good news for stock-market investors, as analysts have long pointed to the Trump Administration’s efforts to roll back Obama-era regulations and slow the implementation of new rules as a major driver of recent stock-market gains. Since President Trump’s election in November of 2016, the S&P 500 index (SPX) has returned 60.4%, according to FactSet. But it is a potentially troubling proposition for workers-rights advocates and environmentalists who have increasingly relied on agency regulation to achieve their policy goals.

One contentious issue being litigated in federal courts is Environmental Protection Agency regulations that limit electric power plants’ ability to emit greenhouse gases. President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency argued that the 1972 Clean Air Act requires it to issue such regulations, resulting in the 2016 Clean Power Plan. The Trump Administration subsequently rolled back those regulations, instituting a more business friendly Affordable Clean Energy rule.

But some conservative lawmakers, legal thinkers and activists argue that the Supreme Court should go further and strike down the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases whatsoever. Jonathan Wood, attorney at the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation, told MarketWatch that many federal judges have questioned, on constitutional grounds, the ability of federal regulators to use old laws to make new regulations on issues that weren’t on the minds of Congress when those laws were passed, and a more conservative court could potentially make this view the law of the land.

“The idea that the Clean Air act in 1972 answered the question of how to address greenhouse gas emissions is sort of laughable,” he said. “But because courts have been so willing to defer to agency interpretations of statutes, they’ve gotten away with stretching statutes and trying to create policy without having to go back to Congress and say, ‘Oh, we’ve run into a new challenge, we need you to write new legislation to deal with it.’ ”

Of central importance to this debate is the doctrine of Chevron deference, which the Supreme Court established in 1984, and which requires judges to defer to agency interpretation of statutes as long as that interpretation is reasonable. Conservatives have long railed against this principle as one that has led to the growth of the administrative state.

“[Chevron (CVX) deference] has become a direct threat to the rule of law and the moral underpinnings of America’s constitutional order,” wrote Sen.

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Bipartisan talks continue as House Democrats pass $2.2 trillion coronavirus measure

The House on Thursday night passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill, but it has little chance of advancing in the GOP-led Senate, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is still trying to work out a deal with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that is acceptable to Democrats and Senate Republicans.

The measure is a scaled-back version of the $3.4 trillion relief package passed by the House in May. No Republicans voted for it, and 20 Democrats, mostly from swing districts, also voted against it. Pelosi is facing pressure from some Democrats to reach a quick compromise with Mnuchin, who is offering a $1.6 trillion bill, but she said on the floor before Thursday’s vote that this is a “values debate. It’s important for people to know what this fight is about. The people have needs, and we have to meet them.”

When it comes to offering relief, Democrats are pushing for more aid to go to state and local governments, while the GOP wants liability protections for schools and businesses, Politico reports. Pelosi told reporters on Thursday night she is still reviewing the latest documents from Mnuchin, and “even if we come to some agreement, nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to — it’s the language.”

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House passes Democratic pandemic relief measure as bipartisan talks continue

WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives passed a $2.2 trillion Covid-19 relief bill Thursday night as negotiations between the administration and Democrats have failed to yield a bipartisan deal and the time to pass new relief measures ahead of November’s election ticks away.

The measure passed 214-207. No Republicans supported it and 18 Democrats voted against it. Nearly all of the Democrats who voted against the bill are locked in close re-election races.

“Today’s package is another partisan exercise that will never become law,” Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., said in a statement about why she voted against it. “My focus remains on working with Democrats and Republicans to get relief to my district immediately, and partisan gamesmanship will not do it.”

The legislation, known as Heroes 2.0, is a scaled down version from the Heroes Act, which the House passed in May.

The vote occurred as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin continue to discuss a bipartisan agreement.

Late Thursday, Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol that she spoke to Mnuchin multiple times Thursday but that there was no deal yet.

Asked if one was possible, she said, “I don’t know. It just depends.”

She said that the details matter just as much as how many dollars are being spent, which is an indication that they could be further along in negotiations than they are letting on.

“Even if we came to some agreement, nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to. It’s the language,” she said.

According to two sources briefed on the negotiations earlier Thursday, Mnuchin has offered Pelosi a total spending level of $1.62 trillion, up from the $1.5 trillion he had previously suggested.

Inching closer to Pelosi’s demands, Mnuchin agreed to $250 billion more spending for state and local efforts — something President Donald Trump has previously objected to — as well as $150 billion more for the nation’s schools, $75 billion more for testing and tracing efforts, $60 billion for rent and mortgage assistance and $15 billion in food assistance. The details of the offer were first reported by Roll Call.

But on many issues, that offer was still short of what Democrats are demanding.

Mnuchin has also not agreed to re-upping the $600 per week in federal unemployment insurance, offering a level of $400 per week instead, creating a major sticking point for any deal.

“That’s why we not only have a dollars debate,” Pelosi said earlier Thursday, “we have a values debate. Still, I’m optimistic.”

Mnuchin’s proposals are largely similar to those made by the Problem Solvers caucus, a bipartisan congressional group. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., praised the move, saying, “to the extent Secretary Mnuchin has indicated that he will use the Problem Solvers proposal as a basis for any counteroffer actually brings us much closer to an agreement than we’ve ever been.

