Disaster-relief ETF launches in time for hurricane season

The Atlantic hurricane season is in full swing, and a new exchange-traded fund that focuses on disaster recovery has launched just in time for it.

The first-of-its-kind Procure Disaster Recovery Strategy ETF invests in companies working to reduce risk and motivate sustainable recovery from natural disasters around the world.

“Our partners at VettaFi and the team that helped construct this index looked at things like hurricanes, floods, droughts, wildfires, tornadoes — natural disasters that are occurring all around the globe — and what companies are actually stepping up to help us in those efforts,” ProcureAM CEO Andrew Chanin told CNBC’s “ETF Edge” this week.

The ETF, which trades under the ticker FEMA, bundles companies across sectors including industrials, energy and materials. “These are the companies that really help bring our lives back to normal when we need them most,” Chanin said.

Holdings in the FEMA ETF include communications tech company Fujitsu, risk assessment firm Verisk Analytics, Jacobs Engineering Group and cloud computing firm VMware.

Chanin calls the ETF “a very diversified basket,” including companies in various industries that work on disaster prevention as well as recovery.

Separately, he told CNBC that creation of the FEMA ETF was inspired by Hurricane Katrina, which hit the Gulf Coast in 2005. While attending school at Tulane University in New Orleans, Chanin considered the financial and human tolls that come with major natural disasters.

“One of the first things I did when I was down in New Orleans, when we heard Hurricane Katrina coming, was everyone was going to Home Depot to buy plywood. And, then you need to go and you need to purchase more stuff — whether it’s shingles, whether it’s things to repair, whether it’s paint — after these disasters,” Chanin said. “It’s a wide range of companies that are all involved throughout different parts of the life cycle.”

Since 1980, the U.S. has undergone 323 weather and climate disasters totaling $2.2 trillion in costs, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information, an agency operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Since its launch on June 1, the FEMA ETF is off about 11%.

FCC approves SpaceX Starlink service to vehicles, boats, planes

The Starlink logo is seen in the background of a silhouetted woman holding a mobile phone.

Sopa Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

The Federal Communications Commission authorized SpaceX to provide Starlink satellite internet to vehicles in motion, a key step for Elon Musk’s company to further expand the service.

“Authorizing a new class of [customer] terminals for SpaceX’s satellite system will expand the range of broadband capabilities to meet the growing user demands that now require connectivity while on the move, whether driving an RV across the country, moving a freighter from Europe to a U.S. port, or while on a domestic or international flight,” FCC international bureau chief Tom Sullivan wrote in the authorization posted Thursday.

SpaceX did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on the FCC decision.

Starlink is SpaceX’s network of satellites in low Earth orbit, designed to deliver high-speed internet anywhere on the globe. SpaceX has launched about 2,700 satellites to support the global network, with the base price of the service costing users $110 a month. As of May, SpaceX told the FCC that Starlink had more than 400,000 subscribers.

SpaceX has signed early deals with commercial air carriers in preparation for this decision: It has pacts with Hawaiian Airlines and semiprivate charter provider JSX to provide Wi-Fi on planes. Up until now SpaceX has been approved to conduct a limited amount of inflight testing, seeing the aviation Wi-Fi market as “ripe for an overhaul.”

The FCC’s authorization also includes connecting to ships and vehicles like semitrucks and RVs, with SpaceX having last year requested to expand from servicing stationary customers. SpaceX had already deployed a version of its service called “Starlink for RVs,” with an additional “portability” fee. But portability is not the same as mobility, which the FCC’s decision now allows.

The FCC imposed conditions on in-motion Starlink service. SpaceX is required to “accept any interference received from both current and future services authorized,” and further investment in Starlink will “assume the risk that operations may be subject to additional conditions or requirements” from the FCC.

The ruling did not resolve a broader SpaceX regulatory dispute with Dish Network and RS Access, an entity backed by billionaire Michael Dell, over the use of 12-gigahertz band — a range of frequency used for broadband communications. The FCC continues to analyze whether the band can support both ground-based and space-based services, with SpaceX pushing for the regulator to make a ruling.

