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Joseph R. Biden Jr. White House

On January 20, 2021, Joseph R. Biden Jr. became the 46 president of the United States of America this page is dedicated to tracking Joe Biden's time in the White House. Will republicans obstruct Biden the way they did Obama and then blame Biden for not getting anything done? One day into the Biden presidency and Republicans have already begun their obstruction tactics. Republicans obstruct democrats not to help the American people but to prevent democrats from helping Americans who need help so they can claim democrats are not doing anything for the Americans people.

Donald J. Trump failed to do his number one job protect Americans to protect Americans from the coronavirus over 400,000 Americans have died due to Trump's failures. How many of those dead Americans would still be alive if Trump had done the right thing and leveled with the American about how serious the coronavirus was? It is now up to Joe Biden to protect the American people from the damage Trump has done.

By Associated Press

President Joe Biden on Wednesday formally revoked a series of presidential orders and memorandum signed by Donald Trump, including one that sought to cut funding from several cities he deemed 'anarchist' havens and another mandating that federal buildings should be designed in a classical aesthetic. Since taking office last month, Biden has revoked dozens of Trump orders and issued dozens more of his own as he's sought to target foundational aspects of Trump's legacy and promote aspect of his own agenda without going through Congress. The latest slate of revocations targeted a grab-bag of issues, including a few that Trump signed in his last months in office. more...

The initiative comes nearly a year after the Trump administration first internally explored whether to send masks to every American.
By ADAM CANCRYN and RACHEL ROUBEIN

The Biden administration is planning to distribute millions of free face masks across the country to organizations serving people with low incomes, in a fresh effort to tamp down Covid-19 spread within vulnerable populations. The federal government will soon begin sending more than 25 million masks to community health centers, food pantries and soup kitchens, the administration said on Wednesday, with the goal of reaching as many as 15 million people with low incomes beginning in March and continuing through May. more...

The president seeks to determine whether American companies are relying too much on foreign suppliers, particularly those in China.
By GAVIN BADE

President Joe Biden will sign an executive order on Wednesday to review the global supply chains used by four key industries in an effort to avoid the shortages in medical equipment, semiconductors and other goods seen as critical during the pandemic. China reliance targeted: Biden’s order will institute 100-day reviews of the global producers and shippers for: computer chips used in consumer products; large-capacity batteries for electric vehicles; pharmaceuticals and their active ingredients; and critical minerals used in electronics. more...

During a virtual confab, the leaders of Canada and the U.S. pledged to work closely on multiple shared issues.
By LAUREN GARDNER

The president and the prime minister would like everyone to know that Canada and the U.S. are best friends again — though neither mentioned why the relationship had frayed. It was only a matter of time. They borrow each other’s catchphrases — “America/Canada is back” and “build back better” — and share policy priorities, like fighting climate change and racial inequality. Neither can stop talking about that dinner they had in Ottawa in 2016. video...

Each of the four sectors identified by the order will undergo a 100-day review to assess vulnerabilities and areas for improvement.
By Dartunorro Clark

President Joe Biden plans to sign an executive order Wednesday seeking to strengthen America's supply chains in several sectors to bolster the economy and protect workers, administration officials said. The executive order would strengthen supply chains for critical goods primarily in mainly four areas: pharmaceuticals, rare earth minerals, semiconductor chips and large-capacity batteries. Officials said the order was prompted, in part, by the widespread shortage of personal protective equipment and supply chain issues at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic during the Trump administration. The order is designed to supplement Biden's earlier executive order to promote products made in America to bolster American supply chains and make sure that critical materials are made in the U.S., an official said. "This order is the president's next steps in investing in American workers," the official said. more...

By NOMAAN MERCHANT

HOUSTON (AP) — A federal judge late Tuesday indefinitely banned President Joe Biden’s administration from enforcing a 100-day moratorium on most deportations. U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton issued a preliminary injunction sought by Texas, which argued the moratorium violated federal law and risked imposing additional costs on the state. Biden proposed the 100-day pause on deportations during his campaign as part of a larger review of immigration enforcement and an attempt to reverse the priorities of former President Donald Trump. Biden has proposed a sweeping immigration bill that would allow the legalization of an estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally. He has also instituted other guidelines on whom immigration and border agents should target for enforcement. more...

Congresswoman wades into debate amid growing concerns nominees from minority backgrounds are being singled out for harsh scrutiny
Ed Pilkington

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has stepped into the intensifying dispute around the treatment of women and people of color nominated to top jobs in the Biden administration, as the confirmation process in the US Senate begins to sour. The leftwing Democratic congresswoman waded into the debate amid growing concerns in progressive circles that Joe Biden’s nominees from minority backgrounds are being singled out for especially harsh scrutiny. Several women of color are facing daunting hurdles to confirmation with Republicans withholding backing and the Democratic majority in the Senate imperiled by the opposition of the conservative Democrat, Joe Manchin. The senator from West Virginia announced on Friday he would oppose the candidacy of Neera Tanden to become the first Asian American woman to fill the post of budget director. On Monday he also indicated that he was having doubts about Deb Haaland, who would become the first Native woman to take a cabinet seat. more...

Jeff Cox

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen issued a warning Monday about the dangers that bitcoin poses both to investors and the public. Despite a sharp slide in price to start the week, the cryptocurrency continues to trade above $53,000 as it has received boosts from various sources. Elon Musk’s Tesla recently made a substantial purchase and has said it will accept bitcoin for transactions. However, Yellen said there remain important questions about legitimacy and stability. “I don’t think that bitcoin … is widely used as a transaction mechanism,” she told CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin at a New York Times DealBook conference. “To the extent it is used I fear it’s often for illicit finance. It’s an extremely inefficient way of conducting transactions, and the amount of energy that’s consumed in processing those transactions is staggering.” more...

By ZEKE MILLER

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden announced changes Monday to target more federal pandemic assistance to the nation’s smallest businesses and ventures owned by women and people of color. Biden says a lot of these mom and pop businesses “got muscled out of the way” by larger businesses seeking federal money in the early days of the pandemic. He said changes taking effect Wednesday will provide long overdue aid to these smaller enterprises that he says are being “crushed” by the pandemic-driven economic downturn. “America’s small businesses are hurting, hurting badly and they need help now,” Biden said. more...

Jeff Cox

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen issued a warning Monday about the dangers that bitcoin poses both to investors and the public. Despite a sharp slide in price to start the week, the cryptocurrency continues to trade above $53,000 as it has received boosts from various sources. Elon Musk’s Tesla recently made a substantial purchase and has said it will accept bitcoin for transactions. However, Yellen said there remain important questions about legitimacy and stability. “I don’t think that bitcoin … is widely used as a transaction mechanism,” she told CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin at a New York Times DealBook conference. “To the extent it is used I fear it’s often for illicit finance. It’s an extremely inefficient way of conducting transactions, and the amount of energy that’s consumed in processing those transactions is staggering.” more...

President Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, calls the matter a ‘complete and utter outrage’
Jake Sullivan, national security adviser, said on Sunday: ‘We will not accept a long-term proposition where they continue to hold Americans in unjust and unlawful manner.’
Reuters in Washington

Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said on Sunday the US had begun to communicate with Iran over the detention of American citizens, calling the matter a “complete and utter outrage”. Iran has arrested dozens of dual nationals, including several Americans, in recent years, mostly on espionage charges. Human rights activists accuse Tehran of trying to use the detentions to win concessions from other countries, a charge it dismisses. Sullivan told CBS’s Face the Nation it was a “significant priority” to get those Americans “safely back home”. “We have begun to communicate with the Iranians on this issue,” he said. “We will not accept a long-term proposition where they continue to hold Americans in an unjust and unlawful manner.” more...

Martin Pengelly

At his Senate hearing on Monday, attorney general nominee Merrick Garland will pledge to prosecute “white supremacists and others” who attacked the US Capitol on 6 January, in support of Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn his election defeat. The pledge was contained in Garland’s opening testimony for the session before the Senate judiciary committee, released on Saturday night. “If confirmed,” Garland said, ‘I will supervise the prosecution of white supremacists and others who stormed the Capitol on 6 January – a heinous attack that sought to disrupt a cornerstone of our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power to a newly elected government.” Five people including a police officer died as a direct result of the attack on the Capitol, before which Trump told supporters to “fight like hell” against the result of the presidential election. Trump lost to Joe Biden by 306-232 in the electoral college and by more than 7m ballots in the popular vote. More than 250 participants in the Capitol riot have been charged. As NPR reported, “the defendants are predominantly white and male, though there were exceptions. more...

By Katelyn Polantz, CNN

(CNN) The Biden administration and the US House of Representatives said on Wednesday that they are negotiating over the testimony of former White House counsel Don McGahn about his time working under then-President Donald Trump, according to a new court filing. McGahn has been holding off the testimony for almost two years -- with the Trump-era Justice Department defending him -- as the House Judiciary Committee has sought and failed to force his appearance under a subpoena in an investigation of Trump's attempts to obstruct the Russia investigation following special counsel Robert Mueller's final report documenting obstruction. But the change in presidential administrations appears to be thawing the standoff between the branches of government. The shift in tone on McGahn Wednesday is one of the most significant signs of change thus far in how the executive branch under President Joe Biden may grapple with Trump's years-long refusal to cooperate with congressional investigations. The Trump administration prevented sharing of executive branch information subpoenaed by the Democratic-led House and blocked witnesses from the administration from testifying against the then-President. more...

By Lauren Fox, CNN

(CNN) Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin announced Friday he will vote against Neera Tanden, President Joe Biden's nominee for the director of the Office of Management and Budget, making her confirmation unlikely given Republican resistance to her nomination. Biden said, "No," when asked if he planned to pull Tanden's nomination because of Manchin's announcement, adding, "I think we're gonna find the votes to get her confirmed." In a brief statement, the moderate West Virginia Democrat said that Tanden's comments on Twitter about Republican colleagues, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent, had led him to doubt she was the right fit. more...

The United States formally rejoins the Paris Agreement today, after former President Trump withdrew from the treaty. President Biden has called climate change the "number one issue facing humanity," CBS News climate and energy reporter Cara Korte joins "CBSN AM" to talk about the significance of the world's second-biggest carbon emitter rejoining the global effort to address the climate crisis. video...

