5 things to know Tuesday

Fed could take action to tame inflation

The Federal Reserve has kept its key short-term lending rate near zero since the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a deep recession in March 2020. But with inflation surging to a 39-year high, those days of nearly free money likely are nearing an end. At a two-day meeting that begins Tuesday, officials are expected to rapidly reduce the amount of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities the Fed has been buying, which would clear the way for interest rate increases as early as March, economists say. Fed rate hikes typically mean Americans will pay a little more for everything from mortgages and car loans to credit card bills and student loans, curbing consumer demand – which in turn should mean more modest price increases.

House Rules Committee to set rules for debate on Meadows contempt citation

The House Rules Committee will meet Tuesday to set rules for floor debate on the contempt citation for former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. On Monday, the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection voted unanimously to recommend the House cite Meadows for contempt for defying a subpoena and urged the Justice Department to pursue criminal charges. Meadows provided some documents to the committee before refusing to testify under subpoena. His lawyer, George Terwilliger, urged the panel not to pursue contempt charges because Meadows was under orders from former President Donald Trump, who sought to keep his communications confidential under executive privilege. Lawmakers want to ask about texts from lawmakers and Fox News hosts urging Trump to call off the mob.

Children in NYC will need proof of vaccination for most indoor activities

In New York City, children ages 5-11 will be required to have proof of vaccination for most indoor activities starting Tuesday. And beginning Dec. 27, city residents ages 12 and older participating in public indoor activities will be required to show proof they have been fully vaccinated. The city is also mandating all private sector employees be vaccinated by year’s end. “Omicron is here, it’s all over the country,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday. “This variant moves fast. We have to move faster.” The city’s precautions come a day after a mask mandate in all indoor public places took effect in the state of New York, unless businesses or venues implement a vaccine requirement for entry. Since Thanksgiving, COVID-19 cases have surged statewide by more than 43%. 

Parents of Oxford school shooting suspect to appear in court

The parents of the Oxford school shooting suspect, Jennifer and James Crumbley, are scheduled to appear in court Tuesday, charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter each. A day earlier, their son Ethan Crumbley, 15, appeared in court for a probable cause conference. During that appearance, a judge denied his lawyers’ request to transfer him out of an adult jail — where his parents are also being held — and into a juvenile facility. Ethan Crumbley has been charged as an adult with first-degree murder and terrorism causing death stemming from the shooting on Nov. 30 that left four students dead and seven others injured at Oxford High School, about 30 miles north of Detroit. All three Crumbleys have pleaded not guilty.

‘Brightest comet this year’ can be seen with the naked eye 

Beginning Tuesday, the newly-found comet Leonard will be viewable in the night sky and for a few days, no binoculars or telescopes will be needed to see it. The comet won’t be the most spectacular one ever but will be “the brightest comet this year,” Robert Lunsford, of the American Meteor Society, told USA TODAY. Astrophysicist and founder of The Virtual Telescope Project, Gianluca Masi, said Leonard is a long-period comet, meaning it doesn’t come around often. In fact, the comet hasn’t passed by Earth in over 70,000 years, and after it passes by the sun, it will be ejected from our solar system, never to be seen on Earth again.

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