Happy Wednesday! Whatever you have to do today, do it with the enthusiasm of Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer explaining how many toilets and urinals there’ll be in the team’s new arena.
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
- Two of the four American citizens kidnapped by a drug cartel in Matamoros, Mexico, on Friday were found dead yesterday, with Mexican authorities rescuing the two survivors from a wooden shack where they were being held. The survivors returned to U.S. soil on Tuesday, and one was being treated for a major gunshot wound to his leg. They had originally crossed the border for one member of the party to receive cosmetic surgery from a doctor in Matamoros.
- In remarks before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell confirmed that—following a series of hot economic readings—central bankers are prepared to raise interest rates even higher than previously forecast in their quest to cool inflation. “The process of getting inflation back down to 2 percent has a long way to go and is likely to be bumpy,” Powell said. The Nasdaq, Dow, and S&P 500 each fell at least 1.25 percent on Tuesday.
- The Biden administration announced Tuesday it would back the bipartisan RESTRICT Act, a bill—introduced by Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia and GOP Sen. John Thune of South Dakota—to give the executive branch the power to ban foreign technologies if it’s decided they pose a national security threat. The measure would empower the commerce secretary to make a judgment about the threat level of a given technology, and, if the legislation is passed, could set the stage for the Biden administration to ban the Chinese-owned video app TikTok.
- The Justice Department—joined by the attorneys general of Massachusetts, Washington, D.C., and New York—filed suit on Tuesday to block JetBlue Airways’ $3.8 billion acquisition of budget Spirit Airlines, arguing it would reduce competition and increase prices for cost-conscious consumers. The Department of Transportation said it “fully supports” the complaint, adding it will deny the airlines’ request to operate as a single carrier prior to the merger.
- Gigi Sohn, chosen by President Joe Biden to serve on the Federal Communications Commission, withdrew her nomination on Tuesday, citing “unrelenting, dishonest, and cruel attacks” from “cable and media industry lobbyists.” Sohn was first picked for the role in October 2021, but her nomination stalled due to bipartisan concerns over her previous displays of partisanship. Biden renominated Sohn for the tie-breaking seat on the FCC in January, but Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said earlier Tuesday he would not vote to confirm her.
- Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government released a plan on Tuesday during the ongoing session of the National People’s Congress that would overhaul the Chinese bureaucracy, cutting the number of central government employees by 5 percent and redistributing them to other areas of government. The Chinese government also plans to establish a new agency to regulate and manage the country’s data resources, taking over overlapping competencies from other bureaus.
- Six Palestinians were killed—and dozens more injured—in clashes during an Israeli army raid in the West Bank city of Jenin targeting the suspected Hamas gunman accused of killing two young Israeli brothers last month.
‘They Were Peaceful, They Were Orderly And Meek’
Just over two years ago, once the rioters had been cleared from the Capitol and lawmakers had returned to the House floor to complete their constitutional duties, then-House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stood up to deliver a speech. “The violence, destruction, and chaos we saw earlier was unacceptable, undemocratic, and un-American,” he told both his colleagues and the nation. “It was the saddest day I’ve ever had serving as a member of this institution.”
January 6, 2021, may very well still be McCarthy’s saddest day in Congress, but it’s no longer his most pathetic.
The House speaker was swarmed by reporters Tuesday evening, all with one question in mind: Did he regret providing Tucker Carlson and his Fox News producers more than 40,000 hours of unfettered January 6 Capitol security footage to help them whitewash the events of two years ago? He did not. “No,” McCarthy told them. “I said at the very beginning, transparency. And so what I wanted to produce for everybody is exactly what I said. The people could actually look at it and see what’s gone on that day.” The speaker’s office did not respond to The Dispatch’s request for additional comment.