Heard on Morning Edition
Franco Ordoñez, Michele Kelemen

President Biden on Friday sought to turn the page on former President Donald Trump's "America First" ethos, declaring "America is back" and vowing to rebuild trust with European allies by working on challenges like arms control, COVID-19 and climate change. It was Biden's first speech since taking office aimed at an international audience. He spoke from the White House to a virtual crowd at the Munich Security Conference — a who's who of global national security officials — who he has met with many times in person over his decades in public life. "America is back, the transatlantic alliance is back, and we are not looking backward. We are looking forward together," Biden said. He called the partnership between Europe and the United States "the cornerstone of all we hope to accomplish in the 21st century." Biden didn't mention Trump by name, but alluded to his fights with NATO allies, and pledged his support to that alliance. "I know the past few years have strained and tested our transatlantic relationship, but the United States is determined — determined — to re-engage with Europe, to consult with you, to earn back our position of trust and leadership," he said. more...

By Jeremy Diamond and Kevin Liptak, CNN

(CNN)Seeking a sharp break from the "America First" policies of his predecessor -- which often manifested in bitter disagreements, escalating trade wars and rejection of the systems established to prevent conflict -- President Joe Biden on Friday reaffirmed the US position of global leadership, the power of its alliances and the resilience of democracy in the United States and abroad. When Biden last addressed the Munich Security Conference two years ago, he made a promise to a packed-in crowd at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof. "This too shall pass," Biden said in 2019, lamenting the isolationist turn the US took under then-President Donald Trump. "We will be back." On Friday, Biden made good. more...

Natasha Turak

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Iran and the U.S. are in a standoff. President Joe Biden’s administration wants to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, but is demanding to see changes from Tehran before it will lift the heavy sanctions imposed on the country by the Trump team. Meanwhile, Iran says it wants Washington to step up its game and make the first move, refusing to budge until those sanctions are lifted. But the Biden administration on Thursday took a major step, joining with European partners in offering to begin talks with the Iranians for the first time in four years. “The United States would accept an invitation from the European Union High Representative to attend a meeting ... to discuss a diplomatic way forward on Iran’s nuclear program,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement. more...

Alana Wise

President Biden said Friday he will sign a major disaster declaration that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is requesting, which would open up broader federal aid for immediate and long-term recovery efforts in the state, including for both individual needs and public infrastructure. Biden and Abbott spoke Thursday night regarding the response. Texas has been at the mercy of an unprecedented winter storm, which has left many of the state's residents without heat, power and potable water for several days. Several people, some homeless, have died in the freezing temperatures. Departing the White House for a trip to Michigan, the president told reporters he's asked the Department of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Defense to identify resources that could help the recovery in Texas. more...

Heard on Morning Edition
Franco Ordoñez, Michele Kelemen

President Biden on Friday is set to give his first speech since taking office that is aimed at an international audience. He will make his case for his plans to turn the page on former President Donald Trump's 'America First' ethos — and try to convince traditional allies that the United States is ready to work with them on issues ranging from arms control, COVID-19, cyber hacking and climate change. The address will be a "broad-ranging, confident clarion call to have the transatlantic partnership and alliance stand up and stand together to try to generate progress against the significant challenges that we face collectively," a senior administration official told reporters. Biden is set to address the Munich Security Conference at 11:15 a.m. ET, a who's who of global national security officials. Earlier, he will meet with G7 leaders about COVID-19. Both engagements are virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. more...

By AAMER MADHANI

WASHINGTON (AP) — Joe Biden will use his first big presidential moment on the global stage at Friday’s Group of Seven meeting of world leaders to announce that the U.S. will soon begin releasing $4 billion for an international effort to bolster the purchase and distribution of coronavirus vaccine to poor nations, White House officials said. Biden will also encourage G-7 partners to make good on their pledges to COVAX, an initiative by the World Health Organization to improve access to vaccines, according to a senior administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to preview Biden’s announcement. more...

The bill would create an expedited pathway for so-called Dreamers and other select undocumented immigrants, among other things.
By LAURA BARRÓN-LÓPEZ, HEATHER CAYGLE and ANITA KUMAR

Congressional Democrats unveiled President Joe Biden’s expansive immigration reform bill Thursday, which would provide an eight-year pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants. But it already faces dim prospects for becoming law with such narrow Democratic majorities in both chambers. The bill, introduced by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), would create an expedited pathway for so-called Dreamers and other select undocumented immigrants. It also would increase the number of available diversity visas, and direct more funding to immigration courts and technology. more...

By Joseph Choi

The State Department said on Thursday that the Biden administration is open to restarting discussions with European countries and Iran to begin the process of rejoining the 2015 Iran Nuclear agreement, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). “The United States would accept an invitation from the European Union High Representative to attend a meeting of the P5+1 and Iran to discuss a diplomatic way forward on Iran’s nuclear program,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement to The Hill. The statement from the State Department signals a next step to reversing a move by the former Trump administration to withdraw from the JCPOA. Former President Trump announced in 2018 that he would pull the U.S. out of the nuclear deal breaking with allies and fulfilling a campaign promise.  more...

Joel Rose

After four years of former President Trump's immigration crackdown, the Biden administration on Thursday announced new guidelines that are expected to sharply limit arrests and deportations carried out by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Under the guidance, ICE agents and officers have been told to prioritize the "most pressing threats" to national security and public safety when deciding whom to arrest, detain and deport. ICE officials said the guidance is intended to help the agency allocate its limited resources to cases the public cares about most. "By focusing our limited resources on cases that present threats to national security, border security, and public safety, our agency will more ably and effectively execute its law enforcement mission," ICE Acting Director Tae Johnson said in a statement. "Like every law enforcement agency at the local, state, and federal level, we must prioritize our efforts to achieve the greatest security and safety impact. more...

By Kathryn Watson

"I think we should be vaccinating teachers. We should move them up in the hierarchy," Mr. Biden added. Biden emphasized that support staff at schools should be on the list of preferred groups to get vaccinated. The White House and the CDC haven't always had their school reopening messaging on the same wavelength. Recently, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the CDC director was speaking in her "personal capacity" when she said vaccination of teachers isn't a prerequisite for safely reopening schools. Psaki eventually walked back that comment. more...

Aware of this emerging voter demo, the White House is hoping its agenda and relief bill will inoculate it against frustrations.
By CHRISTOPHER CADELAGO and NATASHA KORECKI

Distraught and exhausted parents are emerging as a new class of voters that could torment President Joe Biden — and the White House is moving quickly to head off the pain. Nearing a year into the pandemic, Biden’s advisers and allies recognize that they need to respond to the spiraling angst felt by families or risk driving them into the arms of waiting Republicans. It is a crucial test for Biden and Democrats as they try to consolidate their gains from the 2020 election. The pandemic has disrupted lives and exacerbated inequities and a raft of public and private surveys show clear political potholes and opportunities because of it. The coronavirus is spawning sweeping policy prescriptions from Democrats and Republicans alike, from billions in school reopening funds to the creation of a federal child allowance. And it’s prompting pollsters to loosely coin emerging voter demos like “women in chaos” and “families in crisis.” more...

Emma Newburger

President Joe Biden on Sunday called on Congress to strengthen gun laws on the third anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. “Today, as we mourn with the Parkland community, we mourn for all who have lost loved ones to gun violence,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House. The president called for several provisions including background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and eliminating legal immunity for gun manufacturers. “This Administration will not wait for the next mass shooting to heed that call. We will take action to end our epidemic of gun violence and make our schools and communities safer,” Biden said. “We owe it to all those we’ve lost and to all those left behind to grieve to make a change.” Fourteen students and three staff members were killed in the Parkland shooting. The student survivors started the March for Our lives movement in support of gun control legislation. more...

In first departure from Biden administration, Ducklo says he has ‘embarrassed and disappointed’ colleagues
Associated Press

White House deputy press secretary TJ Ducklo has resigned, the day after he was suspended for issuing a sexist and profane threat to a journalist inquiring about his relationship with another reporter. In a statement on Saturday, Ducklo said he was “devastated to have embarrassed and disappointed my White House colleagues and President Biden”. “No words can express my regret, my embarrassment and my disgust for my behavior,” he said. “I used language that no woman should ever have to hear from anyone, especially in a situation where she was just trying to do her job. It was language that was abhorrent, disrespectful and unacceptable.” It is the first departure from the new administration, less than a month into President Joe Biden’s tenure, and comes as the White House was facing criticism for not living up to standards set by Biden himself in their decision to retain Ducklo. During a virtual swearing-in for staff on inauguration day, Biden said “If you ever work with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I will fire you on the spot. No ifs, ands or buts.” more...

Democrats long complained the rules were illegal and aimed at shrinking health coverage for poor adults.
By ADAM CANCRYN

The Biden administration on Friday will notify states it plans to revoke Medicaid work requirements, starting the process of dismantling one of the Trump administration's signature health policies. The move is one of several steps that Biden’s health department is expected to take this week to unravel the contentious work rules long criticized by Democrats, according to internal documents obtained by POLITICO. The documents — which were labeled “close hold” — do not make clear how quickly Biden will cut off work rules the previous administration approved in a number of states, which for the first time were allowed to mandate that some people work or volunteer as a condition of enrollment in the low-income health care program. more...

Speaking to Xi Jinping, Biden planned to bring up human rights, China's economic policies and Hong Kong, officials said.
By Carol E. Lee

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping by phone Wednesday evening for the first time since he took office, the White House said. The White House said in a statement that Biden raised "fundamental concerns" about Beijing's "coercive and unfair economic practices, crackdown in Hong Kong, human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and increasingly assertive actions in the region, including toward Taiwan." The statement said the leaders also discussed countering the Covid-19 pandemic and "the shared challenges of global health security, climate change, and preventing weapons proliferation." Officials said Biden also planned to express his hope that the two leaders could cooperate on such issues as nuclear nonproliferation and climate change. more...

Lawyers and criminal justice advocates are pushing Biden to act swiftly. But Covid and the economy are pushing action back.
By ANITA KUMAR

When Joe Biden took office, he inherited the largest backlog of unresolved clemency cases in U.S. history: 14,000 people waiting to find out if their convictions would be erased or sentences reduced, or if they’d get any answer at all. Many of those 14,000 have languished in the system for years after Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, largely bypassed the century-old process for reviewing cases and instead granted pardons based on advice from politically connected friends, high-priced lobbyists and TV celebrities. more...

