Business Headlines

Pureradiancephoto/iStockBy AARON KATERSKY, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Purdue Pharma is expected Tuesday to plead guilty to federal conspiracy and kickback charges and acknowledge that its aggressive marketing of opioids over the last three decades helped propel an addiction crisis that killed hundreds of thousands of Americans.

The guilty plea is part of a settlement with the Justice Department. The deal has been criticized as too lenient on members of the Sackler family, who owned the company and made an estimated $10 billion from OxyContin. They will not admit to wrongdoing and face zero charges as part of the settlement.

Purdue Pharma said it knowingly and willfully offered payments to health care providers to induce them to write more prescriptions of its opioid products.

It also admitted to aiding and abetting the dispensing of opioids without a legitimate medical purpose or valid prescription and failing to provide the Drug Enforcement Administration with accurate information about OxyContin.

Until it stopped marketing opioids in February 2018, prosecutors said Purdue sought to increase sales by sending sales representatives to prescribers' offices and pharmacies to deliver company-developed messaging, give the prescribers meals and marketing materials and provide information about pharmacies stocking Purdue opioids.

The settlement agreement quoted an executive who said in a September 2010 presentation to Purdue’s sales supervisors: "As I have stated several times, we know increases in the prescriber call average will have the single largest impact of anything you can do to increase prescriptions of Purdue products with our core and super core prescribers."

During an all-day hearing in a White Plains, New York, bankruptcy court last week on Tuesday, a judge authorized the settlement between Purdue and the DOJ.

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EllenMoran/iStockBy GIO BENITEZ, SAM SWEENEY and MINA KAJI, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Millions are already traveling for Thanksgiving, despite pleas from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to spend the holiday at home as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise.

Over the weekend, more than three million people passed through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints nationwide. Sunday marked the busiest day for air travel since the pandemic began with the agency screening 1,047,934 people.

"Travelers are navigating a slew of new factors from flexible work schedules, school schedules, to changing health safety advisories," TripIt spokesperson Kelly Soderlund told ABC News. "People are extending their stays with a 28% increase in weeklong lodging reservations. Big city metros aren't as popular for holiday travel as they usually are."

According to the American Automobile Association, a majority of Thanksgiving travelers will drive to their destination. AAA projects almost 48 million Americans are expected to hit the road over the holiday.

"It's not really the thing you want to hear before you go home ... don't travel," said Will Mason, a college freshman at Clemson University in South Carolina.

"But I guess I don't really have an option there," Mason, whose classes are going virtual for the second semester, said.

The nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, expressed concern that a surge of Thanksgiving travelers could translate to a surge in cases before Christmas.

"If in fact you're in a situation when you do the things that are increasing the risk," Fauci said in a Washington Post interview, "the travel, the congregate setting, not wearing masks, the chances are that you will see a surge superimposed upon a surge. What we're doing now is going to be reflected two, three weeks from now."

Although the risk of COVID-19 transmission onboard a plane is "reduced to very low levels" with proper measures according to a recent Harvard study, the CDC is concerned with the ability to properly socially distance on planes and in airports, shuttles and rideshares. Longer flights and flights with layovers present an increased risk.

For drivers, the CDC recommends limiting stops for gas and food, and only riding in a car with people in your household.

"Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19," the CDC guidelines state. "Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year."

If you must travel, always wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet away from those who do not live with you, and wash your hands, the CDC advises.

"Help is on the way," Fauci said. "We have at least two highly efficacious vaccines that would likely start be given to people at the highest risk, and the highest priority towards the middle and end of December, as we get into the subsequent months, more and more people will be able to be vaccinated."

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artisteer/iStockBy JACQUELINE LAUREAN YATES, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- This year's charge toward social justice has brought about change for the better, and one upside has been the elevated support for Black-owned businesses.

Many Black-owned businesses have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and have struggled to stay afloat.

However, with heightened awareness around the importance of supporting Black-owned brands, the narrative is slowly but surely changing.

One great way to keep this positive change going is by shopping these brands throughout the holidays, and more specifically, on Black Friday.

"It's important to #BuyBlack all year around," the founder of People of Color Beauty, Jacqueline Carrington, in a statement to Facebook as her company was recently featured on the social media platform's #BuyBlack Friday Gift Guide.