Even if a deal is reached between Pelosi and Mnuchin, it’s unclear what Senate Republicans would do with a bill or how it would be received

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In economic relief talks, White House and Democrats continue trading proposals, insults

“It’s a good offer but it’s one Nancy Pelosi is not interested in,” McEnany said.

“Nancy Pelosi is not being serious. If she becomes serious then we can have a discussion,” McEnany said.

For her part, Pelosi (D-Calif.) criticized the GOP’s proposals as too stingy, contending that the administration is focused on protecting tax breaks for the wealthy instead of help for families and children in need. House Democrats had initially sought a $3.4 trillion spending package before bring the package down to around $2.2 trillion.

“This isn’t half a loaf, this is the heel of the loaf,” Pelosi said on Bloomberg TV of the White House proposal.

Nevertheless, Pelosi and Mnuchin were set to have another conversation Thursday afternoon, a day after they met in person for 90 minutes at the Capitol on Wednesday. The Wednesday meeting was their first in-person discussion since bipartisan coronavirus relief talks collapsed in early August.

Congress is set to adjourn at the end of this week through the election, but before they do Pelosi and Mnuchin are making one last try at a deal.

They remained far apart and seemed almost to be forecasting failure.

Republicans strongly oppose the bill. Democratic leaders canceled a planned vote on it Wednesday but said they planned to move ahead Thursday.

Many House Democratic moderates have been pushing for a new deal — or at least a new vote — in order to show constituents a good-faith effort to find consensus amid worsening economic conditions. Pelosi resisted these demands for weeks.

Pelosi acknowledged Thursday that many of her members are “very eager” to vote on a new bill, but insisted she is, too, adding: “The joy of being part of a dynamic, not rubber stamp, no lockstep caucus is, is, is — wonderful, I have to say.”

The number of people claiming unemployment rose slightly, to 26.5 million, and Americans’ income dropped in August along with the expiration of emergency federal aid programs. Disney announced 28,000 layoffs earlier this week, and major airline companies have indicated tens of thousands of layoffs are possible in coming days without additional federal help. American Airlines has announced it will move forward furloughing 19,000 workers, citing inaction in Congress.

House Democrats’ new bill includes new $1,200 stimulus checks, a renewal of $600 weekly enhanced unemployment benefits, aid to airlines, small business relief, and money for election security, the postal system, vaccine development and distribution, and more.

There is overlap in what Democrats want and the $1.62 trillion offer Mnuchin made to Pelosi on Wednesday, which included $1,200 checks, $400 weekly unemployment benefits, and $75 billion for coronavirus testing and tracing, among other provisions, according to two people familiar with its contents who spoke on condition of anonymity to confirm it. There’s also $250 billion for state and local governments, but Democrats want more.

Details of the proposal were first reported by Roll Call.

Pelosi said Thursday that significant differences remain, including on state and local aid, and Democrats’ demand for a

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Do-It-Yourselfers Will Continue to Fuel Home Improvement Market Post-Pandemic, Reports NPD

The popularity of do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvement projects in the U.S. during the pandemic is a trend that will continue with more than 40% of consumers indicating having post-pandemic DIY home improvement plans. According to new insight on the home improvement market from The NPD Group’s Checkout information, approximately one in ten consumers have taken on home projects they would have hired professional services for pre-pandemic, including cleaning, landscaping, maintenance, repairs, and even remodeling.

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y., Sept. 28, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — The popularity of do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvement projects in the U.S. during the pandemic is a trend that will continue with more than 40% of consumers indicating having post-pandemic DIY home improvement plans. According to new insight on the home improvement market from The NPD Group’s Checkout information, approximately one in ten consumers have taken on home projects they would have hired professional services for pre-pandemic, including cleaning, landscaping, maintenance, repairs, and even remodeling.

Through the pandemic, while most brick-and-mortar channels experienced declines in purchases due to COVID-19, the home hardware store channel has benefited from the consumer’s increased focus on their living spaces, and personal interest in taking on some new projects. With 11% more purchases than last year, home hardware stores were the second fastest growing channel in the first seven months of 2020.

“House-bound in March, consumers noticed opportunities to make their personal spaces more livable as they not only provided shelter, but became office space and schoolrooms for many,” said Shay Krafft, NPD’s president of U.S. home improvement & major appliances. “Home hardware stores were able to remain open and support the needs of the consumer, both in-store and online.”

This increased interest in DIY projects during the pandemic accelerated home improvement market performance in several ways. Across five key home improvement segments of lawn and garden, tools, paint, kitchen and bath, and hardware, both online and in-store purchase methods exhibited double-digit growth in the seven months ending July 2020. Seasonally, industry sales that typically peak in June peaked a month earlier this year, with 48% more sales in May 2020 than in 2019. The amount spent in the average home improvement shopping trip also increased 10% during the pandemic when compared to 2019.

“The heightened attention paid to where we live, and spend so much of our time, has resulted in increased consumer demand for home improvement solutions, but also an expanded customer base,” added Krafft. “The home improvement industry has an opportunity to strengthen these new consumer relationships that will support future success.”

About The NPD Group, Inc.
NPD offers data, industry expertise, and prescriptive analytics to help our clients grow their businesses in a changing world. Over 2,000 companies worldwide rely on us to help them measure, predict, and improve performance across all channels, including brick-and-mortar and e-commerce. We have offices in 27 cities worldwide, with operations spanning the Americas, Europe, and APAC. Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, books, B2B technology, consumer technology,

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