What was said between the two leaders is a great mystery, one that advisers to the current president say is imperative to find out.
By NATASHA BERTRAND and DANIEL LIPPMAN

Few Trump-era mysteries are as intriguing as what the 45th president said to Vladimir Putin in at least a dozen rambling, off-the-cuff calls and meetings over four years. Understanding what was said between the two could help illuminate whether Trump ever revealed sensitive information or struck any deals with the Kremlin leader that could take the new administration by surprise. Now that President Joe Biden is in the White House, he can see for himself. “They don’t need our approval to see those [records],” a former Trump White House official said, referring to the new Biden national security team. “Biden owns all the call materials. There is only one president at a time.” The Biden White House did not comment on whether it had seen the content of the calls. But so far, at least, the National Security Council has not registered any complaints with their ability to access relevant call records from the previous administration. more...

Scott Horsley

It was an apology tour of sorts. Neera Tanden instantly became one of President Biden's most polarizing Cabinet nominees when she was selected to head the Office of Management and Budget because of sharp-elbowed comments she had made about Republicans while running a left-leaning think tank. So at her confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Tanden was contrite, apologizing for her remarks. She also promised to work in a bipartisan manner if she's confirmed. "I do think the last several years have been very polarizing and I apologize for my language that has contributed to that," Tanden told members of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. "I know it's on me to demonstrate to this committee and to Republican members and Democratic members I can work with anyone." more...

Thomas Franck

President Joe Biden on Tuesday met with the chief executives of some of the country’s largest businesses in the Oval Office to discuss his $1.9 trillion Covid stimulus plan and the outlook for the American economy. Among those expected to meet with Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen are JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon, Walmart’s Doug McMillon, Gap’s Sonia Syngal, Lowe’s Marvin Ellison and Tom Donohue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Though the exact agenda of the afternoon meeting wasn’t immediately available, the White House said that the group will review the “critical need” for Biden’s massive rescue plan that’s currently making its way through Congress. Biden, shortly before the meeting, said that the group would talk about “the state of the economy, our recovery package. We’re going to talk a little bit — God willing — about infrastructure down the road and also about the minimum wage.” more...

It's the latest effort by the Biden administration to undo the Trump administration's immigration legacy on asylum-seekers.
By SABRINA RODRIGUEZ

The Biden administration has begun the process of ending agreements with El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala as part of its effort to undo Trump-era changes to the U.S. asylum system, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Saturday. The announcement means the termination of three asylum cooperative agreements that the U.S. signed in 2019 with each of the Central American countries to require migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. to first apply for protections in those countries. more...

The president predicted Senate rules would prevent the increase from going forward.
By MARIANNE LEVINE

President Joe Biden expressed doubt that his push to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour would be included in a final coronavirus relief package. In an interview excerpt with CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell released Friday, Biden predicted Senate rules would prevent the increase from going forward.  “My guess is it will not be in it,” he said. “I don’t think it is going to survive." Biden’s coronavirus relief plan included a provision that raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the chair of the Senate Budget Committee, has been leading the charge to move it forward in the Senate through the so-called reconciliation process, which essentially allows Democrats to pass a broader coronavirus relief package without GOP support. more...

Christian Nunley

President Joe Biden warned Moscow on Thursday that the United States will not hesitate to raise the cost on Russia and defend American interests in his first major foreign policy address since taking office. “I made it very clear to President Putin in a manner very different from my predecessor that the days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russian aggressive actions, interfering with our elections, cyberattacks, poisoning its citizens, are over,” Biden said. “We will not hesitate to raise the cost on Russia and defend our vital interests and our people, and we will be more effective in dealing with Russia when we work in coalition and coordination with other like minded partners,” the president said. more...

By Celine Castronuovo

The White House is reportedly looking at coordinating mask shipments directly to Americans as part of the latest effort by President Biden’s administration to curb the spread of COVID-19. NBC News first reported the plans Thursday, citing three people familiar with the discussions. The news outlet added that Biden’s COVID-19 response team is currently going over the logistics of delivering masks to American households. The plans have been discussed in several meetings among Biden’s health team in recent days, though no formal proposal has been delivered to Biden for approval, a White House official told NBC. more...

By Sunlen Serfaty and Maegan Vazquez, CNN

(CNN) President Joe Biden said at the start of his administration that family conflicts of interest would not be tolerated in his White House, but not two weeks into his presidency, his brother's actions as a part of his employment at a law firm in Florida are raising questions about how he'll implement that pledge. Francis "Frank" Biden, the President's brother, was hired as a non-attorney, senior adviser for Berman Law Group, a Boca Raton law firm in 2018. The firm frequently touts Frank Biden's ties to the President, featuring Frank and his family connections prominently on their website, in ads and on social media. more...

By Sylvan Lane

President Biden on Thursday formally withdrew Judy Shelton’s nomination to the Federal Reserve Board, closing the book on her quest to join the central bank. Shelton’s nomination was withdrawn with more than two dozen other officials nominated by former President Trump in January shortly before he left office. The Democratic takeover of the Senate in January effectively ended Shelton’s chances of confirmation, and Biden’s withdrawal of her nomination does little more than clear the way for his eventual pick to fill the final vacant spot on the Fed board. Biden has not yet indicated who he would nominate in Shelton’s place. more...

By ELLEN KNICKMEYER

President Joe Biden will announce an end Thursday to U.S. support for a grinding five-year Saudi-led military offensive in Yemen that has deepened human suffering in the Arabian peninsula’s poorest country, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said. Biden sees the United States “playing a more active and engaged role” to end the war through diplomacy, Sullivan said at a White House briefing before Biden was set to speak at the State Department. Thursday’s move, which fulfills a campaign pledge, would not affect any U.S. operations against the Yemen-based al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, group, Sullivan said. Yemen, the biblical kingdom of Sheba, has one of the world’s oldest constantly occupied cities — the more than 2,000-year-old Sanaa — along with mud brick skyscrapers and hauntingly beautiful landscapes of steep, arid mountains. But decades of Yemeni misgovernment have worsened factional divisions and halted development, and years of conflict have now drawn in intervention by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Iran, which officials say has lent increasing support to Yemen’s Houthi faction of fighters. more...

By LISA MASCARO and JOSH BOAK

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden panned a Republican alternative to his $1.9 trillion COVID rescue plan as insufficient as Senate Democrats pushed ahead, voting to launch a process that could approve his sweeping rescue package on their own, if Republicans refuse to support it. Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen joined the Democratic senators for a private virtual meeting Tuesday, both declaring the Republicans’ $618 billion offer was too small. They urged big fast action to stem the coronavirus pandemic crisis and its economic fallout. As the White House reaches for a bipartisan bill, Democrats marshaled their ever-slim Senate majority, voting 50-49, to start a lengthy process for approving Biden’s bill with or without GOP support. The goal is to have COVID-19 relief approved by March, when extra unemployment assistance and other pandemic aid expires. more...

Tamara Keith

In his first two weeks in office, President Biden has signed nearly as many executive orders as Franklin Roosevelt signed in his entire first month. And President Roosevelt holds the record. Adding his signature to three executive orders on immigration Tuesday, Biden has now signed 28 executive orders since taking office. FDR signed 30 in his first month. "By sheer volume, Biden is going to be the most active president on this front since the 1930s," said Andy Rudalevige, a professor of Government at Bowdoin College. more...

The move affects both Trump loyalists and others named by earlier administrations.
By Dan De Luce

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has dismissed every member of the Pentagon’s advisory boards in a sweeping move fueled by concern that the Trump administration had rushed through a series of last-minute appointments, Pentagon officials said Tuesday. The move affects several hundred board members who sit on about 40 advisory boards, including dozens of people who had been named to the posts in the closing days of former President Donald Trump’s tenure. Among those dismissed are highly partisan figures such as Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign manager, David Bossie, a former Trump deputy campaign manager, former Republican House speaker Newt Gingrich and retired Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata. But instead of singling out Trump appointees, the move applies to all board members, including those appointed before the Trump presidency. more...

Christian Nunley, Amanda Macias

Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned the Russian government on Tuesday after Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny was sentenced to more than two years in prison. The opposition leader’s arrest last month has sparked mass protests across Russia, leading to hundreds of his supporters getting thrown in jail. “The United States is deeply concerned by Russia’s actions toward Aleksey Navalny. We reiterate our call for the Russian government to immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Navalny, as well as hundreds of other Russian citizens wrongfully detained in recent weeks for exercising their rights,” Blinken said. Navalny, a leading critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was arrested for parole violations on Jan. 17 upon his return to Russia from Germany, where he had been treated for a nerve agent poisoning that took place last August. more...

Alayna Treene

President Biden told Senate Democrats at a virtual lunch on Tuesday that Republicans' current $618 billion coronavirus relief proposal is "too small," but he wants to continue working toward a compromise and is willing to bend on the final price, a source on the call tells Axios. Why it matters: Biden made clear he is not giving up on finding a bipartisan path to passing stimulus legislation, despite many Democrats urging him to use the budget reconciliation process to bypass the GOP. He also said that the White House has red lines that they're unwilling to budge on, including the salary minimums for receiving stimulus checks. What we're hearing: The president told the Senate Democratic caucus that there is no harm in spending too much, but there is harm in spending too little, and applauded the party for continuing to think big. more...

The White House hopes the unprecedented blitz of executive actions will help build momentum for its Covid-19 rescue package.
By NATASHA KORECKI and MARC CAPUTO

Go big. Go fast. And, if need be, go without the GOP. Since assuming office two weeks ago, President Joe Biden has made this his credo while instituting a record 45 executive actions that fulfill campaign promises on everything from climate change to racial equity to immigration, that undo a number of Donald Trump’s policies, and that have shaped the news cycle along the way. And while the carefully calibrated policy rollout can’t, on its own, juice the economy or ramp up the Covid-19 response on the scale that’s needed, White House aides believe it has helped build momentum for the president as he tries to sell a historic $1.9 trillion “rescue” package. Their belief in that is so strong, in fact, that Biden officials and allies are now practically daring Republicans to fight them, convinced that the public is firmly on the side of quick action. “It will save our majority if he takes that approach with everything that he does,” said House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), one of Biden’s closest allies in the House. “Don’t try to go around them. But if they refuse to do it, use his executive powers and do it. And let them take you to court.” more...

