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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.   

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The House panel investigating the U.S. Capitol insurrection has requested an interview and records from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. He says he will not cooperate, claiming the investigation is not legitimate and accusing the panel of “abuse of power.” The committee is seeking first-hand details from members of Congress on former President Donald Trump’s actions as hundreds of his supporters brutally beat police, stormed the building and interrupted the certification of the 2020 election. Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, Democratic chairman of the panel, requested Wednesday that McCarthy provide information to the nine-member panel regarding his conversations with Trump “before, during and after” the riot. 

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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.  

AP
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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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Gov. Andy Beshear has signed legislation pushing back this year’s filing deadline for political candidates in Kentucky. It's a necessary step as lawmakers rush to finish redistricting. The measure shifts the filing deadline to Jan. 25 for this year only. Without the quick legislative action, the filing deadline would have been Friday —  coming before the new legislative and congressional maps take effect. Lawmakers are hoping to wrap up redistricting work Saturday by sending the measures to the governor. The bill resetting the filing deadline cleared the Republican-dominated legislature on Thursday. The bill took effect after the governor's signature.

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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.