1/ U.S. inflation accelerated to 7.5% in January compared with a year ago – the steepest year-over-year increase since February 1982. It was the eighth straight month that inflation has been above 5% despite claims by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell that inflation would only be “transitory.” On a monthly basis, prices rose 0.6% from December to January. Over the past 12 months, the U.S. economy has added nearly 7 million jobs while average hourly earnings have climbed 5.7%. On an annual basis, however, inflation-adjusted average hourly earnings fell 1.7% in January from a year earlier, marking the 10th straight decline. Biden, meanwhile, said “while today’s report is elevated, forecasters continue to project inflation easing substantially by the end of 2022” and that there are “signs that we will make it through this challenge.” (Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / CNBC / Politico / NBC News / CNN)
2/ Following the inflation report, Joe Manchin assailed the prospect of Biden’s roughly $2 trillion social and climate package, saying Congress should not add “more fuel to an economy already on fire.” Manchin effectively killed the package in December after announcing that he would not support the legislation, citing concerns about inflation and the cost of the bill. “It’s beyond time for the Federal Reserve to tackle this issue head on,” Manchin said. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard, meanwhile, said he supports raising interest rates by a full percentage point by July, calling it a “sensible response to a surprise inflationary shock.” (Bloomberg / The Hill / Business Insider)
3/ White House call records do not reflect the calls made to or from Trump during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. While there is no evidence that any official records were tampered with or deleted, the House committee investigating the attack said they’re finding few records of calls between Trump and lawmakers that have been publicly reported in the hundreds of records from the National Archives turned over after the Supreme Court ruled against Trump’s efforts to block their release. The committee, however, is still waiting for additional records from the National Archives, and from phone companies that have been subpoenaed for the personal cellphone records for more than 100 people, including Eric Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle. (New York Times / CNN)
4/ Trump reportedly tried to flush documents he had ripped into pieces down the White House toilet, according to White House staff who periodically found Trump’s toilet clogged with paper. Trump, meanwhile, denied that he may have flushed official documents down a White House toilet, calling the allegations “another fake story” that was “categorically untrue and simply made up by a reporter in order to get publicity for a mostly fictitious book.” The details of Trump flushing documents down a White House toilet come from New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman’s forthcoming book, “Confidence Man.” Earlier this month, the National Archives said Trump had ripped up some White House documents while he was in office. The agency also recently asked the Justice Department to investigate Trump’s handling of White House records after finding documents clearly marked as classified, including documents at the “top secret” level, in the boxes that Trump took from the White House when he left office. (Axios / Washington Post / New York Times /Politico / NBC News / Rolling Stone)
5/ The Biden administration will allocate $5 billion over five years to build half a million electric vehicle charging stations – five times the current number. The money, was approved as part of the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package, will fund the creation of a “network of EV charging stations along designated Alternative Fuel Corridors, particularly along the Interstate Highway System.” (Washington Post / CNBC / Reuters / The Verge / Wall Street Journal)
6/ The Senate passed legislation to end the use of forced arbitration to resolve workplace sexual harassment and assault claims. The reform guarantees that victims of workplace sexual harassment or assault are free to pursue lawsuits in court. More than 60 million Americans are subjected to third-party arbitration clauses in employment contracts. The bipartisan legislation was passed unanimously by a voice vote and now heads to Biden’s desk to be signed into law. (CNN / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / Politico)
7/ Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene accused Nancy Pelosi of leading the “gazpacho police,” apparently confusing the cold tomato-based soup with the “Gestapo,” the Nazi secret police. During an interview, Greene said Pelosi was using Capitol police as “political pawns” and “sending them into our offices” to “investigate” – referring to a complaint from Rep. Troy Nehls, who claimed that Capitol Police entered his office. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger, however, clarified that an officer entered Nehls’ office because the door had been “left open and unsecured, without anyone inside” after hours. (Washington Post / NBC News / Bloomberg / The Hill)
poll/ 56% of Americans said they have little or no confidence that American elections reflect the will of the people – up from 52% in September and 40% in January 2021. (CNN)
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