By Clare Foran and Ted Barrett, CNN

(CNN) The Senate voted Tuesday to confirm Alejandro Mayorkas as Homeland Security secretary, the first Latino and immigrant to serve at the helm of the department. His confirmation will fill a critical role in the new administration and he'll be expected to swiftly begin rolling back Trump administration immigration policies while juggling the response to a global pandemic and national security threats, along with restoring a department that's been rattled by leadership turnover and vacancies in recent years. The Senate also voted Tuesday to confirm Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary, making him the first Senate-confirmed LGBTQ Cabinet secretary. Buttigieg's confirmation elevates the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to a top post in the federal government. more...

Nicholas Wu, Savannah Behrmann | USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Pete Buttigieg was confirmed as Transportation Secretary Tuesday as the first openly gay Cabinet secretary to be confirmed by the Senate. Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., and a Democratic presidential candidate, received overwhelming bipartisan support with a 86-13 vote. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., the incoming Democratic chair of the panel overseeing Buttigieg's confirmation, praised him Tuesday as a "young, energetic mayor" who could "help us usher in a new era of transportation." The Department of Transportation distributes billions of dollars in federal highway funding and regulates aviation, railroads and busing. President Joe Biden's infrastructure and clean energy plan has proposed placing 500,000 charging stations along highways and changing federal vehicles to electric power. Biden also has signed an executive order requiring the wearing of face masks in airports, on certain public transportation, and on many trains, planes, and buses. more...

By Melissa Quinn

Washington — The White House is examining whether former President Donald Trump should continue to receive intelligence briefings now that he is out of office, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday. Psaki told reporters during the White House press briefing she raised the issue of Mr. Trump's access to the nation's secrets with President Biden's national security teams. "It's something, obviously, that's under review, but there was not a conclusion last I asked them about it, but I'm happy to follow up on it and see if there's more to share," Psaki said. more...

By Priscilla Alvarez, CNN

(CNN) President Joe Biden will sign three executive orders Tuesday that take aim at his predecessor's hardline immigration policies and try to rectify the consequences of those policies, including by establishing a task force designed to reunite families separated at the US-Mexico border, according to senior administration officials. The latest orders build upon the actions taken in Biden's first days in office and begin to provide a clearer picture of the administration's immigration priorities. "President Trump was so focused on the wall that he did nothing to address the root cause of why people are coming to our southern border. It was a limited, wasteful and naive strategy, and it failed," one senior administration official said. "President Biden's approach is to deal with immigration comprehensively, fairly, and humanely." more...

Former President Barack Obama had eased sanctions on Myanmar to encourage democratization.
By DANIEL PAYNE

President Joe Biden on Monday said his administration is considering resuming sanctions on Myanmar after an apparent military coup in which several key civilian leaders were detained and emergency rule was declared for one year. "The United States removed sanctions on Burma over the past decade based on progress toward democracy," Biden said in a statement. "The reversal of that progress will necessitate an immediate review of our sanction laws and authorities, followed by appropriate action." The U.S. restricted economic activity with Myanmar, also known as Burma, for decades in response to the country's undemocratic rule and human rights abuses, though many restrictions were lifted under former President Barack Obama to encourage further democratization. more...

By Jonathan Easley

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Monday that President Biden and his administration don’t spend a lot of time thinking about former President Trump and they don’t “miss” him on Twitter. Speaking at the press briefing, Psaki was asked if Trump’s absence from the social media platforms made Biden’s life easier because the former president is not able to rile up GOP lawmakers to oppose the new administration’s initiatives, such as a COVID-19 relief package that is in limbo. more...

Support from a slim majority might be all President Biden can expect — and maybe it’s all he needs.
By Giovanni Russonello

President Biden entered the White House last month with a broadly positive approval rating — but well shy of the two-thirds of Americans who expressed support for his former boss, Barack Obama, when he took office 12 years ago. In fact, Biden’s net approval rating is lower than that of any incoming president since the dawn of modern polling, except for his predecessor, Donald Trump. It’s just another clear sign that we’ve entered a new era of partisanship: Media fragmentation and the hard-line politics it has helped foster may make it impossible for any leader to become a true consensus figure. But it also bears noting that Biden’s approval rating is basically a reverse image of Trump’s. In addition to being loathed by Republicans and embraced by Democrats, he’s firmly in positive territory among independents — who had consistently disapproved of Trump’s performance. more...

By Kevin Liptak, CNN

(CNN) President Joe Biden plans to deliver his most substantive foreign policy remarks since becoming president on Monday, according to a senior administration official, marking his opening attempt at pivoting away from his predecessor's "America First" approach to the world. Biden's speech will center on the theme of "restoring America's place in the world," one of his central campaign promises, and will coincide with his first trip to a Cabinet agency. He plans to visit the State Department to meet newly installed Secretary Antony Blinken, press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday. Making his first stop there, rather than the Pentagon or CIA, is meant to underscore Biden's renewed focus on repairing American alliances and using diplomacy as a tool abroad, an official said. more...

By Jennifer Epstein

President Joe Biden on Sunday withdrew all the spending cuts proposed by former President Donald Trump during his final days in office. Biden said in a letter to Congress that he was reversing all 73 spending cuts that Trump had requested, which touched virtually every cabinet-level agency as well as federal programs such as the National Endowments of the Arts and Humanities. Under the 1974 Budget and Impoundment Control Act, the president can request that Congress rescind budget authority that it had previously approved. The cuts, known as rescissions, totaled $27.4 billion, according to a Jan. 14 letter to Congress from the Trump White House. The proposed cuts had come after Trump grew frustrated with some of the spending included in a December spending bill. more...

*** Trump gave Russia a pass no matter what they did, that is over Biden will not give Russia a pass they way Trump did. ***

By John Bowden

Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned what he said were "harsh tactics" deployed "against peaceful protesters and journalists" during recent protests in Moscow against Vladimir Putin's government on Sunday. In a tweet, Blinken added that the U.S. "renew[s] our call for Russia to release those detained for exercising their human rights, including Aleksey Navalny," after news reports indicated that thousands were arrested during recent demonstrations. more...

Rebecca Falconer

President Biden will meet at the White House with a group of Republican senators who are seeking a bipartisan deal on coronavirus relief.

Driving the news: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that after receiving a letter earlier Sunday from the 10 Republicans, led by Sen. Susan Collins, that Biden had spoken with the Maine senator "and invited her and other signers of the letter to come to the White House early this week for a full exchange of views."

What they're saying: The senators said in a joint statement, "We appreciate the President's quick response to our letter, and we are pleased to accept his invitation to the White House tomorrow afternoon to discuss the path forward for the sixth bipartisan Covid-19 relief package." more...

Robert Reich

The new president can achieve huge and vital reform and relief without the party of Trump – and they know it. If there were ever a time for bold government, it is now. Covid, joblessness, poverty, raging inequality and our last chance to preserve the planet are together creating an existential inflection point. Fortunately for America and the world, Donald Trump is gone, and Joe Biden has big plans for helping Americans survive Covid and then restructuring the economy, rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure and creating millions of green jobs. But Republicans in Congress don’t want to go along. Why not? Mitch McConnell and others say America can’t afford it. “We just passed a program with over $900bn in it,” groused Senator Mitt Romney, the most liberal of the bunch. Rubbish. We can’t afford not to. Fighting Covid will require far more money. People are hurting. Besides, with the economy in the doldrums it’s no time to worry about the national debt. The best way to reduce the debt as a share of the economy is to get the economy growing again. more...

Barbara Sprunt

Ten Republican senators are requesting a meeting with President Biden to detail a smaller counterproposal to his administration's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, an alternative they believe could be approved "quickly by Congress with bipartisan support." The outreach from more moderate GOP lawmakers, led by Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, comes as many Democrats look to a process called budget reconciliation to pass Biden's relief package, something that would enable Democrats to approve the president's plan without any Republican support. "We recognize your calls for unity and want to work in good faith with your Administration to meet the health, economic, and societal challenges of the COVID crisis," the letter dated Sunday reads. Republicans have balked at the price tag of Biden's $1.9 trillion package, especially coming weeks after then-President Donald Trump signed a $900 billion relief measure into law. Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, who also signed the letter, told Fox News Sunday that the counterproposal would cost about $600 billion. more...

Lloyd Green

The Republican leadership has jettisoned its commitment to democracy and the rule of law and authoritarianism has found a political home. On Tuesday, the US Senate rejected an attempt to kill the impeachment trial of Donald Trump, 55-45, but only five Republicans voted with the majority. Acquittal of the ex-president is now a foregone conclusion. The only question is when. Trump 2024 can still happen. In the short run, his dream won’t die. With another campaign looming over the horizon, the former reality show host can still rake in the bucks to the delight of his family and his creditors. The beast will continue to be fed. Naturally, there were minor casualties. Mitch McConnell, the newly minted minority leader, fell in behind his caucus. His post-Capitol Hill attack theatrics are done, his outrage is over, his hopes for a Trump-free future dashed. On the other hand, Elaine Chao – McConnell’s wife who doubled as Trump’s transportation secretary and resigned in a pique over the storming of the Capitol – has landed on her feet at a conservative thinktank along with Mike Pompeo, Trump’s secretary of state. For Team McConnell, the past can be relegated to the rearview mirror. more...

By Zahra Ullah and Matthew Chance, CNN

Moscow (CNN) The foundation set up by Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has called on US President Joe Biden to impose sanctions on at least eight high profile Russian figures it says are close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) said it had submitted a broader list of 35 people in total in a letter addressed to Biden, dated Friday, with eight named on a "priority shortlist." The letter says seven of the 35 individuals are already on US sanctions lists. The move comes ahead of nationwide protests planned this weekend in support of Navalny, who is being held in detention ahead of a court hearing next week. In a copy of the letter obtained by CNN, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich is named on the "priority shortlist," for what FBK describes as being a key enabler and an alleged beneficiary of "Kremlin kleptocracy." Abramovich is the owner of English Premier League soccer club Chelsea. A spokesperson for Abramovich said in an email statement to CNN that "there is no basis for such claims which are entirely without foundation." more...

