The Countdown: House approves historic COVID relief bill, protests grow against Cuomo

New York News
NEW YORK (WABC) — For President Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office, Eyewitness News will have a special election edition of “The Countdown” to get you caught up with all of the day’s political and campaign news.

You can watch it online, on the ABC7NY app or on our Connected TV apps for Fire, Roku, Apple TV and Android TV. Click here to learn more.

Wednesday, March 10

House passes $1.9T COVID relief package, sending it to President Biden’s desk
A Congress riven along party lines approved a landmark $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill Wednesday, as President Joe Biden and Democrats claimed a triumph on a bill that marshals the government’s spending might against twin pandemic and economic crises that have upended a nation.

The House gave final congressional approval to the sweeping package by a near party line 220-211 vote precisely seven weeks after Biden entered the White House and four days after the Senate passed the bill. Republicans in both chambers opposed the bill unanimously, characterizing it as bloated, crammed with liberal policies and heedless of signs the crises are easing.

Cuomo scandal latest
There was civil disobedience in the streets of Midtown outside Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Manhattan office on Wednesday. Cuomo insists he will not resign and plans to keep working — but the sounds of the protests are not quieting.

Third stimulus check calculator: How much could you get from $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package?
The House of Representatives voted to approve the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, sending it to President Joe Biden’s desk. Use our tool to see how much you might receive as part of the new stimulus package.

Tuesday, March 9

Possible 6th accuser comes forward against Gov. Cuomo
A possible sixth accuser against Gov. Cuomo has come forward as another woman is speaking out about about what she said was a toxic workplace environment. Ana Liss explained that she is speaking out after receiving a call from Cuomo’s first accuser, Lindsey Boyland. Liss is now a Monroe County official and spoke out in Rochester on Monday.

House gears up for vote on Biden’s COVID relief bill with $1,400 payments
The US House of Representatives is gearing up for a final vote on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan in an effort to send it to the White House to be signed into law later this week. After the Senate passed its version of the bill over the weekend, the House had initially been expected to vote on the revised legislation Tuesday, but now it appears the chamber is on track for a final vote Wednesday.

Republicans join Democrats to urge Biden make ‘comprehensive’ deal with Iran
One hundred-forty U.S. lawmakers from both parties urged the Biden administration on Tuesday to aim for bipartisan consensus and seek a “comprehensive” deal with Iran that addresses not just its nuclear program, but a range of other national security issues, according to a letter shared first with ABC News.

In a divisive political moment, on among the most sensitive and fraught foreign policy challenges, it’s a rare example of bipartisanship — but it may be short-lived as the administration pushes for negotiations with Iran and other world powers that could involve more controversial tactics.

Monday, March 8

Biden to make primetime address Thursday marking 1 year into COVID-19 pandemic
President Joe Biden will deliver his first primetime address to speak to the nation on Thursday to mark the one-year anniversary of COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that Biden would note the sacrifices and losses suffered by Americans during the last 12 months. More than 525,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus.

Third stimulus check updates: What’s next for Biden’s COVID-19 relief bill in the House
The House of Representatives now appears to be on track for a final vote Wednesday on President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer had initially said that the House would vote Tuesday after the legislation passed out of the Senate over the weekend, but now the vote will “most likely” take place on Wednesday, a senior Democratic leadership aide told CNN.

5 women now accuse Cuomo of sex harassment, calls grow for resignation by NY lawmakers
Over the weekend, two more women came forward saying Governor Andrew Cuomo was inappropriate with them. The governor said he is standing his ground that he will not resign, at least until the results of the investigation from the state attorney general.

Biden to sign executive orders establishing Gender Policy Council, addressing sexual violence in education
President Joe Biden is set to sign two executive orders on Monday which will establish the White House Gender Policy Council and address sexual violence in the education field. The orders, to be signed on International Woman’s Day, are aimed at ensuring gender equality and equity throughout the federal government at a time when women, particularly Black and Latina women, are being disproportionately afflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Friday, March 5

Third stimulus check updates: Minimum wage hike falls short as Senate debates COVID relief bill
The Senate seemingly killed progressives’ last-ditch effort to include a minimum wage hike in the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill Friday, as the chamber began climactic votes on the huge package embodying President Joe Biden’s top legislative priority.