EU agrees to deal on landmark MiCA cryptocurrency regulation

Bitcoin is a volatile asset, and has been known to swing more than 10% higher or lower in a single day.

Jakub Porzycki | Nurphoto | Getty Images

EU officials on Thursday secured an agreement on what is likely to be the first major regulatory framework for the cryptocurrency industry.

The European Commission, EU lawmakers and member states hammered out a deal in Brussels after hours of negotiations. The move came a day after the three main EU institutions finalized measures aimed at stamping out money laundering in crypto.

The new rules agreed Thursday come at a brutal time for digital assets, with bitcoin facing its worst quarter in more than a decade.

Known as Markets in Crypto-Assets, or MiCA, the landmark legislation will make life tougher for numerous players in the crypto market, including exchanges and issuers of so-called stablecoins, tokens that are meant to be pegged to existing assets like the U.S. dollar.

Stablecoins like tether and Circle’s USDC will be required to maintain ample reserves to meet redemption requests in the event of mass withdrawals. They also face being limited to 200 million euros in transactions per day if they become too big.

While EU member states will be the main enforcers of the rules, the European Securities and Markets Authority, or ESMA, is also being given powers to step in to ban or restrict crypto platforms if they threaten investor protection, market integrity or financial stability.

“Today, we put order in the Wild West of crypto assets and set clear rules for a harmonised market that will provide legal certainty for crypto asset issuers, guarantee equal rights for service providers and ensure high standards for consumers and investors,” said Stefan Berger, the lawmaker who led negotiations on behalf of the European Parliament.

MiCA will also address environmental concerns surrounding crypto, with firms required to disclose their energy consumption as well as the impact of digital assets on the environment.

A previous proposal would have scrapped crypto mining, the energy-intensive process of minting new units of bitcoin and other tokens. However, this was voted down by lawmakers in March.

The rules won’t affect tokens without issuers, like bitcoin, however trading platforms will need to warn consumers about the risk of losses associated with trading digital tokens.

Regulators also agreed on measures that would reduce anonymity when it comes to certain crypto transactions.

Authorities are deeply concerned about exploitation of crypto-assets for laundering ill-gotten gains and evasion of sanctions — particularly after Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

Transfers between exchanges and so-called “un-hosted wallets” owned by individuals will need to be reported if the amount tops the 1,000-euro threshold, a contentious issue for crypto enthusiasts who often trade digital currencies for privacy reasons.

Nonfungible tokens (NFTs), tokens that represent ownership in digital properties like art, were excluded from the proposals. The EU Commission has been tasked with determining whether NFTs require their own regime within 18 months.

Un-stablecoins

Policymakers have been skeptical of such tokens — which aim to be pegged to existing assets, such as the dollar — ever since Facebook’s botched attempt at launching its own token in 2019. Authorities feared private digital tokens could end up threatening sovereign currencies like the euro.

Paolo Ardoino, chief technology officer of Tether, said the world’s biggest stablecoin issuer welcomed regulatory clarity.

“MiCA is one of the more progressive initiatives to date and is focused on driving crypto innovation and adoption in the European region,” the spokesperson said.

Dante Disparte, chief strategy officer at Circle, said the EU framework represented a “significant milestone.”

MiCA “will be to crypto what GDPR was to privacy,” he said, referring to groundbreaking EU data protection rules that set the standard for similar laws elsewhere in the world, including California and Brazil.

Reducing fragmentation

FDA backs changing Covid boosters to target recent omicron subvariants

There hasn’t been enough research on how much protection a fourth dose can offer, medical professionals told CNBC.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday said vaccine manufacturers should update their Covid-19 booster shots to target the most recent omicron subvariants that are gaining ground in the U.S.

Dr. Peter Marks, head of the FDA’s vaccine division, said manufacturers should update their shots to target omicron BA.4 and BA.5 in addition to the original strain of the virus that first emerged in Wuhan, China.

The FDA wants to update the booster shots to provide longer lasting protection ahead of the fall, when public health experts expect another wave of infection as immunity from the vaccines wanes and people spend more time indoors — where Covid spreads more easily — in the colder weather.