The move effectively prevents a number of Trump allies, including Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie, from actually serving on panels.
By LARA SELIGMAN

The Pentagon has suspended the processing of a number of former President Donald Trump’s last-minute appointees to defense advisory boards as the new administration looks to weed out loyalists to the former president. The move effectively prevents a number of Trump allies, including his 2016 campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and deputy campaign manager David Bossie, from actually serving on panels tasked with providing advice to the defense secretary, at least for the time being. The news came in an email to advisory board members on Wednesday. The message was obtained by POLITICO and confirmed by two people familiar with the discussions. The effort is aimed at scrubbing the members of the advisory boards “to determine if appointments were politically motivated vice professionally made,” said one of the people. more...

*** Republicans are the party of hypocrites. Republicans were silent when Trump did the same thing. Republicans are ok with it when they do it but are not ok with it when the Democrats do the same thing. ***

David Knowles

Over the past week, a growing number of Republicans began sounding the alarm about the number and content of executive orders being issued by President Biden. “The first week in office, what has Joe Biden done? He’s signed an executive order ending the Keystone pipeline, destroying 11,000 jobs,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said in a Tuesday interview on Fox News. “The scale of Joe Biden’s executive orders and their impact on Americans is stark,” Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said last week. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., blasted Biden for issuing “more executive fiats than anyone in such a short period of time, ever. More than Obama, more than Trump, more than anyone. Second, these aren’t just normal executive fiats, this is literally going down the wish list of the far left and checking all of them off.” more...

Emma Newburger

President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed a series of executive orders that prioritize climate change across all levels of government and put the U.S. on track to curb planet-warming carbon emissions. Biden’s orders direct the secretary of the Interior Department to halt new oil and natural gas leases on public lands and waters, and begin a thorough review of existing permits for fossil fuel development. In addition to the pause on leasing, Biden will direct the federal government to conserve 30% of federal lands and water by 2030 and find ways to double offshore wind production by that time. The series of actions kick off the president’s agenda to reduce the country’s emissions and establish stricter targets under the Paris climate accord, the landmark agreement by nearly 200 nations aimed to mitigate climate change. “We’ve already waited too long to deal with the climate crisis. We cannot wait any longer,” Biden said during a briefing on Wednesday. more...

BBC

The orders aim to freeze new oil and gas leases on public lands and double offshore wind-produced energy by 2030. They are expected to meet stiff resistance from the energy industry and come as a sea change from Donald Trump, who cut environmental protections. "Today is climate day at the White House," said Mr Biden on Wednesday. "We have already waited too long," Mr Biden told reporters at the White House. "And we can't wait any longer." Mr Biden said the US "must lead" a global response to the climate change crisis. more...

The warning comes in the days after Biden's inauguration.
By Mike Levine

Using a federal system designed to warn all Americans about terrorist threats to the U.S. homeland, the Department of Homeland Security has issued a warning that anger "fueled by false narratives," especially unfounded claims about the 2020 presidential election, could lead some inside the country to launch attacks in the coming weeks. "Information suggests that some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence," according to a bulletin issued Wednesday through the DHS National Terrorist Advisory System -- or NTAS. The system was last used to issue a public warning a year ago, when DHS issued a bulletin over potential retaliation by Iran for the U.S. assassination of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in Iraq days earlier. A year before that, DHS issued a bulletin through the same system to highlight the threat from foreign terrorist groups like ISIS or al-Qaida. more...

*** If the money were for the rich, Republicans would pass it in a heartbeat. ***

By Grace Segers

Washington — Some Republican senators have expressed concerns about the $1.9 trillion price tag on President Biden's proposal for a new coronavirus relief bill, as congressional Democrats consider pursuing a procedure to pass the legislation without any Republican votes. Congress passed a $900 billion relief bill late last month, but Mr. Biden and congressional Democrats have argued more action is necessary to stabilize the economy. Republicans have noted that not all of the funds provided by that act have been distributed. "The administration sent up a proposal of $1.9 trillion, weeks after we just passed $900 billion that hasn't been accounted for yet," GOP Senator Rob Portman told reporters on Tuesday. He argued that some provisions in Mr. Biden's bill, such as raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour and providing funds for cybersecurity, were unrelated to the pandemic. more...

By Joan Biskupic

(CNN)A federal judge's action Tuesday preventing President Joe Biden's 100-day pause in deportations demonstrated the land mines that await the new administration in the nation's courts. The short-term order by the Texas-based judge could also force a confrontation up to the US Supreme Court, where the Biden legal team already faces hard choices over how aggressively to press new legal positions before the nine justices -- six of whom are conservatives, with three appointed by former President Donald Trump. US District Judge Drew Tipton, also a Trump appointee, sided on Tuesday with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Trump loyalist who has challenged Biden's temporary suspension of deportations. The nationwide scope of Tipton's order further intensifies debate over broad-scale actions against the executive branch imposed by a lone judge, which were the bane of the Trump administration.  more...

By Sarah N. Lynch, Trevor Hunnicutt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Joe Biden on Tuesday issued a firm call to heal America’s racial divide, taking several steps and promising more to confront racism and inequality that he said has plagued the United States for far too long. Racial tensions simmered during the turbulent four-year presidency of Donald Trump and in issuing several executive orders, Biden noted that the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters was carried out by “thugs, insurrectionists, political extremists and white supremacists.” But Biden said he believes the vast majority of Americans believe in equality. “We’ve never fully lived up to the founding principles of this nation - to state the obvious - that all people are created equal and have a right to be treated equally throughout their lives,” Biden said in remarks at the White House. “And it’s time to act now, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because if we do we’ll all be better off for it.” more...

The actions address the prison system, housing discrimination and tribal governments.
By NICK NIEDZWIADEK

President Joe Biden on Tuesday rolled out an additional slate of executive actions to address racial equity, a move to fulfill a key campaign promise that he made during the height of this past summer’s protests. Biden said that Tuesday's actions are a direct response to the groundswell of protests that emerged following the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, by Minnesota police and the resulting calls for racial justice. In brief remarks at the White House, the president said Floyd's death "opened the eyes of millions" and paved the way for change. "What many Americans didn't see or had simply refused to see couldn't be ignored any longer," Biden said. As part of the effort, the president directed the Department of Justice to not renew contracts with private prison operators and signed a presidential memorandum acknowledging the role the federal government has played in discriminatory housing policy. more...

Biden called intending to raise concern about the suspected Russian SolarWinds hacking campaign, Russia reportedly placing bounties on American troops and interference in the 2020 election, the White House said.
By BEN LEONARD

President Joe Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin Tuesday afternoon, expressing U.S. objections to a variety of Kremlin actions, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday. Psaki told reporters at Tuesday's press briefing that the call was scheduled to take place as she was behind the podium fielding press questions. Biden called intending to raise concern about a suspected Russian SolarWinds hacking campaign that breached Justice Department email accounts, reports of Russian bounties reportedly placed on American troops and interference in the 2020 election, Psaki said. The president also intended to raise his concerns about the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and the Kremlin's recent treatment of peaceful protesters demonstrating in support of him, the press secretary said. Biden also intended to support Ukrainian sovereignty and his goal of extending a nuclear arms treaty for five years with Russia, Psaki said. The two leaders agreed to “work urgently” to extend the nuclear treaty by Feb. 5, when the deal is slated to expire, according to the Biden administration’s readout of the call. The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty limits the two nation's deployed nuclear weapons to 1,550 each. more...

Thomas Franck

The Biden administration could be open to adjusting eligibility levels for the next round of coronavirus stimulus checks to ensure the relief flows to families who need the emergency funds the most, the president’s top economic advisor said Tuesday morning. Brian Deese, who joined CNBC’s “Squawk Box” from the White House, said he has welcomed Republican feedback in recent days and the party’s focus on targeting President Joe Biden’s relief plan to those in dire financial straits. “When it comes to the checks, we put forward a proposal that ... passed the House with 275 votes — 44 Republicans voted for it,” Deese, director of the National Economic Council, said, referring to the bill the House approved in December that included $2,000 direct payments as proposed by then-President Donald Trump. “Certainly, if there are ways to make that provision, and other provisions, more effective, that’s something that we’re open to, that we’ll have conversations about,” he added. more...

Michele Kelemen

With bipartisan support, the Senate confirmed Antony Blinken as the new secretary of state on Tuesday. The final vote was 78-22. Blinken, 58, was earlier approved overwhelmingly by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. As the top U.S. diplomat, Blinken will face a number of national security challenges, including how to deal with China, Russia and Iran. Blinken has vowed to restore American leadership to the global stage. One of the first acts of the Biden administration was to start the process to rejoin the Paris climate accord. "The world is on fire right now, with pressing crises in every region and hemisphere," said Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He told senators on the eve of the confirmation vote that Blinken is well-suited for the job. Blinken has a long history with President Biden, previously serving as his adviser both in the White House and the Senate before becoming deputy secretary of state in the Obama administration. Out of government during the Trump era, he co-founded WestExec Advisors, a consulting group. more...

By NOMAAN MERCHANT

HOUSTON (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday barred the U.S. government from enforcing a 100-day deportation moratorium that is a key immigration priority of President Joe Biden. U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton issued a temporary restraining order sought by Texas, which sued on Friday against a Department of Homeland Security memo that instructed immigration agencies to pause most deportations. Tipton said the Biden administration had failed “to provide any concrete, reasonable justification for a 100-day pause on deportations.” Tipton’s order is an early blow to the Biden administration, which has proposed far-reaching changes sought by immigration advocates, including a plan to legalize an estimated 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. Biden promised during his campaign to issue the moratorium. The order represents a victory for Texas’ Republican leaders, who often sued to stop programs enacted by Biden’s Democratic predecessor, President Barack Obama. It also showed that just as Democratic-led states and immigration groups fought former President Donald Trump over immigration in court, often successfully, so too will Republicans with Biden in office. more...

