Lydia DePillis

Reporter

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Lydia DePillis joined ProPublica in 2019. Before that, she covered national economics issues for CNN Business, Texas’ economy for the Houston Chronicle, labor and the workplace for The Washington Post, and the business, culture and politics of the technology industry for The New Republic. DePillis was also previously a real estate columnist for the Washington City Paper, where she authored its award-winning Housing Complex blog. Her work has appeared in the New York Observer, Pacific Standard, Slate and various trade publications. She’s from Seattle, and is based in New York.

Robert Lighthizer Blew Up 60 Years of Trade Policy. Nobody Knows What Happens Next.

Trump’s trade representative joined the administration with one mission: Bring factory jobs back from overseas. The results so far? Endless trade wars, alienated allies, and a manufacturing recession.

The Big Corporate Rescue and the America That’s Too Small to Save

Girish Patel doubts his small, 20-year-old shop will survive the pandemic economy. Thirty stories above, aerospace company TransDigm has sustained eye-popping profits thanks to steep layoffs and raised over a billion with help from the U.S. government.

The Small Biz Double-Dip: Temp Companies Got Cheap Government Money, Got Paid by Clients for the Same Workers

One of the biggest beneficiaries of the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses were temp agencies. Many have been able to turn the government loans into profits.

Inside One Huge Company’s (Mostly) Successful Campaign to Escape Trump’s Tariffs

Minnesota-based company Polaris has lobbied relentlessly to get out of tariffs. It’s CEO donated to Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who later advocated for the company. And it has leveraged support from several others in congress and the administration.

Oyster, Air Fryer and Bicycle Companies Say Their Goods Are Essential to Fighting Coronavirus So They Can Get Tariff Relief

Trump’s trade agency is taking applications for products that should escape new tariffs. Companies making everything from shoes to hors d’oeuvres are submitting justifications that are … creative.

This Treasury Official Is Running the Bailout. It’s Been Great for His Family.

Deputy Treasury Secretary Justin Muzinich has an increasingly prominent role. He still has ties to his family’s investment firm, which is a major beneficiary of the Treasury’s bailout actions.

A Closer Look at Federal COVID Contractors Reveals Inexperience, Fraud Accusations and a Weapons Dealer Operating Out of Someone’s House

The Trump administration has promised at least $1.8 billion to 335 first-time contractors, often without competitive bidding or thorough vetting of their backgrounds.

The Trump Administration Says a New Bailout Program Will Help 35 Million Americans. It Probably Won’t.

Experts from across the political spectrum fear that the Federal Reserve’s new Main Street Lending program won’t reach enough businesses or save enough jobs.

Did Your Company Get Bailout Money? Are the Employees Benefiting From It?

How has your company treated its workers during the crisis? As bailout money in the form of huge loan programs reaches to your company, what are you watching for or worried about?

To Understand the Medical Supply Shortage, It Helps to Know How the U.S. Lost the Lithium Ion Battery to China

The failed U.S. effort to dominate global production of the lithium ion battery — which is key to energy independence, automobile innovation and more — holds lessons for leaders grappling with the U.S.’s reliance on China for emergency medical supplies.

Lessons Learned From Running ICUs in Disaster Zones

We talked to a doctor about what hospitals in the throes of the coronavirus epidemic could learn from far less developed hospital systems in times of crisis and came away with three main points.

Coronavirus Tests Are Being Fast-Tracked by the FDA, but It’s Unclear How Accurate They Are.

“What good is a test if you don’t know it’s giving you reliable results?” one expert said. Concerns are mounting that a lack of accurate testing will make it more difficult for America to relax social distancing.

In Desperation, New York State Pays Up to 15 Times the Normal Prices for Medical Equipment

State data shows that New York is paying enormous markups for vital supplies, including almost $250,000 for an X-ray machine. Laws against price gouging usually don’t apply.

Here’s Why Florida Got All the Emergency Medical Supplies It Requested While Other States Did Not

The Department of Health and Human Services has come under fire as several states’ requests for supplies from the emergency medical stockpile go unfulfilled. A chaotic distribution plan is buckling under a big problem: Nobody has enough.

How South Korea Scaled Coronavirus Testing While the U.S. Fell Dangerously Behind

By learning from a MERS outbreak in 2015, South Korea was prepared and acted swiftly to ramp up testing when the new coronavirus appeared there. Meanwhile, the U.S., plagued by delay and dysfunction, wasted its advantage.

The FDA Is Forcing the CDC to Waste Time Double Testing Some Coronavirus Cases

The FDA’s strict guidance on test confirmations is one of several obstacles that has slowed the federal government’s response to COVID-19. The FDA could change its rules to speed things up, but hasn’t.

How Trump’s Trade War Is Making Lobbyists Rich And Slamming Small Businesses

Washington’s influence industry, including former Trump officials and allies, has made big money helping companies get exemptions from tariffs — sometimes by undercutting small business owners like Mike Elrod.

How Trump’s Tariffs Are Creating Jobs — for Canadians

A tariff loophole lets companies ship small boxes across the border duty free. So the huge shipments are now heading to warehouses in Canadian and Mexican border towns, instead of the U.S.

Companies Are Using a Depression-Era Law to Escape Trump’s Tariffs — and It’s Costing Them

Tariffs are hurting U.S. companies’ bottom lines. Free Trade Zones, a 1930s rule which they can use to shield themselves from those costs, require expensive legal help. One Michigan manufacturer called it “a no-win situation.”

Everything You Need to Play Baseball Is Made in China — and Getting Hit by Trump’s Tariffs

Baseball is America’s pastime, but prices on its China-made gear are about to rise as the trade war escalates. Golf, lacrosse, basketball and other sports will feel the pinch, too.

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