1/ Inflation climbed 6.4% in January, down from 6.5% in December, and well below the June peak of 9.1%. While it was the seventh straight year-over-year slowdown, the January consumer price index was still higher than expected. On a monthly basis, inflation climbed 0.5% from December – up from the previous reading of 0.1%. Economists expect inflation to fall to roughly 4% later this year. Today’s inflation reading and a recent unexpectedly strong jobs report puts the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates at their March meeting to ensure inflation continues to fall. Investors now expect the Fed to raise rates to around 5.2% by the summer, and then hold rates above 5% through the end of 2023. (Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNBC / Washington Post / New York Times / Associated Press / NBC News)
- Biden named Federal Reserve Vice Chair Lael Brainard to serve as the White House’s top economic advisor. Brainard will replace White House National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, who announced his resignation. (Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / CNBC)
2/ Pence will challenge a federal grand jury subpoena issued by the special counsel investigating Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Pence is expected to advance a novel legal theory that the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause shields him from testifying, saying his role as president of the Senate – i.e. a member of the legislative branch – insulates him from grand jury questions. Jack Smith’s office is seeking documents and testimony from Pence about the Jan. 6 insurrection, when Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol and disrupted the certification of Biden’s election victory – a process that Pence was presiding over in the Senate at the time. (Politico / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press)
3/ South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed a bill prohibiting gender-affirming care for transgender minors. The law will ban the prescription of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and gender-affirming surgery for transgender people under the age of 18 in the state. Health care providers who violate the new law risk civil lawsuits and losing their professional or occupational licenses. (CNN / Associated Press)
4/ The Florida legislature expanded a program used to fly migrants to Democratic-led cities and states. Gov. Ron DeSantis can now relocate migrants from any state in the country – not just from Florida – to blue states that have sanctuary policies in place. The measure, passed both Republican-led chambers along party lines during a special session, formally creates the Unauthorized Alien Transport Program under the state’s Division of Emergency Management. It now goes to DeSantis for his signature. (NBC News)
5/ Gov. Ron DeSantis wanted to ban weapons from a campaign event but suggested that the city take responsibility for the firearms ban. DeSantis has been a vocal supporter of gun rights. In an October email, the city-run Tampa Convention Center’s safety and security manager wrote: “DeSantis/his campaign will not tell their attendees they are not permitted to carry because of the political optics,” adding: “Basically it sounds like they want us to say it’s our policy to disallow firearms within the event space if anyone asks.” (Washington Post)
6/ Nikki Haley announced that she will run for president, saying “It’s time for a new generation of leadership.” Haley is the first Republican to challenge Trump for the 2024 Republican nomination. (Washington Post / Associated Press / NBC News / New York Times / CBS News)
7/ Trump reportedly wants to expand the use of the death penalty and bring back death by firing squad, by hanging, and by guillotine if re-elected. Trump has also suggested televising footage of executions. “The [former] president believes this would help put the fear of God into violent criminals,” one source said. “He wanted to do some of these [things] when he was in office, but for whatever reasons didn’t have the chance.” (Rolling Stone)
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