By Elena Mejía and Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux

During most of Donald Trump’s presidency, Congress was in a state of persistent deadlock, passing relatively few big pieces of legislation. But the Republican-controlled Senate stayed humming, nonetheless — thanks to a steady stream of judicial nominees from the White House. After only one term, Trump filled 28 percent of vacant seats on the federal bench, including 27 percent of active federal district court judges and 30 percent of active appeals court judges, not to mention three Supreme Court justices. This figure is far higher than for other recent presidents in their first terms — by January 2013, for instance, Barack Obama had appointed just 17 percent of the vacant federal judge spots, and at the end of his first term, George W. Bush had appointed 21 percent. In fact, Obama was able to appoint only a slightly larger share of the federal bench in his eight years in office (31 percent) than Trump managed to do in his one term. more...

Kevin Breuninger

The Biden administration will revive the push to make Harriet Tubman the face of a new $20 bill, an effort that was shelved during former President Donald Trump’s term. “We’re exploring ways to speed up that effort,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday after being asked if the new administration would pick up the Obama-era initiative. An updated $20 note featuring Tubman, the former slave who became an icon of the abolitionist movement, was originally set to be unveiled around the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. But Trump’s Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, announced during a 2019 congressional hearing that the redesign would be delayed until 2028. Mnuchin said at the time that the primary reason for redesigning a currency is to combat counterfeiting efforts. more...

By LOLITA C. BALDOR and ZEKE MILLER2 hours ago
Dusk settles over the White House in Washington, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is set to issue an executive order to reverse a Pentagon policy that largely bars transgender individuals from joining the military, dumping a ban ordered by President Donald Trump in a tweet during his first year in office, a person briefed on the decision tells The Associated Press. Biden has been widely expected to overturn the Trump policy in his early days in office. The White House could announce the move as early as Monday, according to the person briefed on the decision who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the order. The move to reverse the policy has the support of Biden’s newly confirmed defense secretary, retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, who spoke of the need to overturn it during his Senate confirmation hearing last week. “I support the president’s plan or plan to overturn the ban,” Austin said. “If you’re fit and you’re qualified to serve and you can maintain the standards, you should be allowed to serve.” more...

The Democrat has kicked off his presidency with a blitz of executive orders and measures – here are the key themes
David Smith in Washington

On Sunday afternoon, the US will reach the 100th hour of Joe Biden’s presidency. Already, there has been a blitz of executive actions and a bewildering pace of change. Four years after Donald Trump set about undoing Barack Obama’s legacy, Obama’s vice-president appears to be returning the gesture with interest. Here are the key developments:

Unity
Biden’s inaugural address was a soulful plea to come together after four years of division. “This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge and unity is the path forward,” he said, promising to be a president for all Americans. The pared-down ceremony at the US Capitol, stormed by a mob just two weeks earlier, was a bipartisan affair that included outgoing vice-president Mike Pence. Trump, who falsely claimed he won the election, was conspicuously absent.

Climate
Biden lost no time in rejoining the Paris climate agreement, earning Republican criticism. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas said the move indicated Biden was “more interested in the views of the citizens of Paris than in the jobs of the citizens of Pittsburgh”, contending it would destroy thousands of jobs. The president also revoked the Keystone XL oil pipeline permit and instructed the Environmental Protection Agency and transportation department to reestablish fuel efficiency mandates weakened by Trump. more...

By Celine Castronuovo

President Biden’s administration on Friday revoked a last-minute memo issued by former President Trump’s Justice Department that sought to limit the scope of a landmark Supreme Court decision on workplace discrimination against the LGBTQ community. Greg Friel, the acting head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, on Friday issued a memo revoking a Trump administration directive in response to the Supreme Court’s June 2020 ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County. The justices ruled in a 6-3 decision that the country’s laws on sex discrimination in the workplace also apply to discrimination against LGBTQ individuals. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump Justice Department’s 23-page memo dated Sunday said the court’s ruling should not extend to areas where gender-based policies on bathrooms and sports teams are relevant. The memo also indicated that employers could cite religious beliefs as justification for discrimination against LGBTQ employees. more...

Both the White House press secretary and Kamala Harris’s communications director punted on impeachment in recent public appearances.
By BEN LEONARD

Joe Biden’s administration offered further confirmation Saturday of its hands-off stance toward the impeachment of the president's immediate predecessor: "Congress is going to do what Congress does," said Kamala Harris’s communications director. Ashley Etienne's comments on MSNBC — "They're going to take whatever action they want to take," she added — echoed those made Friday by White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Biden's position on a potential Senate conviction of former President Donald Trump. “He's no longer in the Senate, and he believes that it's up to the Senate and Congress to determine how they will hold the former President accountable, and what the mechanics and timeline of that process will be,” Psaki said in a news briefing. Trump has been impeached by the House on a single charge of inciting an insurrection, the deadly Capitol riots on Jan. 6. more...

By The Associated Press

A roundup of some of the most popular but completely untrue stories and visuals of the week. None of these are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked them out. Here are the facts:

CLAIM: Troops in Washington turned their backs on President Joe Biden’s motorcade as it passed on its way to his inauguration at the U.S. Capitol.

THE FACTS: In accordance with safety protocols, some National Guard members were positioned with their backs to Biden’s motorcade as it made its way through Washington to the U.S. Capitol. more...

*** Mitch McConnell is the leader of the obstruction party. ***

By Doyle McManus Washington Columnist

In the first days after a mob invaded the Capitol to try to halt President Biden’s election, a welcome wave of bipartisan anger rippled through Washington. Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader in the Senate, condemned the riot as an assault on democracy, accused former President Trump of provoking the mob and even said he would consider voting to convict Trump in an impeachment trial. But if the Kentucky senator seemed for a moment to be embracing Biden’s call for unity, it didn’t stick. In Week One of the Biden presidency, McConnell opted for a more familiar pursuit: partisan combat. As the price of a routine agreement to organize the Senate, he demanded that Democratic leader Charles E. Schumer renounce a major goal of his party’s progressive wing, the end of the filibuster rule. more...

*** Donald J. Trump is a sore loser and a small and petty child. ***
Mikhaila Friel

Joe and Jill Biden may have been waiting to enter the White House for longer than necessary on Inauguration Day because there was a lack of staff there to greet them. In a break from White House protocol, the new President and First Lady were left standing in front of closed doors as they took photos outside of their new residence for the first time on Wednesday. The Trumps "sent the butlers home when they left so there would be no-one to help the Bidens when they arrived," a well-placed official not associated with the Biden administration told The National Journal. Chief usher Timothy Harleth was also fired by the Trumps before they left on Wednesday morning, the publication reports. White House press secretary Jen Psak later confirmed that Harleth's exit occurred "before we walked in the door." more...

Many of Biden’s new team have worked together before, and get on well – in sharp contrast to Trump’s ‘team of rivals’
Julian Borger

At the core of the administration Joe Biden is building is a trusted circle of officials, who are bound together by many years of working together in a close-knit team in the Obama administration, by a shared faith, or, in some cases, by a tie with Biden’s late son, Beau. It is the very opposite approach to the one taken by Donald Trump, who assembled a sharp-elbowed “team of rivals” – powerful men from different walks of life, who he had never met but thought looked the part. Biden treasures familiarity and nice-guy collegiality, and warned new appointees on Wednesday that if they don’t treat each other with respect, “I will fire you on the spot.” more...

wcvb

WASHINGTON — Officials with the Massachusetts National Guard on Friday released a statement identifying and correcting falsehoods in a report that suggested a Massachusetts congressman was responsible for Guardsmen being sent to a parking garage. Without mentioning the source of the report, the statement appears to reference an article published by the conservative Breitbart website on Thursday. The authors said a source told them Rep. William Keating had "complained about one National Guard member not wearing a mask at a cafe in the building" and linked that to troops being "forced to evacuated the Capitol building grounds." more...

Analysis by Nathan Hodge, CNN

(CNN) With the departure of Donald Trump from the White House, Russia-watchers can be forgiven for breathing a sigh of relief: From the moment Russian President Vladimir Putin called Trump the front-runner for the 2016 Republican nomination, it's been near-impossible to look at Moscow through anything but the lens of Washington politics and scandal. That doesn't mean President Joe Biden can Make Russia Boring Again. Administrations may come and go, but the geopolitical challenge to the US from the Kremlin leader, it seems, remains constant. Let's begin with the obvious: US-Russia relations are at their lowest point since the end the Cold War. US agencies are still sorting through the aftermath of a massive cyber breach blamed on Moscow. Western governments are demanding answers from the Kremlin on the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. And the US has steadily stepped up sanctions on Russia over the war in Ukraine and Moscow's interference in the 2016 US presidential election. And as one of his first moves, Biden has ordered a sweeping intelligence review of suspected Russian mischief-making, from alleged bounties on US troops in Afghanistan to interference in the 2020 election. Biden's director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, will lead the effort, and the president's pick for CIA director, veteran diplomat William Burns, is also a Russia expert. more...

BBC

More than 25,000 troops were deployed to Washington DC for his inauguration after violence earlier this month. Images spread on Thursday showing them forced to rest in a nearby parking garage after lawmakers returned. The conditions sparked anger among politicians, and some state governors recalled troops over the controversy. Mr Biden called the chief of the National Guard Bureau on Friday to apologise and ask what could be done, according to US media reports. First Lady Jill Biden also visited some of the troops to thank them personally, bringing biscuits from the White House as a gift. "I just wanted to come today to say thank you to all of you for keeping me and my family safe," she said. more...


Alicia Adamczyk

President Joe Biden issued two executive orders on Friday aimed at combating the nation’s ongoing hunger crisis and addressing the financial instability felt by millions of families and exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. Today’s orders follow a slew of other memos signed by Biden in his first few days in office, which aim to tackle the worsening economic and public health crises devastating the nation. Those orders included extending the nationwide eviction ban and the pause on federal student loan payments. National Economic Council director Brian Deese called the orders a “critical lifeline” for millions of families at the White House Friday, noting that Biden also introduced a more comprehensive $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package earlier this month. The package would provide additional funds for vaccine production and distribution, unemployment insurance, stimulus checks and more. “Our economy is at a very precarious moment,” Deese said. “It’s a moment that requires decisive action to beat this pandemic and support the economic recovery that American families need.” These are the issues the executive orders Biden signed Friday address: more...

