Business Briefs – April 3, 2017

Repeal in Doubt, What Trump Alone Can Do on Obamacare

WASHINGTON (AP) – With prospects in doubt for repealing Obamacare, some Republicans say the Trump administration can rewrite regulations and take other actions to undo much of the health care law on its own. But some of those moves could disrupt life for millions of people, including those who back the president. Experts are warning that they see a White House caught between avoiding a crisis in the insurance markets and facilitating the collapse of a program they bitterly oppose.

Tumbling Car Sales Drag Down U.S. Auto Market in March

DETROIT (AP) – Passenger car sales continued to plummet last month, dragging U.S. auto sales to their third straight monthly decline, a strong indication that years of sales growth have come to an end. Sales for the month fell 1.6 percent to just over 1.55 million vehicles, surprising analysts who expected a small increase.

Trump Administration Tells Companies Not to Overlook Qualified Americans

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Trump administration is warning U.S. companies that it will investigate and prosecute those that discriminate against qualified American workers in favor of foreigners. The Justice Department issued the unusual warning as companies began applying for coveted skilled-worker visas known as H-1B. The announcement is the latest indication that even legal immigration will become tougher under the Trump administration.

States Sue Over Delay of Energy Efficiency Rules Under Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) – A 10-state coalition led by New York and California is suing the Trump administration over the delay of energy-efficiency standards for several consumer and commercial products. The states are seeking review of a series of actions by the Energy Department to delay the final standards for devices including ceiling fans, portable air conditioners, commercial boilers and walk-in coolers and freezers.

Cyborgs at Work: Employees Getting Implanted With Microchips

STOCKHOLM (AP) – At a Swedish company, workers are allowing themselves to be microchipped. The same type of chip that’s built into some credit cards is implanted into an employee’s hand. And then, a wave of the hand is all it takes to open a door or to operate a printer. The technology raises privacy issues since the data can show how often an employee is at work, or what he or she buys. But the co-founder and CEO of Epicenter, where about 150 workers have gotten the implants, compares them to a pacemaker.

Don’t Look for Congress to Quickly Pass Overhaul of Tax Code

WASHINGTON (AP) – Whether a tax overhaul can be completed by Congress this year is an open question. Revising the tax code could prove harder to accomplish than repealing and replacing Barack Obama’s health law. Congressional Republicans are divided on significant issues, especially a new tax on imports embraced by House Speaker Paul Ryan. And the White House is sending contradicting signals on the new tax, adding to the uncertainty.

Airbus, Samsung, Others Lobby Trump Team on Investment

WASHINGTON (AP) – At a time of public skepticism about free trade, a dozen CEOs from foreign-based companies with big U.S. operations will meet Tuesday with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and congressional leaders to talk up the benefits of foreign investment. Executives from Airbus Americas, Samsung Electronics America and other firms will make the case for policies they say will keep foreign firms coming to America.

Coal Miner Peabody Emerging From Bankruptcy

ST. LOUIS (AP) – Coal giant Peabody Energy emerges from bankruptcy after cutting costs and debt. The company says it reduced debt by more than $5 billion in the past year. Coal companies have struggled with weaker demand as utilities switch to cheaper natural gas to produce electricity.

DOJ: For Decade, Sanofi Vaccine Unit Overcharged VA on Meds

The Department of Justice says French drugmaker Sanofi’s vaccines unit will pay a $19.9 million fine for overcharging the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for two products from 2002 through 2011. Sanofi Pasteur told the VA it had incorrectly calculated some prices from 2007 to 2011, but a probe showed the overcharges dated back to 2002.