The two-dose primary vaccination series won’t immediately change, Marks said. In other words, people who are fully vaccinated will not be starting from scratch in the fall. They would simply receive an omicron shot to increase their protection against the virus. People who are not yet vaccinated would first get two doses of the original vaccine, and then likely a jab with the new version.

Marks said the FDA will review the new vaccines for safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality to ensure they meet the highest standards before they are authorized for public use.

The FDA’s panel of independent experts voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to recommend a new formula after an all-day meeting in which they evaluated the pros and cons of updating the shots ahead of a fall booster campaign in the U.S.

But the vaccine makers are having trouble keeping up with the rapid evolution of the virus. Pfizer and Moderna developed their shots to target the original version of the variant, BA.1, which caused the massive wave of infection over the winter that slammed hospitals with sick patients.

But BA.1 has been pushed out by new subvariants and is no longer circulating in the U.S. Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 now make up more than 50% of Covid infections in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It’s unclear how long it will take the vaccine makers to switch gears and develop shots that include BA.4 and BA.5. The FDA has asked the companies to start clinical trials on these newer subvariants, Marks said. The FDA panel of experts generally favored targeting BA.4 and BA.5 in an effort to keep up with the evolution of the virus.

Pfizer and Moderna presented clinical trial data on Tuesday demonstrating that their updated shots triggered a stronger immune response against omicron BA.1 than the original version of the vaccines that the FDA authorized for use in December 2020. The updated shots, based on BA.1, did not perform as well against BA.4 and BA.5 though the immune response was still robust, according to the data.

The studies were small with only a few hundred participants, and there’s currently no data on how well the shots will perform in the real world. The immune response is generally viewed as a good indicator of how well the vaccines will protect against illness.

Some FDA panel members said more data is needed on the effectiveness of new shots before rolling them out. Other panel members said it’s unclear what impact adding a new component to the vaccines might have on a form of heart inflammation called myocarditis. Pfizer’s and Moderna’s shots are associated with an elevated risk of myocarditis in adolescent boys after the second dose. However, Covid infection carries a higher risk of myocarditis than vaccination, according to the CDC.

The U.S. is short on both time and money to get new vaccines ready for the fall. The manufacturers only have three months to produce the shots, but even if they meet the timeline the U.S. might not have the funds to be able to purchase vaccines for everyone.

Congress has not passed funding for the U.S. to buy vaccines for the fall, and the Biden administration has warned it might only have enough money to purchase shots for people at high risk of illness, like the elderly. The White House has shifted $5 billion from other parts of the pandemic response to start negotiations with the vaccine makers.

All of the currently authorized Covid vaccines are based solely on the original version of the virus that emerged in China in 2019. The shots are no longer providing the same level of protection against infection and mild illness because the virus has heavily mutated. They are still generally good at preventing severe disease, though there’s concern this protection will also wane as the virus continues to evolve.

The virus has a protein called a spike that it uses to invade human cells. The current shots use copies of the spike from the original version of the virus to trigger an immune response that protects against illness. The immune response sends antibodies that recognize the virus spike and block it from invading human cells.

However, the antibodies triggered by the original vaccines are having difficulty recognizing the highly mutated versions of the spike on the omicron subvariants. In other words, omicron is slipping through the defensive walls erected by the vaccines, causing infections and mild illness even in people who have kept up with their shots.

The market’s worst first half in 50 years has all come down to one thing

Traders on the floor of the NYSE, June 29, 2022.

Source: NYSE

A multitude of factors conspired to generate the stock market’s worst first-half since 1970, but they all emanated from one word: inflation.

The cost of living started the year running at levels the U.S. had not seen since the early 1980s.

Worse, Federal Reserve officials, armed with full-year forecasts of “transitory” inflation that now seem almost comically inaccurate, fell behind the curve, endangering a market and economy still fragile from the Covid pandemic.

Six months later, the damage has been severe if something short of catastrophic: An S&P 500 down nearly 20%, a symbol of how risk investing across the spectrum, from crypto to IPOs and even some areas of the commodities market, has collapsed.