Utah senator says he doesn’t want to bend rule requiring civilian leadership of military, but he did during the Trump administration.
By Lee Davidson

While the Senate overwhelmingly voted 93-2 on Friday to confirm Lloyd Austin — a retired four-star Army general — to become the first-ever Black secretary of defense, Utah Sen. Mike Lee was one of the two who opposed it. And he offered a seemingly contradictory explanation about why. Lee also was among senators on the losing side of a 69-27 vote on Thursday to give a special waiver to Austin to allow him to serve as secretary of defense without first waiting through a normally required 7-year period after active military service. Conn Carroll, spokesperson for Lee, said the senator “believes civilian control of the military is best served by the existing rule requiring a seven-year gap between active duty and the position of secretary of defense.” He added, “Other senators may have voted to waive that rule for Gen. Austin, but Sen. Lee believes it should be uniformly applied.” However four years ago, Lee voted for a needed waiver — and later to confirm — President Donald Trump’s first secretary of defense, former Marine four-star General James Mattis. In 2017, Mattis was confirmed on a 98-1 vote, after winning the needed waiver on an 81-17 Senate vote. more...

John Haltiwanger

After four years of lining up behind one of the most divisive presidents in US history, Republicans in Congress and their allies are accusing President Joe Biden of undermining his calls for unity by not pushing for policies they find palatable. "A radical leftist agenda in a divided country will not help unify our country, it will only confirm 75 million Americans biggest fears about the new administration," Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida tweeted on Friday, inaccurately rounding up the number of votes Trump received in 2020. "Biden had a good message of unity," Alyssa Farah, who was the Trump administration's last White House communications director, said in a tweet on Thursday. "But the policies so far are aimed at only half the country, those who supported him, with no sign of outreach to those who did not." more...

*** Ron Johnson should be voted out of office. Ron Johnson and some Republicans should be ashamed of themselves they are still protecting Trump after all the damage he has done to our country. Republicans may claim to be patriots they are not they put party above the country. ***

By Darragh Roche

Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) has suggested that the Senate may not confirm President Joe Biden's cabinet nominees if Democrats proceed with an impeachment trial for former President Donald Trump. Biden's cabinet picks need to be confirmed by the Senate. Trump is due to stand trial before the body following his impeachment by the House of Representatives in the wake of the deadly Capitol riot. "Democrats can't have it both ways: an unconstitutional impeachment trial & Senate confirmation of the Biden admin's national security team," Johnson tweeted on Thursday. "They need to choose between being vindictive or staffing the administration to keep the nation safe. What will it be: revenge or security? "I believe an impeachment trial of a former president is unconstitutional and would set a very dangerous precedent. "There is no provision in the Constitution for holding such a trial over a former president who is now a private citizen. Where would we get the authority to do so?" more...

Ariel Cohen and Hayley Arlin

"The world is watching," said Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. as he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday. With a new Administration entering the stage, allies and adversaries alike are reassessing the United States' position on the world stage in the aftermath of a tumultuous and disruptive Trump presidency. For all the pomp and circumstance of the day, it is hard to forget the events of two weeks prior, which saw the U.S. Capitol besieged by insurrectionists, and the Capitol swamped by over 20,000 troops. The former president Trump is now mired in an unprecedented second impeachment trial. President Biden struck on themes of global cooperation and the power of democracy in his inaugural address. Allies have expressed confidence in American democratic institutions, awaiting the transition to a more competent Administration capable of confronting foreign enemies and looming global dangers. To this end, the 46th president is expected to re-enter negotiations with Iran and to return the United States to the Paris Climate Agreement. And while there is a broad consensus on global warming, questions regarding the handling of the implacable Iranian threat linger. America's European allies say they yearn for a return to the pre-Trump status quo, while its adversaries are hopeful that four years of embarrassment and mismanagement have dealt a death blow to the American global power. Most took advantage of Trump's unilateralism, lack of tact, and incompetence, while also suggesting the Capitol siege demonstrated a fatal flaw in American liberal democracy. more...

Mark Rosenberg and Peter Marber

What do George Soros and Donald Trump have in common? Although the two men are often framed as nemeses, both clearly believe in the power of "reflexivity," first coined by Soros in 1987. President Joe Biden would be wise to become a believer as well. Way before the internet and reality TV, Soros theorized that we live between two realities: objective and subjective. Objective realities are true regardless of what people think or say. For example: Every human will die. Or, you have $3,457 in your bank account. Subjective realities, however, are shaped by what people think. What is important is that these beliefs shape objective reality. Financial markets fall into this category because participants can never know all relevant objective facts driving an interconnected global economy. Investors use their best judgments to assess what assets are worth and buy or sell accordingly; these collective judgments move markets and thus become objective reality. In turn, that objective reality affects our subjective reality once again, and so on in an endless feedback loop. This is reflexivity. more...

By Clare Foran, CNN

(CNN) The Senate voted on Friday to confirm President Joe Biden's defense secretary pick retired Gen. Lloyd Austin, who will be the first African American to run the department. Austin, who retired in 2016 and had to be granted a waiver from a law requiring a defense secretary to wait seven years after active-duty service before taking the job. The House approved the waiver Thursday afternoon, followed by Senate approval of the measure. Thursday's votes cleared the way for final confirmation in the Senate. Friday's vote was 93-2. Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Josh Hawley of Missouri were the only two no votes. Confirmation of the defense secretary gives Biden another key department chief in place as congressional Democratic leaders attempt to move swiftly to confirm Cabinet members and other key officials following Biden's inauguration on Wednesday. The Senate confirmed Biden's first Cabinet nominee Wednesday evening, voting to approve his pick for director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, on his first day in office. more...

by: Daily Advertiser

Meanwhile, two dozen Democratic senators urged the new administration to enact tougher restrictions on air pollution created by oil and gas production. (Daily Advertiser) — Newly inaugurated President Joe Biden enacted a 60-day ban Thursday on new oil and gas drilling permits and leases for federal lands and waters, including the Gulf of Mexico. During his campaign, Biden vowed to halt new oil and gas leasing on federal land and waters and made addressing climate change and environmental pollution a centerpiece of his platform. Thursday’s order does not impact drilling already underway or permits and leases that have already been issued. Reaction was swift from oil industry advocates locally and across the U.S. more...

Actions aim to help American families and workers struggling with economic toll of Covid-19
Lauren Gambino

Joe Biden on Friday will sign a pair of executive orders aimed at providing immediate relief to American families grappling with the economic toll of the Covid-19 pandemic and expanding safety protections for federal workers. The first action targets food insecurity, by expanding nutritional programs for low-income families and children. The order would also attempt to clarify a rule to ensure that jobless Americans would still qualify for unemployment insurance if they declined work that would jeopardize their health. The second order is aimed at expanding protections for federal workers by restoring collective bargaining rights and promoting a $15 federal minimum wage. To do so, Biden will direct agencies to conduct a review of federal workers earning less than $15 an hour and develop recommendations for raising their wages. “The American people can’t afford to wait,” Brian Deese, Biden’s top economic adviser, said on a call with reporters. “So many are hanging by a thread, they need help and we are committed to doing everything we can to provide that help as quickly as possible.” more...

The new president is not receiving the bipartisan embrace he's long sought.
By BURGESS EVERETT

Senate Republicans vowed Thursday that President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief bill will not get 60 votes, daring the White House to either compromise with the GOP or use partisan procedural tactics to evade their filibuster. Put simply, the Senate GOP says Biden’s proposal spends too much money and comes too soon on the heels of Congress’ $900 billion stimulus package from last month. And that unless the proposal has major changes made to it or Democrats use budget reconciliation to pass it with a simple majority, it is doomed on the Senate floor. more...

The resistance includes Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham, the two remaining GOP authors of the "Gang of Eight" overhaul in 2013.
By Sahil Kapur

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden's sweeping immigration plan ran into quick resistance from key Senate Republicans, including some who championed a similar effort eight years ago. Immigration activists widely praised the legislative proposal, but senior Senate aides in both parties expressed skepticism that it has a path, at least without major changes, to winning the 60 votes needed to defeat a filibuster, which means at least 10 GOP votes. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a key figure in the "Gang of Eight" overhaul in 2013 that passed the Senate but died in the Republican-controlled House, called it a nonstarter. "There are many issues I think we can work cooperatively with President-elect Biden, but a blanket amnesty for people who are here unlawfully isn't going to be one of them," he said in a statement Tuesday, the day before Biden was sworn in. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he doubts Biden's plan can pass, describing it as "to the left" of the 2013 legislation that he helped craft, citing fewer provisions to beef up border security. more...

The president’s oldest son, who still has a Twitter feed at his disposal, is following in his father’s footsteps
Andrew Naughtie

Permanently deprived of his Twitter presence, Donald Trump has left the presidency relatively quietly – but his most belligerent child has no intention of leaving his father’s successor alone. Even with the Biden administration less than 24 hours old, Donald Trump Jr is rolling out accusations and mockery directed at the new president and the Democrats in general. Having worked hard over the last four years to elevate himself as a scourge of the liberal left, Mr Trump clearly intends to continue playing the role despite his father’s loss. On Thursday morning, he shared a New York Times story about federal agents using anti-riot weapons on protesters in Portland, Oregon the night before. “Joe Biden uses tear gas,” he tweeted. “That’s how this is supposed to work right?” He also complained about supposed media bias against conservatives, a longtime hobby horse for him, his family and his father’s supporters. “Imagine how much easier it is to run as a Democrat,” he wrote, “when you have a multi billion dollar main stream [sic] media complex willing to lie and run cover for you at all times! Our media is broken.” more...

By Catherine E. Shoichet, CNN

(CNN) It's just one small part of the sweeping immigration overhaul President Biden is pushing.
But the symbolic significance is huge. Biden's proposed bill, if passed, would remove the word "alien" from US immigration laws, replacing it with the term "noncitizen." It's a deliberate step intended to recognize America as "a nation of immigrants," according to a summary of the bill released by the new administration. The term "illegal alien," long decried as a dehumanizing slur by immigrant rights advocates, became even more of a lightning rod during the Trump era -- with some top federal officials encouraging its use and several states and local governments taking up measures to ban it. "The language change on the first day of this administration, with Kamala Harris the daughter of immigrants, to me it's not just symbolic...it's foundational," says Jose Antonio Vargas, an undocumented immigrant whose organization, Define American, pushes for more accurate portrayals of immigrants. "How we describe people really sticks. It affects how we treat them," he says. "How we talk about immigrants shapes the policies. It frames what are the issues really at stake here. It acknowledges that we're talking about human beings and families." more...

