1/ Joe Manchin signaled concerns about inflation and the cost and structure of the Democrats’ $1.7 trillion climate and social spending bill ahead of a phone call with Biden on the bill. Manchin, objecting to the way the entire bill is constructed, indicated that he’s concerned that the Build Back Better legislation relies on temporary spending that will likely become permanent, which – he says – hides the true costs over 10 years. “Inflation is real, it’s not transitory,” Manchin said. “It’s alarming. It’s going up, not down. And I think that should be something we’re concerned about.” Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, is pressing for the Senate to adopt the bill by Christmas. Manchin, however, hasn’t committed to the timeline. (Politico / The Hill / CNN / Bloomberg / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal)
2/ The U.S. surpassed 800,000 Covid-19 deaths – more than any other nation. About 600,000 of the 800,000 who have died so far have been 65 or older, and one in 100 older Americans has died from the coronavirus. For people younger than 65, the ratio is closer to 1 in 1,400. The total number of known coronavirus cases in the U.S. has surpassed 50 million. (New York Times / NBC News)
3/ The Supreme Court denied an emergency request to block New York’s coronavirus vaccine mandate for health care workers, doctors, and nurses. The legal challenge was filed by a group of 20 doctors and nurses who argued that the vaccine mandate violated the First Amendment because it allowed for medical objections exemptions but not for people with religious objections. Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Clarence Thomas dissented, with Gorsuch criticizing New York Governor Kathy Hochul for saying in September that unvaccinated people “aren’t listening to God and what God wants” while defending the lack of a religious exemption. (CNBC / CNN / Bloomberg)
4/ Mark Meadows turned over a PowerPoint presentation suggesting that Trump could declare a national security emergency in order to delay the certification of the 2020 election to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. A version of the PowerPoint, which spanned 38 pages and was titled “Election fraud, Foreign Interference and Options for 6 JAN,” was sent to Meadows on Jan. 5, and recommended that Trump declare a national emergency, seize paper ballots, and for all electronic voting to be rendered invalid, citing foreign “control” of electronic voting systems. Phil Waldron, a retired U.S. Army colonel who worked with Trump’s outside lawyers and circulated the proposals to challenge the 2020 election, said that he visited the White House on multiple times after the election, spoke with Meadows “maybe eight to 10 times,” and briefed several members of Congress on the eve of the Jan. 6 riot. Waldron, however, said he did not personally send the document to Trump’s former chief of staff. Meadows also sent an email on Jan. 5 saying the National Guard would be present at the Capitol on Jan. 6 to “protect pro Trump people,” according to a report from the House committee. It’s unclear, however, who Meadows sent the message to. (New York Times / The Guardian / Washington Post / Rolling Stone / NBC News / Politico / CNN)
5/ The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob said it had “no choice” but to advance criminal contempt proceedings against Mark Meadows after he decided to no longer cooperate with their investigation. The committee is scheduled to vote Monday night on holding Meadows in contempt, and the House will likely vote later this week to approve the resolution. Meadows would be the third of Trump’s associates to face criminal prosecution under the Justice Department for defying a subpoena. (Associated Press / CNN / NBC News / Washington Post / CNBC)
6/ Former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro refused to comply with a Congressional subpoena for documents related to the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus. Navarro said Trump ordered him not to turn over documents or share information about the White House coronavirus response, citing a “direct order” to claim executive privilege. The subcommittee gave Navarro until Dec. 15 to sit for a deposition and demanded again that he turn over relevant documents. Navarro served as one of Trump’s pandemic response advisers and warned the White House in a Jan. 2020 memo that the virus could become a “full-blown pandemic.” (Washington Post / CNN / Bloomberg)
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