On his first full day in office, President Biden plans to view a virtual version of the traditional inaugural prayer service before delivering remarks on a new national strategy to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, the early focus of his new administration.
Biden’s nominee for transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg, will become the latest Cabinet nominee to receive a Senate confirmation hearing. And maneuvering continues over the timing and scope of a Senate impeachment trial of former president Donald Trump.
Negotiations are expected to continue Thursday over the timing and scope of a Senate trial for Trump, who was impeached last week by the House on a charge of “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the Jan. 6 takeover of the Capitol by a violent mob.
Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have been talking about the trial as part of broader talks about power sharing in a chamber now evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is expected to be pressed Thursday at a weekly news conference about when she plans to transmit the article of impeachment to the Senate. That move will initiate a trial.
Biden has voiced a desire that the Senate continue to focus on his priorities, including confirmation of Cabinet nominees and combating the coronavirus, at the same time as it conducts a trial.
Publicly, Biden aides have said he will leave it to lawmakers to decide how to hold Trump accountable, including whether the former president should be barred from seeking federal office again.
The House plans to vote Thursday on legislation granting Biden’s defense secretary nominee, retired Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, a waiver to a requirement that those who hold the position be out of the military for at least seven years.
The waiver, which requires approval by both the House and Senate, is an additional hurdle to Austin’s confirmation by the Senate, which is expected.
After Trump’s election in 2016, lawmakers voted to approve a waiver for Jim Mattis, another former commander who had been retired for less than seven years, as defense secretary — only the second time such an exception had been granted. But some Democrats voiced discomfort with the move, fretting that it would undermine the U.S. tradition of civilian control of the military.
The House waiver is sponsored by Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
“While I initially had concerns about the nomination of another recently retired general, secretary-designate Austin has reinforced his understanding of the role civilian control of our military plays in the safety and security of our democracy and is committed to upholding this cherished principle,” Smith said upon introducing the legislation.
At his Senate confirmation hearing this week, Austin said he understands that being a civilian member of the president’s Cabinet requires a different perspective and unique duties from a career in uniform,” Austin said.
Missy Ryan and Paul Sonne contributed to this report.
Pete Buttigieg, a young, former Midwestern mayor with a national profile, will make his pitch Thursday to the Senate committee weighing his nomination to become Biden’s transportation secretary.
Winning the job would continue the rapid rise of the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., who amassed supporters in the Democratic presidential primaries before dropping out and endorsing Biden.
In an opening statement prepared for his hearing Thursday morning before the Senate Commerce Committee, Buttigieg pointed to a “bipartisan appetite for a generational opportunity to transform and improve America’s infrastructure.” He also planned to say that “good transportation policy can play no less a role than making possible the American Dream,” by moving people and goods while also generating jobs.
On his first full day in office, Biden plans to watch a virtual version of the traditional inaugural prayer service hosted by Washington National Cathedral before turning his attention to his administration’s strategy to combat the coronavirus.
Biden plans to watch with first lady Jill Biden, according to the White House. Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, also plan to view the proceedings.
The interfaith service at Washington National Cathedral, which will be virtual this year, is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. and will be live-streamed. The tradition of an interfaith service goes back to the inauguration of George Washington.
This year’s service is also scheduled to include remarks from a who’s who of faith leaders associated with liberal causes, including the Rev. William J. Barber II, a North Carolina preacher and anti-poverty crusader, who will deliver the homily.
Later Thursday, Biden plans to deliver remarks on a new national strategy to respond to the pandemic and to take executive actions intended to make tests and vaccines more abundant, schools and travel safer, and states better able to afford their role in returning to normal life.
He also plans to be briefed by a team of advisers on the pandemic.
Biden plans Thursday to issue a new national strategy to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and to take executive actions intended to make tests and vaccines more abundant, schools and travel safer, and states better able to afford their role in returning to normal life.
On his second day in office, aides said, Biden will sign an additional 10 executive orders, plus presidential memorandums, dealing with many aspects of the public health crisis that the new president has defined as his top priority.
They include the creation of a Pandemic Testing Board that can spur a “surge” in the capacity for coronavirus tests. Other orders will foster research into new treatments for covid-19, the disease caused by the virus; strengthen the collection and analysis of data to shape the government’s response to the crisis; and direct the federal occupational safety agency to release and enforce guidelines to protect workers from getting infected.
Anthony S. Fauci, the chief medical adviser to Biden, praised the leadership of the World Health Organization on Thursday in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic, a dramatic departure from the attitude of the previous U.S. administration.
Hours after taking office, Biden signed directives to reengage with the WHO and join its effort to distribute coronavirus vaccines around the world, reversing the position of the Trump administration, which repeatedly criticized the U.N. agency.
Fauci, who is also the United States’ top infectious-disease expert, led the U.S. delegation to the group’s executive board meeting and confirmed Biden’s decision, which includes honoring financial obligations to the cash-strapped health body.
During “Celebrating America,” a 90-minute prime-time special that aired on most broadcast and cable news networks, A-list musicians appeared to sing some of their most famous songs (and cover some even more famous songs) — and Biden and Harris arrived to address the nation. Here are 10 thing you missed from the telecast.
Stephen Colbert shed plenty of tears on Wednesday, he confessed to “Late Show” viewers, as he always does when he feels happy. But he had little to relish while watching Trump depart the White House that morning.
“It was extremely emotional, and not entirely in the way that I expected,” Colbert said during a special live monologue. “I have zero gloat in me. There is no end zone dance here. What I feel is enormous relief.”
That long-awaited release, though, did not mean the punchlines were over just yet.
Standing in the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery alongside his two predecessors in the White House, former president Barack Obama noted that inaugurations are central to American democracy.
“Inaugurations signal a tradition of a peaceful transfer of power that is over two centuries old,” Obama said in a joint video released late Wednesday with former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Although Trump’s name was never uttered in the nearly three-minute clip, it served as an unsubtle rebuke to the latest member of the ex-presidents club, who has spent months torpedoing the norms surrounding the peaceful transfer of power.
Construction crews building the steel barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border were ordered to a halt Wednesday after President Biden delivered on a campaign promise and hit “pause” on the Trump administration’s signature infrastructure project.
Biden’s presidential proclamation rescinded the national emergency declaration used by President Donald Trump to divert about $10 billion from Defense Department accounts toward the barrier, one of the costliest federal infrastructure projects in U.S. history.
It directs private contractors to stop work “as soon as possible but in no case later than seven days,” while launching a full assessment of the project to determine whether its funding sources are legal and whether they can be allocated elsewhere.
One man convicted of health-care fraud is a longtime member of Trump’s golf club in Westchester, N.Y., and a former donor to Trump’s now-defunct personal charity.
Another who was convicted of involvement with an illegal sports gambling ring owns six condos in Trump Tower in New York.
A third, sentenced to 2½ years in prison for tax evasion, is the ex-husband of Fox News personality Jeanine Pirro, who used her weekly cable news show to pump up support for Trump’s presidency.
The final burst of pardons and commutations that Trump issued in his last hours in the White House punctuated one of the dominant themes of his administration: how he used the power of his office to benefit people with personal connections to him.
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