Senators voted 58-42 against the increase, though the vote wasn’t yet formally gaveled to a close. Eight Democrats voted against the proposal, suggesting that Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and other progressives vowing to continue the fight in coming months will face a difficult fight.

Cuomo to be stripped of pandemic-linked emergency powers as scandals deepen
The Democratic-controlled state Legislature repealed Gov Cuomo’s emergency pandemic power on Friday night but approved a bill that allowed him to continue to modify existing restrictions. The Assembly voted for the measure 107-43 after the measure was approved in the state Senate 43-20. Cuomo now cannot issue new statewide directives without legislative consent, although he can still issue executive orders.

Congressman Eric Swalwell files lawsuit against Trump over Capitol insurrection
Rep. Eric Swalwell, who served as a House manager in Donald Trump’s last impeachment, filed a lawsuit Friday against the former president, his son, lawyer and a Republican congressman whose actions he charges led to January’s insurrection.

The California Democrat’s suit was filed Friday in federal court in Washington. It alleges a conspiracy to violate civil rights, along with negligence, inciting a riot and inflicting emotional distress. It follows a similar suit filed by Rep. Bennie Thompson last month in an attempt to hold the former president accountable in some way for his actions Jan. 6, following his Senate acquittal.

Thursday, March 4

Here’s why Governor Andrew Cuomo’s job is safe (for now), as harassment probe starts
While there are still calls for Governor Andrew Cuomo to step down from Republicans, those with influence in the state, say they want to wait to see the results of the state attorney general’s investigation. In his first public appearance since three women came forward with sexual harassment allegations, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo addressed the accusations but said he would not resign.

Lawmaker asks Pelosi to investigate ‘tainted’ food allegedly harming National Guard members
New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith has asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to investigate after at least 30 New Jersey National Guard members allegedly got sick over the last month from eating the food they were provided while deployed to protect the U.S. Capitol. In a letter Wednesday, Smith told Pelosi that several National Guard members in various states, including New Jersey, “have become ill due to tainted and unhealthy food from a private-sector vendor.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James is conducting the investigation into the claims made by two former staffers, and a woman that Cuomo met at a wedding.

Senate gears up for marathon effort in push for COVID-19 relief
The Senate is bracing for a marathon effort and a late night of voting on amendments before lawmakers take a final vote on President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill — it’s just not yet clear exactly when that will take place.

The chamber voted Thursday afternoon to open debate on the legislation, but Republican opposition to the plan is expected to draw out the legislative process for days before the bill, which has undergone several high-profile changes while in Senate, is sent back to the House for final passage. That starts with forcing the 628-page bill to be read out loud before 20 hours of debate can begin in earnest.

Another Trump on the ballot? Lara Trump eyes North Carolina’s Senate seat
A Trump may be on the ballot next year – but not Donald Trump. The former president’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, is eyeing the North Carolina Senate seat being vacated by Republican Richard Burr. While many in the state are skeptical she will move forward, an entrance into the race would set up a crucial test of whether Donald Trump’s popularity among Republicans, which remains massive more than a month after leaving office, can translate to others.

Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett delivers 1st opinion
Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett has delivered her first opinion. The 7-2 decision released Thursday is in a case about the federal Freedom of Information Act, which Barrett explains makes “records available to the public upon request, unless those records fall within one of nine exemptions.” Barrett wrote for the court that certain draft documents do not have to be disclosed under FOIA.

Law enforcement on alert after ‘possible plot’ by militia group to storm Capitol again
Law enforcement was on high alert Thursday around the U.S. Capitol after intelligence uncovered a “possible plot” by a militia group to storm the iconic building again, two months after a mob of Donald Trump supporters smashed through windows and doors to try to stop Congress from certifying now-President Joe Biden’s victory.

