Deep Dive (Dec. 17): Sen. Manchin Calls Rising Inflation ‘Alarming’

President Joe Biden officially acknowledges Build Back Better (BBB) will miss the Christmas deadline but says he’s determined to see the bill on the Senate floor “as early as possible.” Biden says his team is still in talks with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and that he still thinks the bill will eventually pass. Biden said in a written statement, “We will advance this work together over the days and weeks ahead,” adding “Leader Schumer and I are determined to see the bill successfully on the floor as early as possible.” This comes as Manchin has constantly expressed fears over the potentially-disastrous financial effects of the BBB Act since September. He notes particularly the risk that it will further increase inflation, which has gone up around 7 percent over the last 12 months. He said, “Inflation is real, it’s not transitory,” adding, “It’s alarming. It’s going up, not down. And I think that should be something we’re concerned about.”

Air travel is ticking up as the industry prepares for what it expects to be a busy holiday season. The TSA screened over 2 million people on Thursday. It says a total of 20 to 21 million people will fly between Dec. 23 and Jan. 3. United Airlines believes its busiest time will be between now and next Thursday.

Over 60,000 Afghan visa applicants remain in Afghanistan. Of those, the State Department says 33,000 have cleared vetting requirements and are eligible for evacuation. The remaining 29,000 visa applicants are in earlier stages. These numbers don’t include family members. This comes as the Pentagon decides no U.S. troops will be punished over a botched drone strike that killed 10 civilians. Following a review of the strike, the heads of Central Command and Special Operations Command were asked to make recommendations to improve defense department policies and procedures.

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