Beyond negotiations over Covid-19 relief and the terms of former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial (more on those in a minute), Biden’s team is moving toward additional confirmation hearings for his Cabinet — and pressing ahead with policy changes by executive action.
- Regional migration and border processing
- The US refugee policy
- The establishment of a family reunification task force
- An immediate review of the Public Charge Rule
Agriculture Secretary nominee Tom Vilsack’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Agriculture Committee is also scheduled for Tuesday.
Wednesday, February 3
Biden’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency, Michael Regan, is set to have his own confirmation hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Thursday, February 4
Biden’s nominee for labor secretary, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, has his confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
Friday, February 5
Labeled “Jobs Day” at the White House, Psaki said Biden will deliver remarks about the economy.
- The senators said their framework includes a total of $160 billion for vaccine development and distribution, testing and tracing, and treatment and supplies, including the production and deployment of personal protective equipment.
- It would also include a new round of direct payments for “families who need assistance the most,” extend enhanced federal unemployment benefits at the current level and provide $4 billion to bolster behavioral health and substance abuse.
The Republican proposal represents the most significant response yet to the White House’s planned package, though with a price tag more than a trillion dollars less than the Democratic plan, the GOP proposal will likely face opposition from congressional Democrats.
But Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said that he thinks there are enough Democratic votes to pass Biden’s relief package through a process known as reconciliation.
The political reality: Any bipartisan plan will likely lose votes on the Democratic side, meaning for every progressive senator against the proposal, they’d need another Republican supporting it. Still, this idea of putting two plans side by side is one that aides and members have been discussing for several days as a way to force the conversation back to a bipartisan place.
Legal drama for Trump
CNN’s Gloria Borger, Kaitlan Collins, Jeff Zeleny and Ashley Semler were first to report: Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier, who were expected to be two of the lead attorneys, are no longer on the team. A source familiar with the changes said it was a mutual decision for both to leave the legal team. As the lead attorney, Bowers assembled the team.
- Josh Howard, a North Carolina attorney who was recently added to the team, has also left, according to another source familiar with the changes.
- Johnny Gasser and Greg Harris, from South Carolina, are no longer involved with the case, either.
The US Covid-19 death numbers are still horrific. A rapid variant spread could push our numbers even higher. And vaccine skepticism remains a looming issue.
But for the first time in a long time, there is also some real reason for hope.
The agency said public transportation operators must use best efforts to enforce the mandate, including only boarding those wearing masks and disembarking passengers who refuse to comply.