House passes sweeping HR 1 voting rights bill over GOP opposition
House Democrats passed sweeping voting and ethics legislation over unanimous Republican opposition, advancing to the Senate what would be the largest overhaul of the U.S. election law in at least a generation.

Wednesday, March 3

New York Governor Cuomo: ‘I am not going to resign’ amid sexual harassment investigation
In his first public appearance since three women came forward with sexual harassment allegations, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo addressed the accusations but said he would not resign. New York Attorney General Letitia James is conducting the investigation into the claims made by two former staffers, and a woman that Cuomo met at a wedding has also spoken out. Cuomo pledged his full cooperation with the investigation and apologized for making women feel uncomfortable.

Police uncover ‘possible plot’ by militia to breach Capitol connected to QAnon conspiracy theory about March 4
The U.S. House is abruptly finishing its work for the week given the threat of violence at the Capitol by a militia group seeking to storm the building, as happened in a deadly siege Jan. 6. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer notified lawmakers late Wednesday of the sudden schedule change.

Senate Democrats still finishing their COVID relief bill, agree to income limits for 3rd stimulus check
President Joe Biden and Democrats agreed Wednesday to tighten the upper income limits at which people could qualify for stimulus checks, a Democratic official said, a major concession to moderates as party leaders prepared to move their $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill through the Senate.

The COVID-19 relief measure Senate Democrats planned to unveil will also retain the $400 weekly emergency jobless benefits that were included in a House-approved version of the legislation, the official said. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal Democratic conversations.

House prepares to pass landmark voting rights, ethics bill
House Democrats are poised to pass a sweeping elections and ethics bill, offering it up as a powerful counterweight to voting rights restrictions advancing in Republican-controlled statehouses across the country. House Resolution 1, which touches on virtually every aspect of the electoral process, would restrict partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts, strike down hurdles to voting and bring transparency to a murky campaign finance system that allows wealthy donors to anonymously bankroll political causes.

Tuesday, March 2

Biden says US will have enough COVID-19 vaccine for all adults by end of May
President Joe Biden said Tuesday that the U.S. expects to take delivery of enough coronavirus vaccines for all adult Americans by the end of May, two months earlier than anticipated, as his administration announced that drugmaker Merck & Co. will help produce rival Johnson & Johnson’s newly approved shot.

The announcement comes as the White House looks to speed the production of the single-dose J&J vaccine and accelerate the nation’s plans to reach “herd immunity” in the U.S. and begin restoring normalcy after the pandemic. Biden noted that vaccine supply was only one bottleneck toward that goal, and that the new challenge will be injecting doses into arms as swiftly as possible.

Gov. Cuomo faces calls to resign after 3rd accuser comes forward
Calls for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation intensified Tuesday morning after a third woman came forward, accusing him of offensive behavior. Anna Ruch, 33, said the governor touched her face and back and asked to kiss her moments after they met at a 2019 wedding reception.

New York legislators will pass bill repealing Cuomo’s emergency powers
State legislators are in the final stages of formulating a bill that will scale back Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s pandemic powers moving forward. Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced Tuesday that the Legislature will pass legislation repealing the temporary emergency powers that were granted to the governor last year at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

5 things we know about version of COVID-19 relief bill headed to Senate
With an estimated 11.4 million workers set to lose their unemployment benefits between mid-March and mid-April, according to a recent study from The Century Foundation, time is of the essence for Congress to pass its next coronavirus relief package.

House Democrats passed a version of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief plan on Saturday. Now eyes are on the Senate, who could pass their version of the bill by the end of the week. That still gives the House time to re-pass a new version in their own chamber.

Biden administration prepares Russian sanctions after Navalny prison sentence, poisoning
The Biden administration is preparing to impose sanctions on Russia over the poisoning and jailing of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny this week, two administration officials tell CNN. The rollout of the sanctions will happen in coordination with the European Union, the officials said. The measures and the exact timing will be fleshed out by US and EU officials in the coming days.