Carrington continued, "Supporting small businesses, and especially Black businesses, beyond this moment in time, allows us to reinvest into our families, communities, and uplift each other to build generational wealth and opportunities to create impactful change."

Lifestyle influencers such as Kellie Brown of And I Get Dressed as well as inclusive cosmetics companies such as Mented Cosmetics, have been creating a wide range of offerings that are perfect, whether your are gift giving or shopping for yourself, this season.

If you are ready to give back for the holidays, but not sure where to start, here's a list of some Black-owned brands to check out:

Fashion

  • And I Get Dressed
  • TIER
  • Brysie Lane
  • Ten Wilde
  • Mo's Bows
  • Salone Monet
  • Brother Vellies

Beauty and personal care

  • People of Color Beauty
  • Hanahana Beauty
  • Hyper Skin
  • Girl Hair
  • Buttah by Dorian Renaud
  • JoYo Natural Nail Care
  • The Honey Pot Company
  • Mented Cosmetics

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alacatr/iStockBy JACQUELINE LAUREAN YATES, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Along with several other retailers, Target is slashing prices this holiday season with early Black Friday deals starting now through November.

Deep discounts are available on everything from home and kitchen items to electronics, apparel, beauty products, toys and lots more.

"We're taking a completely new approach to Black Friday, giving guests more flexibility and ensuring they can plan ahead for a safe, stress-free shopping experience," said Christina Hennington, Target's executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, in a statement.

Target Black Friday Deals


Nov. 1-7: Discounts on electronics and more.

Nov. 8-14: Deals on kitchen favorites and floor care.

Nov. 15-21:
Take advantage of deals on this season's popular electronics, apparel and beauty products.

Nov. 22-28: Toys, kitchen, floor care and electronics including video games and select consoles will be on sale.

Shoppers are encouraged to check the digital weekly ad posted on Target's website each Thursday before sales go live on Sundays.

The company is also expanding its Price Match Guarantee service, which allows customers to get the absolute best deal regardless of when they shop. Target has confirmed that from Nov. 1 through Dec. 24, guests can request a price adjustment for any item advertised as a “Black Friday Now” deal if it is offered for a lower price at Target or Target.com later in the season.
relaxed fit that can be paired with denim, trousers and more.

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MicroStockHub/iStockBy ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- With the holiday season upon us and no government stimulus in sight, many Americans are depending on the kindness of strangers to make ends meet amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

While some may be accepting food donations, others are trying crowdfunding to pay their bills. In fact, donations to the crowdsourcing platform GoFundMe for basic needs like rent and groceries have topped $100 million.

ABC News’ chief economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis appeared on Good Morning America Monday to discuss how Americans experiencing financial hardships are trying to stay afloat:

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David Tran/iStockBY: JULIA JACOBO, ABC NEWS

(NEW YORK) -- More than 1 million Americans are boarding planes despite warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to avoid traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday.

On Friday, 1,019,836 passengers flew in the U.S., 1.5 million less than on the same day in 2019, according to daily figures from the Transportation Security Administration. The figure represents the second-highest number of people to travel by air since March. On Oct. 18, 1,031,505 people took to the skies.

Last week, the CDC cautioned against celebrating the upcoming holiday with people outside of the household, stating that the "safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with."

The extraordinary surge of a million new cases in the U.S. in the last 10 days has raised concerns that Thanksgiving gatherings could spread the virus further among families and communities, according to the agency.

"Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year," the CDC guidelines state.

A Harvard review published last month found that wearing masks and the frequent cleaning in planes help keep the virus from spreading, and a study conducted by the Department of Defense and United Airlines also found that the risk of contracting COVID-19 on planes was 'very low' when proper measures are taken such as masks, frequent cabin cleaning, and distancing during boarding and deplaning help keep the virus from spreading.

However, the recent spike in positive cases has led several cities and states to mandate new COVID-19 restrictions ahead of the holiday season as hospital intensive care units begin to fill to capacity.

ABC News' Ahmad Hemingway contributed to this report.

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Official White House Photo by Andrea HanksBy CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he will not extend a handful of the emergency lending programs the Federal Reserve implemented earlier this year to buoy the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, Mnuchin said that he is asking the central bank to not renew its lending facilities that used CARES Act funding and to return the unused funds to the Treasury.

