The ongoing debate over a COVID-19 stimulus package at the federal level continues. As this war wages on throughout Capitol Hill, President Donald Trump is poised to sign an executive order designed to get the COVID-19 vaccine in as many American arms as possible.
Here is a look at the headlines dominating the political and COVID-19 landscape early this week.Read More »
The Trump administration came under fire on Monday when the New York Times reported that the White House turned down an offer from Pfizer last summer to provide the nation with more doses of the vaccine. Now that Pfizer is likely going to be the first pharmaceutical company to receive authorization for its vaccine, the doses are expected to be in short supply.
House and Senate to Vote Wednesday to Keep Government Open: Both the House and Senate are set to vote this week for a one-week extension to keep the government afloat until a more detailed budget plan can be worked out. The previous deadline had been set for December 11. However, now that the date is quickly approaching, lawmakers are going to vote for an extra week of time to give negotiators one more week to work out an agreement. At the same time, Congress hopes to package the government spending package with a pandemic stimulus bill.
As of now, the government will run out of funding on December 11. In addition, many of the prior COVID-19 protection measures are set to expire at the end of the year. According to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, the House will vote on Wednesday on a one-week extension to keep the government running. Likewise, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the Senate hopes to also pass the stopgap resolution to deliver more time for lawmakers to simultaneously work on both the government funding and the COVID-19 stimulus package.
Georgia Declares Biden Winner of Peach State Yet Again: Facing mounting pressure from the Trump team of lawyers, election officials in the state of Georgia once again affirmed President-elect Joe Biden as the winner of their 16 electoral votes. According to the Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Georgians should feel confident that all of the votes were counted fairly and accurately.
Ever since the November election, Trump has alleged sweeping instances of voter fraud. However, his legal team has yet to turn up any credible evidence to back up their claims. This latest certification means that it is impossible for Biden to not come away with the state’s electoral votes ahead of the December 14 Electoral College vote. Biden narrowly won the state by a little over 12,000 total votes. In doing so, he became the first Democrat since Bill Clinton in 1992 to win the state.
Pompeo Scheduled to Give Speech on Wednesday in Georgia: In an unconventional move, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to give a speech on Wednesday at Georgia Tech University. According to the State Department, the speech will focus on how China could be construed as a threat to national security and academic freedom.
As the nation’s top diplomat, Pompeo has repeatedly come under fire from Democrats for abusing his position to promote domestic policies and issues within his party. Most recently, he was sharply criticized for delivering a speech via satellite to the Republican National Convention while on official State business in Jerusalem.
Melania Trump Presides Over Opening of New White House Tennis Pavilion: The office of first lady Melania Trump announced the completion of the official White House tennis pavilion on Monday. The construction of the pavilion was originally announced in October 2019.
The facility is located on the South Lawn near the spot where former first lady Michelle Obama had commissioned the White House Kitchen Garden. The pavilion was financed by a private donation made to the Trust for the National Mall. Critics of the Trump administration say that this is not the time to be promoting a luxury such as a tennis pavilion at the White House.
Biden Announces Health Team: The big news of the day Monday for the Biden transition team was the announcement of his health team. These staff members will be immediately thrust into the public eye as they take on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic from day one.
If confirmed, the team will be headed up by current California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as the secretary of Health and Human Services. Biden also nominated Dr. Vivek Murthy for the position of US surgeon general. Murthy has previously served in the same role under former President Barack Obama. And no stranger to the American public, Dr. Anthony Fauci has been tapped to serve as chief medical adviser to the president.
Biden Inauguration Team Considering Train Arrival for Inauguration: On a lighter note, Biden’s inauguration team is considering an Amtrak arrival for the incoming president on his Inauguration Day. The arrival would be a significant moment for the former senator who famously logged over 8,000 round trips on trains between Wilmington, Delaware, and Washington, DC. Because of this reputation, Biden earned the nickname of “Amtrak Joe.”
Arriving at his presidential inauguration on January 20 would be a full-circle moment for both Biden and his entire family. Biden has previously launched various campaigns at the train station and credits the mode of transportation for allowing him to balance his family life with his political obligations in Washington over the years.
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