Monday, March 1

Gov. Cuomo formally refers alleged sex assault case to state attorney general
Embattled New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has formally referred the case of his alleged sexual harassment of a former aide to New York Attorney General Letitia James, a necessary step to commence an investigation with subpoena power. The referral also allows James to deputize an outside law firm for “a rigorous and independent investigation.”

3rd stimulus check updates: What to expect from Senate COVID relief negotiations this week
The Senate could move as soon as this week to pass their own version of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill. That plan will, of course, look a little different than the House bill as it won’t include the $15 an hour minimum wage. It also is not going to include the so-called Plan B drafted by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden that would have penalized corporations that didn’t increase wages on their own. That plan faced pushback in the Democratic caucus.

Former President Trump tells CPAC crowd ‘the incredible journey’ is ‘far from being over’
Former President Donald Trump took the stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, Sunday, looking to reclaim his role as the Republican Party’s kingmaker as he positions himself to play a major role in the 2022 midterm elections. “It is far from being over,” Trump said about the “incredible journey” he said he and his supporters started four years ago. “We will be victorious and America will be stronger and greater than ever before.”

Senate votes to confirm Miguel Cardona as education secretary
The Senate voted 64-33 on Monday to confirm Miguel Cardona, a former public school teacher, as secretary of education. He faces the monumental task of helping guide school districts to safely provide in-person instruction as teachers’ unions in some places across the country are fighting reopening plans.

Friday, Feb 26

US advisers endorse single-shot COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson
U.S. health advisers endorsed a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson on Friday, putting the nation on the cusp of adding an easier-to-use option to fight the pandemic. The Food and Drug Administration is expected to quickly follow the recommendation and make J&J’s shot the third vaccine authorized for emergency use in the U.S. Vaccinations are picking up speed, but new supplies are urgently needed to stay ahead of a mutating virus that has killed more than 500,000 Americans.

Biden surveys Texas weather damage, thanks emergency workers
President Joe Biden heard firsthand from Texans clobbered by this month’s brutal winter weather on Friday as he and his wife made their first trip to a major disaster area since he took office. Biden was briefed by emergency officials and thanked workers for doing “God’s work.”

McConnell says he’ll ‘absolutely’ support Trump in 2024 if he’s the Republican nominee
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday he would “absolutely” support former President Donald Trump if he became the GOP presidential nominee in 2024, a notable commitment following his recent blistering critiques of the former President.

While McConnell maintained that the 2024 presidential election cycle would be a “wide-open race,” when pressed by Fox News’ Bret Baier about supporting Trump if he captured the Republican nomination, McConnell offered, “The nominee of the party? Absolutely.”

7 key points to know about President Biden’s COVID stimulus package
Democrats are ready to push through a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package through the House on Friday, despite a setback that means a minimum wage boost is unlikely to be in the final version that reaches President Joe Biden. A near party-line vote seemed certain on the measure, Biden’s first crack at his initial legislative goal of acting decisively against the pandemic. In the year since the coronavirus has taken hold, it has stalled much of the economy, killed half a million Americans and reshaped the daily lives of virtually everyone.

The relief bill would provide millions of people with $1,400 direct payments. It contains billions of dollars for vaccines and COVID-19 testing, schools, state and local governments, the ailing restaurant and airline industries and emergency jobless benefits while providing tax breaks to lower earners and families with children.

Thursday, Feb. 25

Stimulus update: Where the COVID relief bill stands in Congress, what’s next
The major order of business for President Joe Biden and Congress is to pass a $1.9 trillion Covid relief package before the round of unemployment benefits and other aid approved in December lapse, again leaving millions of Americans short of help.

What’s riding on this negotiation is the $1,400 stimulus checks proposed by Biden even before he took office, as well as that extra federal unemployment money. Democrats have said they will get a bill signed by mid-March.

Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm confirmed as energy secretary
Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm won Senate confirmation Thursday to be energy secretary and will be a key Cabinet member trying to fulfill President Joe Biden’s commitment for a green economy as the United States fights to slow climate change. The vote was 64-35, with 14 Republicans, including GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, voting yes.

Rep. Marie Newman plants trans pride flag outside Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s office
Democratic Rep. Marie Newman of Illinois has gotten into a dispute with Republican colleague Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene ahead of a vote on the Equality Act. Newman, whose daughter is transgender, spoke in favor of the bill banning discrimination against LGBTQ Americans.

Trump’s tax returns turned over to Manhattan District Attorney
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office has taken possession of former President Trump’s tax returns, a spokesman for the office told ABC News. Prosecutors obtained the records on Monday, just hours after the US Supreme Court denied Trump’s last-ditch effort to keep the records private, a spokesperson for the district attorney said.

NYC no longer ‘anarchist jurisdiction’ after President Biden revokes order
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 the 45th president 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.

Wednesday, Feb. 24

Biden choice for budget chief faces new hurdles in Congress
The increasingly slim odds – and surprisingly thin outreach from the White House – for Neera Tanden’s nomination as head of the Office of Management and Budget are raising growing questions about how long the president will stick with her, in an early test of how he will use his limited political capital.

In the latest sign of trouble for Tanden, two Senate panels slated to take up her nomination, the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Budget Committee, both postponed meetings scheduled for Wednesday.

For the third straight day, the White House batted off questions about Tanden’s path to confirmation after at least one key Democrat and multiple Republicans came out against her.

Awkward moment as House Republican leaders clash over Trump speaking at CPAC
Former President Donald Trump and his future with the GOP was the subject of an awkward clash Wednesday between two House Republican leaders.

House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy was unequivocal when asked if Trump should be speaking this Sunday at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference — the large gathering of GOP and conservative leaders.

“Yes he should,” McCarthy, who recently went to visit Trump in Mar-a-Lago, replied.

House GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., the third-ranking House Republican, who voted to impeach Trump and became his target, gave a different answer.

NY Gov. Cuomo responds after former aide says he kissed her, suggested strip poker
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was the golden boy of the Democratic party just a few months ago, but now, he is facing an avalanche of controversy.

There are investigations into why he didn’t accurately disclose the number of nursing home deaths from COVID, as well as allegations of inappropriate behavior from two politically active women.

Cuomo has repeatedly and emphatically denied all the accusations.

White House to distribute 25 million free face masks in ‘equity’ push amid COVID response
President Joe Biden plans to distribute millions of face masks to Americans in communities hard-hit by the coronavirus, as part of his efforts to ensure “equity” in the government’s response to the pandemic.

Biden, who like Donald Trump’s administration considered sending masks to all Americans, is instead adopting a more conservative approach, aiming to reach underserved communities and those bearing the brunt of the outbreak. Trump’s administration shelved the plans entirely.

Biden’s plan will distribute masks not through the mail, but instead through Federally Qualified Community Health Centers and the nation’s food bank and food pantry systems, the White House announced Wednesday.

Tuesday, Feb .23

Capitol defenders cite missed intelligence for deadly breach
Officials who were in charge of Capitol security at the time of last month’s riot have testified that missed intelligence was to blame for the failure to anticipate the violent mob. The invaders stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, interrupting certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory over Republican Donald Trump.

Then-president Trump had urged them to protest the certification at a rally minutes earlier. The former chief of the U.S. Capitol Police told lawmakers on Tuesday that he learned only after the attack that his officers had received a report from the FBI that forecast, in detail, the chances that extremists could bring “war” to Washington. Five people died.

More policy, less pomp as Biden-Trudeau meet virtually
President Joe Biden’s first meeting with a foreign counterpart since taking office was high on policy and low on pomp Tuesday as the coronavirus forced him to convene virtually with Canada’s Justin Trudeau.

The two leaders – Biden in the Roosevelt Room at the White House and Trudeau in the prime minister’s office in Ottawa – delivered brief opening remarks in front of the media, with flags from both countries on display at both ends of the long-distance conversation.

