Business Briefs – September 12, 2019

U.S. Budget Deficit for 11 Months Up $169 Billion Over 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. government’s budget deficit increased by $169 billion to $1.07 trillion in the first 11 months of this budget year as spending grew faster than tax collections. The Treasury Department reports that the deficit for August totaled $200 billion, compared to $214 billion in August 2018.

Some States Say They’ll Keep Fighting Purdue Pharma in Court

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – Critics are saying that a tentative settlement reached Wednesday between the maker of OxyContin and thousands of local governments and more than 20 states doesn’t do enough to hold Purdue Pharma responsible or provide enough money. The agreement could be worth up to $12 billion over time and includes future profits for the company, the value of overdose antidotes it’s developing and cash payments of $3 billion to $4.5 billion from the Sacklers, the family that owns Purdue Pharma — the Sacklers.

The Fed and ECB Aim to Avoid Downturns but With Limited Ammo

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank are struggling mightily to invigorate their economies at a time when growth is slowing, governments are on the sidelines and the banks’ usual monetary tools appear less effective than in the past. On Thursday, the ECB delivered a blast of monetary stimulus to try to rescue Europe’s teetering economy. The Fed is set to follow with its own stimulative move next week — its second modest interest-rate cut of the year.

Mint, Menthol: Vape Industry Has Dug Heels in on Flavor Bans

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) – Efforts to ban flavored e-cigarettes and reduce their appeal to youngsters have sputtered under industry pressure in over a half-dozen states this year. The industry and its lobbyists urged lawmakers to leave mint and menthol alone. A proposed ban that President Donald Trump outlined Wednesday would supersede any state inaction and includes a ban on mint and menthol. Industry giant Juul Labs Inc. now says “we will fully comply with the final FDA policy when effective.”

Trump Administration Drops Obama-Era Water Protection Rule

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) – The Trump administration has revoked an Obama-era regulation that shielded many U.S. wetlands and streams from pollution. The Waters of the United States rule was opposed by developers and farmers who said it hurt economic development and infringed on property rights. Environmental groups are criticizing the administration’s action. It’s the latest in a series of moves to roll back environmental protections put into place under President Barack Obama.

Senate Approves Trump Nominee Bowman for Federal Reserve

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate has confirmed President Donald Trump’s nominee Michelle Bowman to serve a full 14-year term on the seven-member Federal Reserve board. Bowman was approved on a 60-31 vote, winning the support of 49 Republicans and 11 Democrats. Only one Republican, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, joined Democrats voting no.