Happy Friday and welcome to On The Money, your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.
Today’s Big Deal: The Canadian trucker blockade is blocking car production, potentially driving prices even higher. We’ll also look at the challenges facing a potential stock trading ban in Congress.
But first, Cardi B is getting tired of inflation.
Let’s get to it.
Trucker blockades a threat to auto industry
Blockades at major U.S.-Canada border crossings caused by truckers protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandates could worsen the existing car shortage that has driven up prices to record levels.
The skyrocketing cost of cars and trucks — which has played a major role in fueling the nation’s 40-year-high inflation rate — was just beginning to level off before truckers blocked the Ambassador Bridge and with it the most efficient way to transport auto parts between Canada and the U.S.
Without access to key components, auto manufacturers were forced to shut down some of their plants this week, and some factories remain closed or are operating at reduced capacity.
- Ford, General Motors and Toyota are among the major automakers that were forced to shut down or delay vehicle production this week.
- These problems come on top of a semiconductor shortage that has constrained auto manufacturing during the pandemic.
- Insufficient supply caused the price of used cars and trucks to increase by a whopping 40.5 percent over the last year, while the price of new vehicles grew by 12.2 percent.
A Canadian judge on Friday ordered the protestors to end the blockade, though it remained unclear just how and when their trucks would be removed.
Karl has more on the blockade’s ramifications here.
SUPREME STOCK BAN?
Stock ban faces steep hurdles despite growing support
Lawmakers in both parties are quickly jumping on the push to ban members of Congress from trading stocks, but now they face the challenge of sorting through a growing number of competing proposals and settling on what exactly that delicate policy would look like.
The idea has caught fire following revelations that dozens of lawmakers may have violated existing laws designed to eliminate conflicts of interest between legislators and the investments they make.
The effort got a huge boost when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), after saying as recently as December that she opposes a ban on stock trades, changed course and endorsed the idea.
But the Speaker also complicated the debate this week by suggesting that any new financial restrictions should transcend Congress to capture the judiciary branch, including the Supreme Court.
The Hill’s Mike Lillis and Cristina Marcos have more here.
FOR TRUCK’S SAKE
Biden tells Trudeau US workers experiencing ‘serious effects’ from trucker protests
President BidenJoe BidenBriahna Joy Gray slams Biden administration following community college funding news Biden says states easing mask mandates ‘probably premature’ Biden says he rejects findings of Army report on Afghanistan MORE and Canadian Prime Minister Justin TrudeauJustin Pierre James TrudeauThird US-Canada border crossing blocked by ‘Freedom Convoy’ protests Convoy protests disrupt auto industry on US-Canada border Ottawa police warn protesters blocking streets could be ‘arrested without warrant’ MORE spoke on Friday about the ongoing trucker protests over COVID-19 restrictions that have blocked a bridge between the North American countries, and President Biden explained the impact the situation is having in the U.S.
The protest, which started in Ottawa, has blocked the Ambassador Bridge, which connects Windsor, Ontario, and Detroit, for four days in a row. Similar protests have cropped up at several other border crossings.
- The two spoke “to discuss the ongoing blockade of key bridges and crossings between the United States and Canada, including Detroit/Windsor, Sweetwater/Coutts, and Pembina/Emerson,” according to the White House.
- Biden spoke to Trudeau about his concern “that U.S. companies and workers are experiencing serious effects, including slowdowns in production, shortened work hours, and plant closures.” The situation so far has forced auto plants in the area to modify their operations or shut down.
Asked if the White House is preparing for similar demonstrations in Washington, press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiBiden says he rejects findings of Army report on Afghanistan The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – More blue states let mask mandates expire White House faces new pressure to back lifting mask rules MORE said they are in close touch with their Canadian counterparts and local officials, and that they are “working to address this on all fronts.”
Read more here from The Hill’s Alex Gangitano.
Good to Know
The European Publishers Council is accusing Google of anticompetitive digital advertising practices, according to a complaint filed Friday with the European Commission.
The council is calling on the commission, which is already investigating Google’s advertising technology, to take action against the search giant to “break the stranglehold that Google has over us all.”
Here’s what else we have our eye on:
- Users were experiencing issues with Twitter in an apparent outage on Friday. There was reportedly a spike in users reporting outages around noon, according to Down Detector.
- Pfizer and BioNTech on Friday said they are delaying completing their request for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to authorize their coronavirus vaccine for children under five years old, because there’s not enough data on the efficacy of a third dose.
- Youth voting organization NextGen America is launching an effort to connect with potential voters — especially in key battleground states — on dating apps ahead of the 2022 midterms.
ON TAP NEXT WEEK:
- The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing on stablecoins with Treasury under secretary for domestic finance Nellie Liang at 10 a.m.
- The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee holds a hearing on workforce development at 10 a.m.
- The Senate Banking Committee meets to vote on the nominations of all five of President Biden’s Federal Reserve nominees and Sandra L. Thompson’s nomination to be director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency at 2:15 p.m.
- The House Budget Committee holds a hearing entitled “Why Congress Needs to Abolish the Debt Limit” at 11 a.m.
- The House Financial Services Committee holds a hearing on Minority Depository Institutions and Community Development Financial Institutions at 12 p.m.
- All three members of the White House Council of Economic Advisors testify before the Senate Banking Committee for a hearing on economic growth in 2021 at 10 a.m.
- The Senate Finance Committee holds a hearing on IRS customer service challenges at 10 a.m.
That’s it for today. Thanks for reading and check out The Hill’s Finance page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you next week.
Credit: Source link