“The United States has no closer friend, no closer friend, than Canada,” Biden said.

Trudeau, in turn, commended Biden for quickly rejoining the Paris climate accord, a worldwide pact to curb climate emissions that former President Donald Trump walked away from early in his term. The prime minister, who had a frosty relationship with Trump at times, also took a jab at Trump as he praised Biden.

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden to visit Houston on Friday, following winter storm
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden plan to visit Houston on Friday, Feb. 26.

The president said earlier he doesn’t want to be a burden, as communities struggle to recover from last week’s winter storm. The White House announced on Saturday that the president had declared a major disaster in Texas, and he has asked federal agencies to identify additional resources to address the suffering.

Monday, Feb. 22

US COVID death toll tops 500,000, matching the toll of 3 wars
The COVID-19 death toll in the U.S. topped 500,000 Monday, a staggering number that all but matches the number of Americans killed in World War II, Korea and Vietnam combined. The lives lost, as recorded by Johns Hopkins University, are about equal to the population of Kansas City, Missouri, and greater than that of Miami; Raleigh, North Carolina; or Omaha, Nebraska. The U.S. recorded an estimated 405,000 deaths in World War II, 58,000 in the Vietnam War and 36,000 in the Korean War.

House Budget Committee votes to advance COVID relief bill with 3rd stimulus check
The House Budget Committee voted Monday to advance President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief package, setting up the legislation aimed at fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout to go to the House floor for a vote later this week.

Biden boosts Paycheck Protection Program lending to smallest businesses
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.

Supreme Court won’t halt Trump tax record turnover to New York prosecutor
In a significant defeat for former President Donald Trump, the Supreme Court on Monday declined to step in to halt the turnover of his tax records to a New York prosecutor. The court’s action is the apparent culmination of a lengthy legal battle that had already reached the high court once before.

Friday, Feb. 19

Biden tours Pfizer facility
President Biden toured a Pfizer facility on Friday as the drug maker announced positive developments on its vaccine. The company says the shots can be stored at standard freezer temperatures for up to two weeks and not just in special ultra-cold freezers. That means smaller pharmacies may be able to obtain, store and administer the shots.

White House announces new timeline for vaccinating students
The White House is now saying that high school students may receive vaccines in the fall, but elementary school children won’t get them until early 2022. Previously, Dr. Anthony Fauci predicted high schoolers would begin getting vaccinations in the spring or summer and students as young as first grade could get their shots by the start of the fall school year.

Biden administration willing to sit down for talks with Iran on nuclear deal
The Biden administration says it’s ready to join talks with Iran and world powers to discuss a return to the 2015 nuclear deal, in a sharp repudiation of former President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure campaign” that sought to isolate the Islamic Republic.

The administration also took two steps at the United Nations aimed at restoring policy to what it was before Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018. The combined actions were immediately criticized by Iran hawks and drew concern from Israel, which said it was committed to keeping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

US officially rejoins Paris climate accord under Biden administration
The United States officially returned to the Paris global climate accord on Friday, and President Joe Biden and other U.S. leaders declared the nation could not afford to sideline the growing climate crisis again.

“We can no longer delay or do the bare minimum to address climate change. This is a global existential crisis, and all of us will suffer if we fail,” Biden told European leaders at a Munich security conference by video Friday.

House Democrats unveil full $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill with minimum wage increase
House Democrats took another step Friday in their effort to advance a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, releasing the full bill text, which includes an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, $1,400 direct checks for Americans making $75,000 or less a year, an extension of $400 federal unemployment benefits and more money for small businesses struggling amid the pandemic. The legislation, which had already been passed in pieces out of individual committees, was packaged together by the House Budget Committee.

US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez visiting Houston after raising $2M for Texas relief in under 24 hours
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has raised $2 million in under 24 hours for Texas relief organizations that are working to help those still in need after suffering from the historic winter storm. The New York lawmaker announced on her Instagram late Friday morning that she was flying to Houston to visit with Houston Rep. Sylvia Garcia to help distribute supplies.