“It was inflation. That’s the Fed’s nemesis,” said Quincy Krosby, chief equity strategist for LPL Financial. “It was the Fed staying with its ‘transitory’ mindset of inflation easing. … It was central bank largesse, it was government largesse. The Fed was surprised [about inflation] even just a few days before its last meeting. That’s how we got here.”

Supply chain constraints that the Fed thought would ease were behind much of inflation’s rise. Demand has simply overwhelmed shippers’ ability to get products to market, resulting in much higher prices. The Russia attack on Ukraine exacerbated some of those problems, driving up energy and food prices. Shopper confidence has crumpled and inflation expectations, among consumers if not in financial markets, have surged.

Missed signals, mass damage

After falling behind the inflation curve, the Fed has now been forced to play catch-up in the form of interest rate hikes worth 1.5 percentage points, with more to come. Many on Wall Street have questioned why the Fed hasn’t been even more aggressive.

Uncertainty about the path ahead has compounded the nettlesome impact of inflation running by one Labor Department measure at 8.6%, the highest since December 1981. As recently as December 2021, the Fed, which targets inflation at 2%, was projecting its preferred headline measure to run at 2.6% this year; new data Thursday showed it at 6.3%, with core inflation excluding food and energy even running at 4.7%.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell “needs to regain control of the inflation narrative … now he’s losing total control,” Allianz economic advisor Mohamed El-Erian recently told CNBC. “He’s got to move because, if he doesn’t, he’s going to be chasing the market and he’s not going to get there.”

Besides the damage to the big stock market averages such as the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which is down more than 14% year to date, there has been carnage everywhere.

The Nasdaq, which has a stronger tech focus, has suffered losses approaching 30%. Bitcoin, the highest-profile cryptocurrency, has tumbled nearly 60%. Copper, often considered an economic bellwether, has fallen more than 15%, and cotton has slumped more than 13%.

Capital markets also have taken a beating.

Special purpose acquisition companies, which provide blank checks from investors and were all the rage last year, have fallen on hard times. CNBC’s Post SPAC Index, which follows the vehicles from their initial listing through either a merger target or live deal, is having its worst month since being introduced in November 2020, down nearly 25%.

Private firms have been slow to come to such a dismal market. Initial public offering volume has slumped 46% in the first half, with revenues down 58% from the same period a year ago, according to Ernst & Young.

History offers hope

FTX closes in on a deal to buy embattled crypto lender BlockFi for $25 million in a fire sale

Sam Bankman-Fried, chief executive officer of FTX Cryptocurrency Derivatives Exchange, speaks during a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021.

Stefani Reynolds | Bloomberg | Getty Images

FTX is swooping in to buy crypto lender BlockFi for pennies on the dollar, sources told CNBC.

The term sheet is almost over the finish line and expected to be signed by the end of the week, according to one source, who asked not to be named because the deal discussions were confidential. FTX will pay roughly $25 million — 99% below BlockFi’s last private valuation. Jersey City, New Jersey-based BlockFi was last valued at $4.8 billion, according to PitchBook. 

An acquisition could take multiple months to close, and the price tag could shift between now and Friday, a source said. Friday also marks the end of the quarter, which the person said was a catalyst for getting a deal signed. The Wall Street Journal first reported that FTX was seeking an equity stake in the company, while the Block reported this week that an outright deal was in the works. 

An FTX spokesperson said the company “would not be commenting on the matter.” BlockFi did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The fire sale comes a week after FTX provided a $250 million emergency line of credit to BlockFi.
FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried said at the time that the financing would help BlockFi “navigate the market from a position of strength.” 

It’s the latest fallout for crypto lending companies amid plunging crypto asset prices. Funds have struggled with liquidity issues as counterparties fail to meet margin calls. Celsius and CoinFlex paused customer withdrawals citing “extreme market conditions.” Major cryptocurrency hedge fund Three Arrows Capital has fallen into liquidation, CNBC reported earlier, marking one of the biggest casualties of crypto’s bear market.

Another source said equity investors in BlockFi are “wiped out” and are now writing off the value of their losses. The person said multiple offers were being considered, since there was no “shop clause” in the term sheet. 

