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AP
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President Joe Biden is holding a rare news conference at the one-year mark in his presidency to try to talk anxious Americans through the challenges of delivering on his lengthy to-do list. It's been a year defined by lofty ambitions and at-times frustrating shortfalls. In advance of the Wednesday afternoon news conference, Biden gave no indication that he felt a reset was in order. But his appearance is playing out on the same day that prolonged Democratic efforts to overhaul the nation’s voter laws appear set to go down in flames on Capitol Hill and as Biden’s massive social spending package remains stalled.   

AP
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Prices paid by U.S. consumer jumped 7% in December from a year earlier, the highest inflation rate since 1982 and the latest evidence that rising costs for food, gas, rent and other necessities are heightening the financial pressures on America’s households. Inflation has spiked during the recovery from the pandemic recession as Americans have ramped up spending on goods such as cars, furniture and appliances. Those increased purchases have clogged ports and warehouses and exacerbated supply shortages of semiconductors and other parts.  

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High inflation is taking a toll on American families. That acknowledgment comes from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell in remarks to be delivered at a Tuesday congressional hearing, where he is sure to face tough questions on the subject. The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing on Powell’s nomination to a second four-year term. Powell’s nomination is likely to be approved with bipartisan support. But members of Congress are sure to interrogate Powell on whether the Fed can successfully take steps to rein in inflation without slowing the economy so much that it falls into recession. 

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Police body-camera video shows a harrowing rescue in California, where a small plane crashed on railroad tracks shortly after takeoff from a suburban Los Angeles airfield. The Federal Aviation Administration says the Cessna crashed Sunday afternoon and a commuter train came roaring roaring through just minutes later. Luckily a police station was only blocks away, and four officers disentangled the bloodied pilot from the cockpit moments before the train smashed the plane to pieces. A police sergeant who joined the rescue says he requested for the train to be stopped, but that there may not have been enough time.

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U.S. employers added a modest 199,000 jobs last month while the unemployment rate fell sharply, at a time when businesses are struggling to fill jobs, with many Americans remaining reluctant to return to the workforce. The Labor Department said Friday that the nation’s unemployment rate fell to a healthy 3.9% from 4.2% in November.  

AP
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The Biden administration is distributing an additional $4.5 billion in funds to help low-income Americans cover heating costs during a second pandemic winter, with cold-weather states receiving the largest share. That's according to a state-by-state breakdown of funds being distributed under the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. The funding boost is part of last year's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. President Joe Biden’s administration on Friday also announced commitments from seven major utility companies across the country to guarantee no shutoffs for customers seeking assistance and to identify and notify recipients eligible for government aid. The Associated Press obtained an advance copy of the state allocation breakdown.