5 things to know for December 15: Capitol riot, debt limit, Covid, Trump taxes, Haiti

5 things to know for December 15: Capitol riot, debt limit, Covid, Trump taxes, Haiti

Get ready for the Christmas crush! New projections say holiday travel is about to roar back with a vengeance.

Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

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1. Capitol riot

The House voted last night to recommend that the Department of Justice pursue criminal charges against former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows for failing to appear for a deposition with the select committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. Two Republicans on the select committee, Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, voted with Democrats in favor of the referral. The select committee voted Monday in favor of holding Meadows in contempt of Congress, and it’s now up to the Justice Department to decide if it will pursue criminal charges against ex-President Donald Trump’s top aide. Meadows is the second official to face such a referral from the panel. The committee approved a criminal contempt report against Trump ally Steve Bannon in October after he refused to comply with a subpoena deadline.

2. Debt limit

Congress voted to raise the national debt limit by $2.5 trillion and extend it into 2023 after lawmakers raced to avert a catastrophic default ahead of a critical deadline. The Senate moved yesterday to pass legislation to increase the limit in a vote along party lines. The House voted early this morning to approve the bill, which now must be signed by President Joe Biden. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had warned that the debt limit could be reached today, leaving Congress little time to resolve the issue. A first-ever default would spark economic disaster, and party leaders on both sides of the aisle have made clear it must be prevented.

3. Coronavirus

Researchers in South African added new details yesterday to what’s known about the Omicron variant, confirming that vaccines provide less protection against the new strain but also saying they see indications that it causes milder symptoms than previous variants. And there seems to be little doubt that Omicron is highly transmissible. Cornell University in New York reported 903 cases of Covid-19 among students in the week that ended Monday, and a “very high percentage” are Omicron cases in fully vaccinated people. Separately, Pfizer’s updated results for its experimental treatment for Covid-19 showed it cut the risk of hospitalization or death by 89% if given to high-risk adults within a few days of their first symptoms. Pfizer hopes it can eventually offer the pills for people to take at home before they get sick enough to go to the hospital.

4. Trump taxes

A federal judge yesterday threw out Trump’s lawsuit seeking to keep his tax returns from Congress, ruling that the Treasury Department could disclose them to the House committee that requested them more than two years ago. US District Judge Trevor McFadden — a Trump appointee — said in his opinion that Trump was “wrong on the law,” as a “long line of Supreme Court cases requires great deference to facially valid congressional inquiries.” McFadden also put the opinion on hold for 14 days to give Trump the chance to file his expected appeal.

5. Haiti

More than 60 people were killed and dozens injured after a tanker truck carrying gasoline exploded late Monday in Cap-Haitien, Haiti’s second-largest city. The situation remains critical, Deputy Mayor Patrick Almonor said yesterday has he appealed for blood donations. The fuel tanker exploded after it had stopped due to mechanical issues and began leaking gas, Almonor said. People gathered to collect fuel directly from the truck when the explosion happened, he said. Haiti, often ranked as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, has been crippled by a severe fuel shortage that has led to power outages and protests.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Surprise! Holiday packages are moving on time

A rare piece of holiday cheer in a year of screwed-up supply chains.

A hockey game giveaway had teachers scrambling for cash 

Critics compared the stunt to “Squid Game.”

Malta will become the 1st country in Europe to legalize cannabis for recreational use

No, pot is not actually legal in the Netherlands, despite what your college roommate told you.

Harley-Davidson is spinning off its electric motorcycle brand

“Get your battery charging! Head out on the highway!”

Art trader accidentally sells an NFT for a fraction of market price

The “Bored Ape” NFT was worth nearly $300,000, but a distracted human sold it for less than $3,000.

HAPPENING LATER

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is due to give an update on monetary policy today at the conclusion of the Fed’s two-day meeting. He may announce the central bank will end its pandemic-era stimulus sooner than expected.

TODAY’S NUMBER

9.6%

That’s how much a key measure of inflation rose over the 12 months ending in November as pandemic-era supply chain headaches and a labor shortage continued. It’s the biggest jump on record for the producer price index and follows last week’s reading of inflation at the consumer level, which rose by 6.8% over the same period — a level not seen since 1982.

TODAY’S QUOTE

“I’ve seen war zones, I’ve seen absolute destruction, and nothing compared to it.”

Shawn Triplett, a Mayfield, Kentucky resident and former Marine who served three tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Triplett is organizing a donation drive through social media to purchase gifts for those in need after a devastating tornado wiped out most of the town.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

Candy cane confidential

Christmas is just 10 days away! Take a look at how one holiday staple is made. (Click here to view.)

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