“There was more than one deal on the table,” a source told CNBC. 

Billionaire Bankman-Fried has been seen as a lender of last resort in the space. In addition to BlockFi, Bankman-Fried’s company Alameda Research provided a $500 million loan to Voyager.

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Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson sworn in, replaces Breyer

Ketanji Brown Jackson is making history Thursday as the first-ever black woman sworn in as a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Jackson, 51, replaces Justice Stephen Breyer, whose resignation from the Supreme Court becomes effective at noon after his nearly 28 years of service there.

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President Joe Biden nominated Jackson for the Supreme Court after Breyer announced in January that he would step down at the end of the court’s 2021 term, which concluded Thursday morning.

In a brief ceremony at the Supreme Court building in Washington, Jackson took two oaths of office. In the constitutional oath, delivered by Chief Justice John Roberts, Jackson solemnly swore to defend the Constitution “against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” and “bear true faith and allegiance to the same.”

Breyer delivered the second, statutory oath, in which Jackson swore to “administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich.”

Jackson, smiling throughout the ceremony, was joined by her husband, Dr. Patrick Jackson, and their two daughters, Talia and Leila.

The court will hold another formal inaugurating ceremony, called an investiture, in the fall, Roberts said. But Thursday’s oaths allow Jackson to begin her work as the newest member of the nine-seat high court.

Jackson, who previously served as a judge on the federal appeals court for the District of Columbia Circuit, was confirmed by the Senate in April by a vote of 53-47. Three Republican senators joined Democrats to confirm her.

Jackson, like Breyer, is considered a liberal jurist. She joins two other liberal members of the court, Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson meets with U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) (not pictured), on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 28, 2022.

Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters

The Supreme Court has a supermajority of six conservatives, among them Roberts and three appointees of former President Donald Trump: Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

Another conservative, Justice Clarence Thomas, is the only other black person currently on the court. Thomas replaced the first black man to serve on the court, Justice Thurgood Marshall, in 1991.

Jackson’s elevation comes as public confidence in the Supreme Court has sunk to historic lows following its controversial draft opinion on abortion leaked in May.

Just 25% of American adults said they had a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the court, according to a Gallup poll released June 23.

That is 11 percentage points lower than the level of confidence expressed a year ago and 5 percentage points below the last low, seen in 2014.

The poll was released a day before the Supreme Court issued its final opinion overturning its 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade, saying there is no federal constitutional right to abortion.

The new ruling allows individual states to set their own restrictions on abortion without fear of running afoul of Roe, which permitted pregnancies to be terminated in most cases.

Trump’s appointees provided the votes needed to overturn Roe, joining with Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the majority opinion.

Supreme Court limits EPA authority to set power plant climate standards

The Longview Power Plant, a coal-fired plant, stands on August 21, 2018 in Maidsville, West Virginia. The plant’s single unit generates 700 net megawatts of electricity from run-of-mine coal and natural gas.

Spencer Platt | Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Thursday limited the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to set standards on climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions for existing power plants.

In its 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court said that Congress, not the EPA, has the power to create a broad system of cap-and-trade regulations to limit carbon emissions from existing plants in a bid to transition away from coal to renewable energy sources.

The court’s ruling on the case affects the federal government’s authority to set standards for pollutants like carbon dioxide from existing power plants under the landmark Clean Air Act.

The decision is a major setback for the Biden administration’s agenda to combat climate change, specifically the goal to zero out carbon emissions from power plants by 2035 and cut in half the country’s emissions by the end of the decade.

The case stems from the EPA’s directive in 2015 to coal power plants to either reduce production or subsidize alternate forms of energy. That order was never implemented because it was immediately challenged in court.

Fossil fuel-fired power plants are the second-largest source of pollution in the U.S. behind transportation, according to the EPA. The U.S. is also the second-largest producer of greenhouse gases behind China, making it a key player in global efforts to combat climate change.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, in the case, known as West Virginia v. the Environmental Protection Agency, which was joined by the Supreme Court’s other five conservative members.