The programs -- that were set to expire at the end of the year -- include the Fed's corporate credit facilities, municipal lending facility and the Main Street Lending program for small and mid-size businesses.

Mnuchin wrote that these Fed programs supported by the Treasury have "clearly achieved their objective," adding that markets have responded positively and banks have been able to continue lending.

He added that if the Fed reserved unused funds to the Treasury, Congress can reappropriate $455 billion.

Mnuchin's letter comes as the economy is still entrenched in uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus-induced recession, and as new virus cases surge throughout the country.

The Fed issued a rare public rebuke in a statement, saying that it "would prefer that the full suite of emergency facilities established during the coronavirus pandemic continue to serve their important role as a backstop for our still-strained and vulnerable economy."

Mnuchin's move also comes amid a transition to a new administration under President-elect Joe Biden, and could dampen the Fed's power during this time.

In an interview with CNBC Friday morning, Mnuchin defended his actions, saying that it was "not a political issue."

Mnuchin's decision received support from Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., a member of the Senate Finance Committee, who said in a statement, "Congress's intent was clear: these facilities were to be temporary, to provide liquidity, and to cease operations by the end of 2020."

Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., however, called the move "sabotage."

"Steve Mnuchin is removing critical support from a weak economy against the Federal Reserve’s wishes," Wyden tweeted. "This is economic sabotage."

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AdrianHancu/iStockBy JACQUELINE LAUREAN YATES, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Sephora's deals on beauty buys aren't stopping on Black Friday. In fact, they will continue throughout the holiday season.

The retailer announced its first Sephorathon event where Sephora Insiders, VIB and Rouge members can shop exciting promotions starting Dec. 3.

From Fenty Beauty by Rihanna and NARS cosmetics to Drunk Elephant and Tatcha skincare, there will be huge savings. GMA got the inside scoop on how it's all going down.

Sephorathon sales event dates and details:


Dollar Savings Offer Kicking off Dec. 3 in-store and onlilne, this will be Sephoraton's debut event. Use code 2020SAVE until Dec. 9 for a one-time use of $25 off $75 for Rouge members, $20 off $75 for VIB members and $15 off $75 for Beauty Insiders.

Point Multiplier Event Starting Dec. 10 until Dec. 16, using code BIGPOINTS, Rouge members will get 4x points per purchase, VIB members will get 3x points per purchase and Insiders will get 2x points per purchase.

Super Saturday On Dec. 18, Beauty Insider members have the chance to win a Sephora eGift Card of either $100 or $10 in-store or online. There will be one winner per store and one online. Additionally, Sephora will be awarding 100 winners per store and 100 winners online a $10 eGift card.

Sale on Sale VIB
and Rouge can score an extra 20% off using code: SAVEFIRST.

Insiders can also get an extra 20% off Dec. 26 through Jan. 1 using code: MAJORSALE.

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VioletaStoimenova/iStockBy JEANETTE TORRES-PEREZ, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The countdown is on for Black Friday, which is now just one week away. But given the coronavirus pandemic, the biggest shopping day of the year is posed to look different and retailers are taking steps to offset the impact to sales.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned shoppers to avoid crowded stores just before, on or after Thanksgiving, saying it’s a high risk activity. As a result, more shoppers are expected to shop online this holiday season rather than in store.

In an effort to attract business and encourage customers to shop their holiday deals, retailers are offering new services, like hanging Christmas lights at your home.

ABC News’ Chief Economics Correspondent Rebecca Jarvis appeared on Good Morning America Friday to discuss some of the new services customers can expect to see:

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JohnFScott/iStockBy CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News

(SEATTLE) -- Starbucks will increase wages for the majority of its staff starting next month, the company confirmed to ABC News on Thursday.

Beginning Dec. 14, all baristas, shift supervisors and cafe attendants hired on or before Sept. 14 will see a 10% pay increase. Those who have been with the company for more than three years will see an 11% pay increase.

The new investment also includes a 5% increase to all starting rates to attract and retain new talent as well as an increase to the premium it pays above minimum wage in every market.

