Amazon, Walmart Given Advantage in Military Funding Legislation
November 09, 2017
Critics decry Amazon amendment in military funding legislation; GOP Senators mark-up tax code, delaying corporate tax cuts until 2019; Stocks fall on tax plan worries; Jobless claims hover below 240,000.
- Critics decry Amazon amendment in military funding legislation. Lawmakers finished work this week on the National Defense Authorization Act, a major piece of legislation that funds military operations. Section 801 of that law calls for a web portal for government employees to purchase Amazon products, giving Amazon direct and exclusive access to a part of the $53 billion market for government commercial purchases. Experts say the legislation’s language of the portal is written in such a way that Amazon, and potentially parts of Walmart’s e-commerce platform, would be the only eligible companies for procurement. [The Hill]
- GOP Senators mark-up tax code, delaying corporate tax cuts until 2019. Breaking with President Trump, Senate Republicans are considering delaying the corporate tax cut until 2019, despite the President’s insistence companies need immediate tax relief. The move would save about $100 billion in revenue, enabling the Senators to make room for other changes. The change is part of a larger effort to get consensus around the bill; critics have pointed out the tax code doesn’t uniformly benefit middle class workers, phases out the estate tax, and allows for other provisions designed to cater to wealthy people. Members of the GOP in the House have also expressed concerns over the fiscal responsibility of the bill’s 1.5 trillion-dollar price tag. [Washington Post]
U.S. Markets at Open
- Stocks fall on tax plan worries. Major stock indices have posted double digit gains since the election of the President, in part due to campaign promises of business-friendly measures like deregulation and tax cuts. Delays and worries over the feasibility of the GOP tax plan have sent stocks indices down the largest one-day decrease in two weeks. [Reuters]
- Jobless claims hover below 240,000. Jobless claims increased slightly by 10k, to 239k, 7,000 above analyst estimates. The figures don’t detract from the broader strength of the labor market, which is at its lowest 4-week claim average since 1973. Unemployment amongst those eligible for benefits ticked up slightly, to 1.4%. [Bloomberg]