The decision is the first time a majority opinion explicitly cited the so-called major questions doctrine to justify a ruling. That controversial doctrine holds that with issues of major national significance, a regulatory agency must have clear statutory authorization from Congress to take certain actions, and not rely on its general agency authority.

Roberts wrote, “There is little reason to think Congress assigned such decisions” about the regulations in question to the EPA, despite the agency’s belief that “Congress implicitly tasked it, and it alone, with balancing the many vital considerations of national policy implicated in deciding how Americans will get their energy.”

“Capping carbon dioxide emissions at a level that will force a nationwide transition away from the use of coal to generate electricity may be a sensible ‘solution to the crisis of the day,’ ” Roberts wrote, “But it is not plausible that Congress gave EPA the authority to adopt on its own such a regulatory scheme.”

He added: “A decision of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body.”

Justice Elena Kagan wrote a dissent, which was joined by the court’s two other liberals.

“Today, the Court strips the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the power Congress gave it to respond to ‘the most pressing environmental challenge of our time, ” Kagan wrote in the dissent.

“The Court appoints itself — instead of Congress or the expert agency—the decisionmaker on climate policy. I cannot think of many things more frightening,” Kagan wrote.

She also said, “The majority claims it is just following precedent, but that is not so. The Court has never even used the term ‘major questions doctrine’ before.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., in a statement said, “Today’s decision adds to a number of dangerously outrageous decisions that have rightly tarnished the public’s confidence in the Court.”

“First on gun safety, then on abortion, and now on the environment – this MAGA, regressive, extremist Supreme Court is intent on setting America back decades, if not centuries,” Schumer said. “The Republican-appointed majority of the MAGA Court is pushing the country back to a time when robbers barons and corporate elites have complete power and average citizens have no say.”

Schumer was referring to the court’s rulings last week, one of which undid the nearly half-century-old federal right to abortion, the other invalidating some of New York’s restrictions on carry permits for handguns.

The court’s six-justice conservative majority has been skeptical of the federal agency’s authority to set national standards.

The legal fighting over the EPA’s authority began several years ago when the Obama administration set strict carbon limits for each state in an effort to reduce emissions from power plants, and urged states to meet limits by shifting to cleaner energy alternatives like wind and solar.

The Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan was temporarily blocked in 2016 by the Supreme Court and then repealed in 2019 by the Trump administration, which argued that the plan exceeded the EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act. It argued that the act only allowed the agency to set standards on the physical premises of a power plant — or “inside the fenceline.” 

The Trump administration proposed more lenient standards to regulate emissions only from existing coal-fired steam plants, a policy called the Affordable Clean Energy Rule. The revision was challenged by states and environmental groups and ultimately struck down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Since then, there hasn’t been an EPA standard with respect to carbon pollution from existing power plants.

Republican attorneys general led by West Virginia, a major coal producer, along with coal companies and industry groups, pursued the case, arguing that the EPA doesn’t have the authority to transition the country to cleaner energy sources and that such authority belongs to Congress.

Lawyers representing the EPA and U.S. utility industry lobby groups pushed back on arguments restricting the agency’s authority, arguing that doing so would prompt lawsuits against power providers.

Under the Biden administration, the EPA has indicated that it will not attempt to resurrect the Clean Power Plan, but rather create its own rules to regulate power plant emissions.

But Roberts, in the majority opinion, wrote, “At bottom, the Clean Power Plan essentially adopted a cap-and-trade scheme, or set of state cap-and-trade schemes, for carbon … Congress, however, has consistently rejected proposals to amend the Clean Air Act to create such a program.”

Thursday’s decision could rule out the agency’s ability to impose a cap-and-trade system, which allows the government to set a maximum on the amount of greenhouse gas emissions released across an industry and penalize parties for violations. Parties then buy and sell the rights to exceed that cap, essentially creating a market around emissions.

The ruling, however, does not affect the EPA’s ability to limit greenhouse gas emissions more broadly.

Jason Rylander, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute, said that while the ruling was “bad” and “unnecessary,” the EPA still has the ability to limit greenhouse gases at the source under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act and more broadly through other provisions of the act.