Jory Mendes, a Starbucks spokesman, told ABC News that the company has been a leader for nearly 50 years in providing "industry-leading benefits with a total compensation approach that is best-in-class for both part and full-time employees."

"Continuing in that tradition, this announcement is the next phase of the company’s commitment to ensuring the well-being of partners with one of the most significant investments to hourly pay in the U.S. in the history of the company," Mendes added.

Mendes noted that this news was communicated to Starbucks employees earlier this month. The raises are only for U.S. company-operated stores.

The move comes as advocacy groups across the nation have pushed for a federal $15 minimum wage, something President-elect Joe Biden has said he supports.

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courtneyk/iStockBy CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) -- Some 742,000 workers filed for unemployment insurance last week, an uptick of more than 30,000 compared to the previous week, the Department of Labor said Thursday.

Weekly jobless claims have remained elevated for months but were on the decline for the past four weeks. Thursday's tally reversed the downward trend.

The rise in this week's figure comes amid a new surge in virus cases across the nation. On Wednesday, the U.S. surpassed the grim milestone of more than 250,000 virus deaths, the highest of any nation in the world.

The government also said Thursday that more than 20.3 million people are still claiming some form of unemployment assistance through all government programs for the week ending Oct. 31. There were 1.5 million people claiming benefits during the same time period last year.

States that saw the largest increases in weekly jobless claims for the week ending Nov. 7 were Washington, California and Massachusetts. States that saw the largest decreases were Georgia, Illinois and Kentucky.

Businesses have struggled to reopen and many are being forced to re-shutter as cases surge and governors impose additional lockdowns.

Every single week for the past seven months, the jobless claims tally from the DOL has shattered the pre-pandemic weekly record set in 1982.

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Maridav/iStockBy CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- As the U.S. economy slowly recovers from the devastation brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, a new reality is setting in that many of the jobs lost over the past seven months may not be coming back any time soon.

New research released Thursday by jobs site Glassdoor examined some of the hardest-hit positions during the pandemic and warned that even with a vaccine and the virus under control in 2021, a handful of these jobs could take a long time to return -- if they do at all.

The company compared the number of job openings listed on its site in October 2020 with the same time period last year to find the jobs most "at risk" from COVID-19.

The top five titles on its list of jobs most at risk due to the pandemic were audiologist (which saw a 70% decline in hiring during the pandemic), event coordinator (which fell by 69%), product demonstrator (which suffered a 63% drop), optician (which plummeted by 61%) and chef (which declined by 56%).

The next five job titles on the list were executive assistant, beauty consultant, valet, stylist and coach -- which all had around a 50% drop in job openings on Glassdoor during the pandemic.

"One theme is that there are some jobs where the hiring is down because COVID-19 is in the driver's seat of the economy, and they will not come back until health concerns are alleviated," Glassdoor Chief Economist Andrew Chamberlain told ABC News. This includes jobs in personal services and in discretionary health care (such as the eye or ear doctor), according to Chamberlain.

"It's just so clear that health policy is the same as economic policy for now," Chamberlain said.

While many industries will likely see scarring from the pandemic, some jobs face new threats as consumer preferences change.

"Some of the jobs on here that are likely to never -- you can never say never -- but will not likely not come back for years, are jobs that will be impacted by automation during the recovery," Chamberlain added. "This always happens during a recession where companies lay off employees and when they rebuild their workforce they have a chance to rethink."

Chamberlain predicts jobs for administrative assistants and receptionists or human resources generalists will not be coming back anytime soon, saying "there has been massive innovations in artificial intelligence" in those sectors.

Finally, another job category that may not come back for a long time is in-person retail roles, including product demonstrator and brand ambassador, Chamberlain said.

"There been a massive wave of buying e-commerce that I think is going to stay with us even after COVID-19 is gone," he said.

Chamberlain said his best advice to workers in those fields that face a difficult job market is to "look outside of your industry to jobs that use similar skills to what you already have."

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Kerkez/iStockBy JOEL LYONS, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- COVID-19 has upended life as we know it. In addition to causing widespread illness and death, it's affected the livelihoods of millions of Americans who now face unemployment or are struggling to keep their business afloat during the pandemic.

Amid virtual learning, political issues, and troubled travel plans, something else may be causing stress as the holidays approach -- giving gifts.