By Meghan Bartels

After NASA's chief Jim Bridenstine's resigned yesterday (Jan. 20), President Joe Biden's administration has appointed Steve Jurczyk to serve as acting administrator until the role is permanently filled. Jurczyk has been the agency's associate administrator since May 2018, according to his NASA biography; all told, he has worked at NASA since 1988. Jurczyk is one of 34 acting leaders announced by Biden and his vice president, Kamala Harris, hours after their inauguration. In a message to agency personnel obtained by SpaceRef, Jurczyk thanked Bridenstine and highlighted events in the coming months, citing plans to return humans to the moon but without naming the Artemis program, a product of President Donald Trump's administration, explicitly. more...

The Title IX battle plays out in yet another state.
By Anagha Srikanth

On his first day in office, President Biden guaranteed new protections for the LGBTQ+ community under an executive order. But for transgender athletes, the move isn’t quite a victory. "Children should be able to learn without worrying about whether they will be denied access to the restroom, the locker room, or school sports," reads the executive order "on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation." The administration concludes that under the Supreme Court’s reasoning in Bostock v. Clayton County, Title IX of the Education Amendments also prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, “so long as the laws do not contain sufficient indications to the contrary.” But state laws on transgender students’ right to participate in sports are increasingly fragmented. more...

By Jonathan Easley

President Biden’s White House has renewed subscriptions to The New York Times and The Washington Post after former President Trump canceled them out of anger over how he was portrayed. A White House source said physical copies of both papers arrived on Thursday morning, Biden’s first full day as president. Trump canceled the White House subscriptions to two of the nation’s largest newspapers in October of 2019 as part of his long-running feud with the news media. At the time, Trump described their coverage as “fake” and “corrupt.” Both the New York Times and Washington Post saw spikes in subscriptions and readership through the Trump years, making stars out of their top reporters for their breaking news and aggressive coverage. Trump still followed reporting on his administration in both papers, often lashing out on Twitter over stories about his administration, calling them unfair or untrue. more...

Jayme Deerwester USA TODAY

Among the flurry of executive orders signed by President Joe Biden on Wednesday was one ending the ban on travelers from several majority-Muslim countries, which was first issued by Donald Trump in January 2017. "Beyond contravening our values, these Executive Orders and Proclamations have undermined our national security," Biden's executive order rescinding the ban reads. "They have jeopardized our global network of alliances and partnerships and are a moral blight that has dulled the power of our example the world over. And they have separated loved ones, inflicting pain that will ripple for years to come. They are just plain wrong." Instead of a ban, the White House says it will improve the screening of visitors by strengthening information sharing with foreign governments and other measures. more...

Scott Horsley

The number of Americans filing for new state unemployment benefits dipped to 900,000 — down from the previous week but still high by historical standards, signaling the economic challenges facing the Biden administration. The latest weekly data from the Labor Department was likely distorted somewhat by the ebb and flow of government relief programs, but the overall picture continues to show a struggling U.S. job market as President Biden takes office. Claims for help under a federal program for gig workers and the self-employed rose sharply, suggesting many people are trying to renew their benefits after that program briefly lapsed in December. Between the two programs, a total of 1.3 million unemployed workers sought help last week, a modest increase from the week before. Biden has made clear he will prioritize dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and its ensuing economic fallout as the recent surge in infections continues to weigh on in-person businesses such as bars and restaurants. more...

By Jeff Zeleny, Kevin Liptak and Caroline Kelly, CNN

(CNN) President Joe Biden intends to keep FBI Director Christopher Wray in his post, a senior administration official tells CNN, a sign of confidence for the bureau's leader who has more than six years remaining in his term. This is not unexpected. During the transition, Biden signaled his plan to keep Wray on board -- if he wasn't fired first by President Donald Trump. Like all FBI directors, Wray has a 10-year term. Wray was appointed by Trump in 2017 and faced criticism from the ex-president on a number of issues. Wray had no reason to think he wasn't on solid footing with the new Biden administration -- despite the fact that White House press secretary Jen Psaki did not answer on Wednesday when asked if Biden had confidence in Wray. "I have not spoken within him about specifically FBI Director Wray in recent days," press secretary Jen Psaki said, "but I'll circle back if there's more to convey." more...

Will Feuer

On his first full day in office, President Joe Biden released details Thursday of his sweeping plan to combat the coronavirus, announcing 10 executive orders and directing agencies to use wartime powers to require U.S. companies to make N95 masks, swabs and other equipment to fight the pandemic. The president’s plan emphasizes ramping up testing for the coronavirus, accelerating the pace of vaccinations and providing more funding and direction to state and local officials. A key component of the plan is restoring trust with the American public. It also focuses on vaccinating more people, safely reopening schools, businesses and travel as well as slowing the spread of the virus. “The National Strategy provides a roadmap to guide America out of the worst public health crisis in a century,” the plan says. “America has always risen to the challenge we face and we will do so now.” more...

By COLLIN BINKLEY

President Joe Biden revoked a recent Trump administration report that aimed to promote “patriotic education” in schools but that historians mocked and rejected as political propaganda. In an executive order signed on Wednesday in his first day in office, Biden disbanded Donald Trump’s presidential 1776 Commission and withdrew a report it released Monday. Trump established the group in September to rally support from white voters and as a response to The New York Times’ “1619 Project,” which highlights the lasting consequences of slavery in America. In its report, which Trump hoped would be used in classrooms across the nation, the commission glorifies the country’s founders, plays down America’s role in slavery, condemns the rise of progressive politics and argues that the civil rights movement ran afoul of the “lofty ideals” espoused by the Founding Fathers. more...

Associated Press, CNN

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is moving swiftly to dismantle Donald Trump's legacy on his first day in office, signing a series of executive actions that reverse course on immigration, climate change, racial equity and the handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The new president signed the orders just hours after taking the oath of office at the Capitol, pivoting quickly from his pared-down inauguration ceremony to enacting his agenda. With the stroke of a pen, Biden ordered a halt to the construction of Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall, ended the ban on travel from some Muslim-majority countries, declared his intent to rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and the World Health Organization and revoked the approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, aides said. The 17 executive actions amount to an attempt to rewind the last four years of federal policies with striking speed. Only two recent presidents signed executive actions on their first day in office — and each signed just one. But Biden, facing the debilitating coronavirus pandemic, a damaged economy and a riven electorate, is intent on demonstrating a sense of urgency and competence that he argues has been missing under his Republican predecessor. “There’s no time to start like today," Biden said in his first comments to reporters as president. more...

By Drew Kann and Kylie Atwood, CNN

(CNN)Hours after he was sworn in, President Joe Biden announced the US plans to reenter the Paris climate accord, the landmark international agreement signed in 2015 to limit global warming, in a sign of Biden's urgency to address the climate crisis. The US abandoned the agreement late last year on former President Donald Trump's orders. Trump spent much of his time in office weakening many of the country's bedrock climate and environmental guardrails. Experts say that rejoining the agreement s is a significant step by the Biden administration to reverse the climate policies of the last four years. But now comes the hard work. As he takes the reins of the executive branch, the challenges that Biden faces rival any confronted by his 45 predecessors -- an out-of-control pandemic, a sputtering economy and the threat of right-wing extremist violence stoked by viral misinformation. Biden's action sends a strong message that the US is prepared to cooperate in the fight against climate change and seek to reclaim the leadership role it once held, experts say. Under the agreement, countries are expected to enhance their commitments to curb greenhouse gas emissions every five years. more...

By Kevin Liptak, CNN

Washington (CNN) When President Joe Biden walked into the White House on Wednesday holding hands with his wife, it all seemed so normal -- or at least as normal as a pandemic presidency can be. As a signal the White House will now operate in the manner the government recommends in the middle of a pandemic, many of Biden's staffers will continue working from home in the coming days and weeks. Officials said they received new government computers and phones that were activated at noon on Wednesday, allowing them to conduct official business from living rooms, kitchens and home offices. While many of the West Wing's individual offices have been assigned, the building will not be at capacity, as it was for much of last year despite the pandemic. The few places that did implement some work from home requirements under Trump, such as the National Security Council, will continue having officials work remotely. National Security Council staff who arrived to work at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Thursday were largely sent home and told they will be teleworking for the foreseeable future due to stricter Covid-19 measures being imposed by the administration. According to an administration official, only "continuity of operations" staff will be allowed to work inside the building, which includes national security adviser Jake Sullivan and his top advisers, as well as the heads of a few key directorates and other key personnel. more...

By Rob Picheta, CNN

London (CNN)The culmination of Joe Biden's journey to the Oval Office was seen far beyond Washington DC on Thursday, with images of his inauguration splashed across the front pages of newspapers around the world. Papers in most countries marked the dawn of the Biden era with pictures of the new US President taking the oath of office, and many highlighted the slew of executive orders he signed on his first day. Some front pages also reflected on the end of the tumultuous Trump era, and a handful took a parting swipe at the former President -- a decision indicative of the relief much of the international community felt as his time in office drew to a close. But for the most part, it was Biden who commanded the spotlight. Here's a selection of front pages from various parts of the world. more...

"We thought Trump was a bad joke, but five years later we realized he jeopardized nothing less than the world's most powerful democracy," Spain's prime minister said.
By Henry Austin

LONDON — It was a sigh heard round the world. With almost palpable relief, longstanding American allies welcomed Joe Biden as he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday. Some signaled hopes for a radical change in the White House, particularly in its approach to climate change and the coronavirus pandemic. And a few took parting shots at Donald Trump and his nationalist, "America first" agenda. The European Union's top politician, Ursula von der Leyen, said that "after four long years, Europe has a friend in the White House." "This time-honored ceremony on the steps of the U.S. Capitol will be a demonstration of the resilience of American democracy," she added in a speech in Brussels. Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, meanwhile, said that Biden represented "victory of democracy over the ultra-right." Then he took aim directly at the former president. "Five years ago, we thought Trump was a bad joke, but five years later we realized he jeopardized nothing less than the world's most powerful democracy," he said in a speech. more...

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