Start your day here: COVID deaths hit an ominous milestone; Congress raises the debt ceiling; Kronos hack could disrupt payroll for weeks

Published December 15, 2021 at 7:46 AM EST
Congressional Moment Of Silence Held For 800,000 American Lives Lost To COVID-19
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Lawmakers participate in a moment of silence at the Capitol on Tuesday for the 800,000 American lives lost to COVID-19.

Good morning,

Here's what we're following today:

COVID-19 deaths: The U.S. reaches a once-unimaginable 800,000 total confirmed deaths. Some college campuses are returning to remote classes and other measures to fight off a surge in infections.

Debt-ceiling increase: Congress voted almost entirely along party lines to raise the nation's spending limit to allow the government to avoid default until early 2023, leaving the issue to whichever party is in charge after the midterms.

A ransomware attack in HR: Employers ranging from Tesla to NPR to New York's transit system are scrambling to find other ways to pay workers as the HR management service Ultimate Kronos Group says a hack has knocked it out, possibly for weeks.

🎧 Also on Up First, our daily podcast, a D.C. official sued two extremist groups over the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

— The Morning Edition live blog team

(Rachel Treisman, Carol Ritchie, Nell Clark and Chris Hopkins)