Due to health concerns, many gift-givers this year may rely less on in-person shopping to avoid crowds and instead utilize online methods. Others may forego presents entirely due to unstable finances.

Elaine Swann, a lifestyle and etiquette expert who is the founder of The Swann School of Protocol, spoke to ABC News' Good Morning America about the best etiquette to approach various gift-giving scenarios during the holidays. Here is her advice:

What to do if you don't want to give or receive gifts

Swann recommends being "very frank and honest" with family and friends if you plan to not give gifts and do not want to receive them.

"Craft a statement that expresses your wishes and send that out through whatever means that you would normally communicate with the individuals -- maybe it's a text message or perhaps it's an email," she says. "'Hey family, this year, I decided to opt out of the gift exchange, so I will not be giving any gifts and I'd ask that you avoid sending me anything.' But then make sure that you use a statement that … ends on a nice high note and lets them know you're OK, and I think people will respect that."

Swann says it's best to avoid posting this type of message on social media accounts.

"Then you open yourself up to scrutiny, to questions, to having to explain yourself and then go into detail," she says. "Use that information privately and share it with … the folks who are going to give you a gift or who you would normally give one to. Just keep it private."

What to do if you plan to buy gifts

"Establish a budget and make a determination as to exactly how much you can spend on gifts this year," Swann says, emphasizing that it's important to "not put ourselves in a compromising position to try to over-give."

Instead of showering loved ones with gifts, Swann says other options could include purchasing one nicer gift for someone, or a few individuals, or finding something smaller and meaningful that can be given to several individuals.

"One of the things you can do is select a group of individuals that you'll give gifts to," Swann says. "Maybe you choose to give gifts to only all the children in your family. Or you might say this year, 'I'm going to focus on just the elder family members.' One suggestion might be all of the new moms or someone who just became a mom again."

Swann says you can consider a Secret Santa theme rather than a set dollar amount.

"The theme this year can be books, so everyone buys a book for someone and that's something that we know is going to under $30," she says. "Or if you have a group of friends that all love wine, maybe the theme is wine, so everybody exchanges a wine bottle, and you can really limit the pricing and be creative at the same time."

Secret Santa also affords an opportunity for collective gifts, Swann says. To buy a gift for your parents, for example, "you can gather all of your siblings together and everybody can pitch in. And you basically just put one person in charge to purchase the gift and … we can always use electronic payments so you don't have to go knocking door-to-door to get that money," she says.

Gift cards can also be a thoughtful option, Swann says, adding, "My recommendation is to make it a twofold gift: Give a gift card to a local restaurant or a local store so that this way, we're still going back into the community and supporting our local businesses."

One gift that never goes out of style? Money.

"That's the one gift that people are definitely going to use," Swann says.

Also important, she says, is to "be very, very thoughtful, and think deeply about the gift that you're giving a person and how it can enhance or positively impact their life."

"People have just really had a tough time this year. So we really should be thoughtful and not so frivolous -- running into the store and grabbing one of the first things that we think the person should have. Really think about what people want and what can impact them in a positive way," she said.

What to do when you receive a gift

Even if you don't plan on giving gifts, you may have a friend or family member who will ignore your request and insist on asking you what you want so they can get you something. While you may feel hesitant, Swann says it's not worth arguing about and instead suggests having a few lower-priced items in mind.

"Maybe it's a book, or you can ask them to get you a gift card to Amazon, or something that you can use later on," she says.

But whatever you do end up getting, Swann says to be sure to "accept it with graciousness." She also recommends sending a handwritten thank-you note, especially when they may have taken a risk going out to buy the gift or spent lots of time online looking for something you'd like.

"We're so overwhelmed with technology right now," Swann says. "To receive something in the mail and open it up and know that someone else has spent some time sending it to you, I think that really would enlighten individuals and make them feel appreciated."

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Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesBY: LEIGHTON SCHNEIDER, ABC NEWS

(NEW YORK) -- 28 companies from across the energy and transportation sectors, including Tesla, PG&E, and electric truck start-up Lordstown Motors, are teaming up to form the Zero Emission Transportation Association, or ZETA: a coalition that is aiming to have all light, medium, and heavy-duty vehicles sold in the United States be 100% electric by 2030. 

