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In our news wrap Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told the Senate Finance Committee inflation will remain high, the Department of Homeland Security warns of potential new threats from domestic extremists, the World Bank lowered its economic outlook, Russia says it now controls most of Ukraine's Luhansk province, and an FDA advisory committee recommended approving Novavax's COVID vaccine.
The pressure is building on members of Congress this evening to act on gun violence. Democratic and Republican Senate leaders voiced hope today for a bipartisan bill after the massacres in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas.
At a Senate hearing on domestic terror, Garnell Whitfield testified about his mother, who died in the Buffalo attack.
Garnell Whitfield Jr., Son of Shooting Victim: I ask every one of you to imagine the faces of your mothers as you look at mine, and ask yourself, is there nothing that we can do?
Because, if there is nothing, then, respectfully, Senators, you should yield your positions of authority and influence to others that are willing to lead on this issue. The urgency of the moment demands no less.
The White House said President Biden is encouraged by developments in Congress.
We will return to this after the news summary.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is warning of potential new threats from domestic extremists. In a statement today, the department said — quote — "Several high-profile events could be exploited to justify acts of violence." It cited an impending Supreme Court decision on abortion, migrant border crossings and the midterm elections.
The World Bank today lowered sharply its future economic outlook. It forecasts growth of just under 3 percent this year. The January forecast had projected more than 4 percent growth. The bank pointed to the war in Ukraine and two inflation, among other factors.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says that she expects U.S. inflation to remain high for some time, but she says President Biden's policies are not to blame. Yellen appeared today before the Senate Finance Committee.
Republican Steve Daines focused on last year's American Rescue Plan, the giant pandemic relief package.
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT):
Do you agree with the San Francisco Fed that the nearly $2 trillion March spending package was a significant causal factor in the high, increasingly broad-based and accelerating inflation that we observed this past year?
Janet Yellen, U.S. Treasury Secretary:
Senator, we're seeing high inflation in almost all developed countries around the world. And they have very different fiscal policies.
So it can't be the case that the bulk of the inflation that we're experiencing reflects the impact of the ARP.
Inflation in the U.S. is now running at 40-year highs.
It has been a busy day for voters in seven states with a long list of federal, state and local election contests. California is featuring two high-profile races. In Los Angeles, two Democrats, progressive Congresswoman Karen Bass and billionaire Rick Caruso, lead a 12-candidate field in the mayor's race. And San Francisco district attorney Chesa Boudin faces a recall vote amid mounting public anger over crime.
In Ukraine, Russia's military claimed that it now controls nearly all of Luhansk province in the east, including much of the city of Severodonetsk. In a video message, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that his forces urgently need help to push the Russians back.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukrainian President (through translator):
In order to advance, it requires at least 10 times more military equipment and at least 10 times more people, right? We have more desire, but we still have less military equipment. Therefore, we cannot move forward very strongly.
Overall, Russian forces now occupy about 20 percent of Ukraine's territory.
Back in this country, an FDA advisory committee recommended approving the COVID vaccine made by Novavax, and they referred it to the CDC. Novavax is using a more traditional manufacturing process than other COVID vaccine makers. Public health officials say they hope that that can win over skeptics.
And on Wall Street, tech and oil stocks led the way, as major indexes gained about 1 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 264 points to close at 33180. The Nasdaq rose 114 points. The S&P 500 added 39.
Still to come on the "NewsHour": recently disclosed Vatican documents show a secret back channel between Pope Pius XII and Adolf Hitler; writer and director George Stevens Jr. reflects on his life in Hollywood and Washington in a new memoir; plus much more.
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