Feb 14, 2017

Big in Business: Janet Yellen faces Congress

Alex Brandon / AP

Janet Yellen begins today the first of two days of testimony before the new Congress, where she will likely be asked to defend the Fed's interest rate policy and the central bank's record on banking regulation. She'll be coy concerning the next rate hike, but offer a full-throated defense of Dodd-Frank. Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Economics also predicts Yellen will "gently suggest" that fiscal stimulus is not needed, an argument sure to warm the hearts of budget hawks.

Wilbur Ross doesn't divest: The billionaire, incoming Commerce Secretary has declined to divest himself of interest in 11 different companies, though he is selling his ownership in 80 more, the Wall Street Journal reports. The ownership stakes he is retaining however, have already prompted conflict-of-interest accusations. For instance, Ross will retain ownership of shipping concerns, even though the Commerce Secretary has broad powers over issues like international trade, which greatly affect industry profits.

S&P 500 cracks $20 trillion: The overall value of the S&P 500 grew to more than $20 trillion for the first time ever Monday — driven by a combination monetary stimulus, a stable recovery, optimism about the American economy, and solid corporate profits. Investors, however, should use the occasion to question whether the market has gotten ahead of itself, given the many risks—like the threat of trade wars—loom over the global economy.

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Updated 25 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Amnesty International: U.S. police must end militarized response to protests

Washington State Police use tear gas to disperse a crowd in Seattle during a demonstration protesting the death of George Floyd. Photo: Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images

Amnesty International issued a statement on Sunday morning calling for an end to militarized policing in several U.S. cities and the use of "excessive force" against demonstrators protesting police brutality.

Why it matters: The human rights group said police across the country were "failing their obligations under international law to respect and facilitate the right to peaceful protest, exacerbating a tense situation and endangering the lives of protesters."

47 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus looms over George Floyd protests across the country

Protestors rally in Minneapolis. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Health experts fear that massive protests against police brutality in major cities around the United States could result in new coronavirus outbreaks due to the close proximity of demonstrators, AP reports.

Why it matters: The U.S. has already recorded more confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths than any other country in the world. A potential surge in cases stemming from the protests would come as many states are weeks into their phased reopening plans.

The cracks in Trump’s GOP shield

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

President Trump’s mockery of coronavirus masks, his false claims about the dangers of voting by mail and his insinuations that a cable TV nemesis was involved in a murder are testing more high-profile Republicans' willingness to look the other way.

The big picture: Republicans learned a long time ago how dangerous it is to alienate Trump’s base — which is why any hint of disagreement, even a whisper, is so remarkable when it happens.