“We had a host of folks in the [electric vehicle] community early on in 2020 that really were interested in having their own voice on federal policy and trying to figure out what was the best possible way to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles,” said Joe Britton, the executive director of ZETA. “We started to do outreach to others and then it snowballed really quickly. Folks have been really excited about having a new approach to this and bringing all the institutional knowledge that these companies and advocacy experts and NGOs and others have to accelerate the EV transition.”

The association has members ranging from established companies like Tesla and Uber, to start-ups like Rivian and Lucid Motors, along with battery-tech companies, charging infrastructure companies, and electric utilities. The 29 founding members employ hundreds of thousands of people across all 50 states, according to the organization. 

Notably absent from the coalition are the "Big Three" American car manufacturers: General Motors, Ford, and Fiat/Chrysler.

“I think our interest is a little different,” said Britton. “We have a goal to accelerate and reach this 2030 EV sales goal and I think we bring together this kind of squarely EV group to make progress on those goals.” 

ZETA hopes to push the United States to 100% electric vehicles through national policy. They have five actions that it says will lead to its goal, including consumer incentives, upgraded infrastructure, and American manufacturing. The organization also aims for lower emission targets and federal leadership. 

“One of our goals is to make sure that folks from all walks of life and all regions see EVs as serving their interests, whether that's a consumer interest, whether it's domestic manufacturing or job creation interest, or if it's about innovation and competition,” said Britton. “We think we can show that we're creating jobs in every congressional district in the country.”

They may get help from the next administration. President-elect Joe Biden has made combating climate change a key piece of policy. Part of that includes helping the auto industry create one million new jobs by investing in domestic supply chains, auto infrastructure, and charging stations.

Britton says they have had initial conversations with the Biden team. 

“I think they share our interest certainly and even part of the strategy they've got is a commitment to put in place 500,000 public electric vehicle charging stations,” said Britton. “I think they share our interest in sending market signals that an accelerated transition to EV’s is the right approach.”

Britton says that he believes there is nothing inherently partisan about electric vehicles, and that they've received bipartisan support since announcing. 

“Whether you're interested in what's good for the consumer on fuel, maintenance savings, performance ... the deployment and electrification of the transportation sector is something that I think people can get behind no matter their political background,” said Britton.

A few states are already moving in the same direction as ZETA. In September, California’s governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order mandating that all cars and trucks sold in the state must be zero-emission by 2035. Washington state has an even quicker timeline after governor Jay Inslee signed a law in March banning gas-powered cars by 2030. 

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Nikada/iStockBy CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News

(CUPERTINO, Calif.) -- Apple announced Wednesday it was slashing the App Store commission it collects in half for smaller app developers that earn up to $1 million per year on its store.

The move comes as the tech giant's App Store has come under fire in recent months from lawmakers over allegations that it has grown too powerful and has the ability to squash competition.

Dubbed the "App Store Small Business Program," Apple said Wednesday that this change will benefit the vast majority of developers who sell digital services on the store.

The program launches next year, and means that Apple will take only a 15% commission from developers that earned up to $1 million in proceeds during the previous calendar year. For those who made more than $1 million in proceeds (or a developers' post-commission earnings), they will still have to pay the App Store's standard commission rate of 30%, according to the company.

"Small businesses are the backbone of our global economy and the beating heart of innovation and opportunity in communities around the world. We’re launching this program to help small business owners write the next chapter of creativity and prosperity on the App Store, and to build the kind of quality apps our customers love," Apple's chief executive Tim Cook said in a statement.

"The App Store has been an engine of economic growth like none other, creating millions of new jobs and a pathway to entrepreneurship accessible to anyone with a great idea," Cook added. "Our new program carries that progress forward -- helping developers fund their small businesses, take risks on new ideas, expand their teams, and continue to make apps that enrich people’s lives."

In a lengthy report
scrutinizing big tech released in October, the House Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee claimed Apple "exerts monopoly power in the mobile app store market" -- an allegation Apple has disputed.

Epic Games, the developers of the wildly popular game Fortnite, have notably been at the fore of the battle against Apple's allegedly competitive practices. On Wednesday, the company announced it was taking new legal action in Australia over what it calls "anti-competitive" practices by Apple.

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