Dec 20, 2017

Companies unveil wage hike plans after tax bill passage

Paul Ryan applauds as President Trump hugs Mitch McConnell as he speaks during an event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Wednesday. Photo: Evan Vucci / AP

After the passage of the GOP's sweeping tax plan that would cut the corporate tax rate, AT&T, Wells Fargo, Fifth Third Bancorp, Boeing and Comcast announced plans to increase their employee pay and benefits.

Why it matters: This move will please the White House and Republicans who have been pitching corporate tax cuts from 35% to 21%, beginning in 2018, as a boost for American workers and economy. The Associated Press reports that per a White House official, these announcements were not coordinated with the president's economics team. The official "insisted on anonymity to discuss private conversations," per the AP.

The breakdown:

  • AT&T said it will give $1,000 bonuses to "more than 200,000 AT&T U.S. employees" and fulfill a $1 billion capital investment pledge as soon as the bill becomes law.
  • Fifth-Third Bancorp told Axios' Dan Primack that it will raise the minimum wage of its workforce to $15 per hour. It said 3,000 of its employees currently make less than $15 per hour. When asked why, given the $1.5 billion it made last year in profit, they had no comment.
  • Wells Fargo will reportedly increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour. The San Francisco-based bank also plans to allocate $400 million in donations to community and nonprofit organizations in 2018.
  • The Chicago-based Boeing Company said it's "still studying all of the provisions of the new legislation," but has committed $300 million for charitable giving, employee development programs and "workplace of the future" facilities and infrastructure enhancement.
  • Chairman and CEO of Comcast NBCUniversal Brian Roberts, said the company will award $1,000 in bonuses to more than one hundred thousand eligible frontline and non-executive employees. It will also spend $50 billion over the next five years to improve and extend its broadband plant and capacity. Roberts said this move would create "thousands of new direct and indirect jobs."

Go deeper: What you'll see under the new tax code

Go deeper

Biden says he's starting VP search this month

Joe Biden. Photo: Scott Olson / Staff

Joe Biden said he's spoken to Sen. Bernie Sanders and former President Barack Obama about selecting a running mate — and that he wants to build "a bench of younger, really qualified people" who can lead the nation over the course of the next four presidential cycles.

Driving the news: Biden spoke about the state of the 2020 race during a virtual fundraiser on Friday night that was opened to pooled coverage.

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Michael Atkinson, inspector general of the intelligence community. Photo: Bill Clark / Getty Images

President Trump notified key lawmakers on Friday that he’s firing Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community's inspector general, who first alerted Congress last September of an "urgent" complaint from an official involving Trump's correspondence with the Ukrainian president.

Why it matters: The move, to take effect in 30 days, comes amid a broader initiative to purge the administration of officials seen as disloyal to the president.

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  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start. The DOT is urging airlines to refund passengers due to canceled or rescheduled flights, but won't take action against airlines that provide vouchers or credits.
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