“In the wake of this ruling, EPA must use its remaining authority to the fullest,” Rylander said. “The case highlights the need for swift executive action on climate.”

Biden calls on Congress to ease Senate rules to codify Roe v. Wade

A person holds a sign reading “Codify Roe v. Wade” as abortion rights activists protest after the overturning of Roe Vs. Wade by the US Supreme Court, in Downtown Los Angeles, on June 24, 2022.

Frederic J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Thursday said he would support a suspending the Senate filibuster rule to codify the constitutional right to an abortion as established by the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 ruling to Roe v. Wade.

His comments represent critical support for suspending a key procedural hurdle that has thus far prevented Senate Democrats from passing legislation that would make the Roe decision federal law.

Current Senate rules require the majority party to muster 60 votes to overcome the minority’s attempt to block the advance of a bill, an procedural action known as a filibuster.

And with the Senate split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, the GOP has thus far had the power to stop the slim Democratic majority from approving abortion bills.

“I believe we have to codify Roe v. Wade into law. And the way to do that is to make sure Congress votes to do that,” Biden told reporters in Spain. “And if the filibuster gets in the way — like voting rights — we provide an exception for this. We require an exception of the filibuster for this action.”

Biden’s comments come a week after the nation’s highest court overturned 50 years of legal precedent and reversed its original opinion that women have a constitutional right to an abortion. They also mark the first time that the president has offer public support to change the filibuster rules to pass legislation codifying Roe v. Wade into law.

The court’s controversial ruling last week now grants states the power decide their own abortion laws without concern of running afoul of the Roe opinion, which had allowed abortions during the first two trimesters of pregnancy.

The president is scheduled to meet with state governors on Friday to discuss what they can do until federal Democrats cement their response. Echoing the belief held by many Democrats, Biden added that the court’s reversal “is a serious, serious problem the Supreme Court has thrust upon the United States.”

“I’m going to do everything in my power I legally can do in terms of protecting abortion, as well as pushing Congress and the public,” he said.

Even Biden’s backing doesn’t mean Democrats will be able to force abortion legislation through the Senate. Moderate Democrats Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have said they are against edits to the Senate’s filibuster rules.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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Fed’s preferred inflation measure rose 4.7% in May, around multi-decade highs

A customer counts his cash at the register while purchasing an item at a Best Buy store in Flushing, New York.

Jessica Rinaldi | Reuters

Inflation held at stubbornly high levels in May, though the monthly increased was slightly less than expected, according to a Commerce Department gauge closely watched by the Federal Reserve.

Core personal consumption expenditures prices rose 4.7% from a year ago, 0.2 percentage points less than the previous month but still around levels last seen in the 1980s. Wall Street had been looking for a reading around 4.8%.

On monthly basis, the measure, which excludes volatile food and energy prices, increased 0.3%, slightly less than the 0.4% Dow Jones estimate.

Headline inflation, however, shot higher, rising 0.6% for the month, much faster than the 0.2% gain in April. That kept year-over-year inflation at 6.3%, the same as in April and down slightly from March’s 6.6%, which was the highest reading since January 1982.

In addition, the report reflected pressures on consumer spending, which accounts for nearly 70% of all economic activity in the U.S.

While personal income rose 0.5% in May, ahead of the 0.4% estimate, income after taxes and other charges, or disposable personal income, declined 0.1% on the month and 3.3% from a year ago. Spending adjusted for inflation fell 0.4%, a sharp drop from the 0.3% gain in April, though it was up 2.1% on a year-over-year basis.

Goods inflation rose 9.6% while services prices were up 4.7%, both up 0.1 percentage points from April.

The personal saving rate edged higher, rising to 5.4%, up 0.2 percentage points from the previous month.

Fed officials are watching the data closely as they seek to control runaway inflation. Central bank policymakers generally watch core inflation more closely because they believe monetary policy is less effective at controlling the ups and downs of gas and grocery prices.

However, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell has said in recent days that he also is watching headline numbers closely as well as gas prices average about $4.86 a gallon.

The consumer price index, which measures a broad range of goods and services and is more closely watched by the public, rose 8.6% in May, its highest level since late 1981.