• How are Biden, Durbin doing on judicial picks? They’re off to a fast start, but harder tasks may await, Greg Hinz notes.
• Garcia blasts high airline fees: U.S. Rep. Chuy Garcia takes another run at legislation he says will protect flyers from corporate price gouging. Also on Capitol Hill: Rep. Mike Quigley wants more help for Ukraine, and Rep. Jan Schakowsky and Sean Casten make and get endorsements.
• COVID crisis threatens holiday season as hospitals overflow: The U.S. is sailing toward a holiday crisis. Illinois, for one, had 3,178 COVID hospitalizations as of Wednesday, the highest since January. Six of the state’s 11 regions had 20 or fewer intensive-care beds available.
• Consumer prices climb at fastest annual rate since 1982: The news magnified how rapid and persistent inflation is eroding paychecks and increasing pressure on the Fed to tighten policy.
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