Pres. Biden to sign major disaster declaration and visit Texas
President Joe Biden said he will sign the major disaster declaration that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott requested in the wake of the winter storm that paralyzed the power grid and impacted the water supply throughout the state.

With the major disaster direction, the president is directing Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Defense to identify any other resources they can provide to help the needs of Texans, in addition to the help that FEMA has already provided.

‘It was a mistake’: Sen. Ted Cruz sits down for one-on-one interview after returning home from Cancun
In a one-on-one interview with our sister station in Houston, Senator Ted Cruz said he regrets taking a trip to Mexico as thousands of Texans remained without power and running water after a historic winter storm ravaged the state. KTRK-TV asked Cruz what was he thinking to kick off the sit-down interview; the senator replied he was simply trying to be a dad.

US lets in asylum-seekers stuck in Mexico, ends Trump policy
After waiting months and sometimes years in Mexico, people seeking asylum in the United States are being allowed into the country starting Friday as they wait for courts to decide on their cases, unwinding one of the Trump administration’s signature immigration policies that President Joe Biden vowed to end.

Thursday, Feb. 18

Latest on Governor Cuomo nursing home controversy
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is sounding off on Governor Andrew Cuomo, who is involved in a dispute with another state Democrat who claims the governor threatened him over the reporting of COVID nursing home deaths.

Cuomo has faced mounting challenges to his leadership on the coronavirus pandemic, as state lawmakers threatened to strip him of the power to issue emergency orders and federal investigators scrutinize his administration’s handling of nursing home data.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said he was escorting daughters to Mexico amid storm crisis
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said he was “wanting to be a good dad” when he was seen flying to a vacation destination in the midst of an energy and water crisis in his own state. On Thursday, the high-profile Republican lawmaker said his family lost heat and power, a similar fate that millions of his fellow Texans have endured since Monday.

Former GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole has advanced lung cancer
Bob Dole, the longtime US senator from Kansas and 1996 Republican presidential nominee, announced Thursday that he has an advanced form of lung cancer and will undergo treatment.

“Recently, I was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. My first treatment will begin Monday,” Dole, 97, wrote on Twitter. “While I certainly have some hurdles ahead, I also know that I join millions of Americans who face significant health challenges of their own.”

Biden faces 1st test with Egypt over human rights, weapon sales
President Joe Biden’s administration expressed concern about the Egyptian government’s human rights record Tuesday, especially after family members of a U.S. citizen and human rights activist were detained. But hours later, the State Department announced the sale of nearly $200 million of weapons to Cairo — the first substantial arms transfer to the Middle East in Biden’s young term.

The case has become a test of how Biden will approach the government of President Abdel Fattah el Sisi, the former military commander who seized power in 2014 and ousted Egypt’s elected Islamist government.

Biden and congressional Democrats to unveil immigration bill
President Joe Biden’s administration is joining Democrats on Capitol Hill to unveil a major immigration overhaul that would offer an eight-year pathway to citizenship to the estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. without legal status. The legislation, to be released in detail Thursday morning, will reflect the broad priorities for immigration reform that Biden laid out on his first day in office, including an increase in visas, funding to process asylum applications and new technology at the southern border.

Wednesday, Feb. 17

COVID relief plan
House Democrats are ready to move on President Biden’s COVID relief plan. On Wednesday, Biden said Republicans who don’t support it are making a mistake.

As lawmakers are putting together the final legislation, he says voters are on his side. The full House could pass the legislation as soon as next week, but it could face hurdles in the Senate.

Biden says life may be back to normal by Christmas 2021
President Joe Biden would only commit to a return to normal by next Christmas during a CNN town hall on Tuesday, saying he did not want to boost Americans’ hopes when he could not be certain of a still-early vaccine rollout.

The prediction of nearly another year in pandemic-dampened conditions was admittedly not optimistic. But Biden still said it was as good as he could offer with any level of confidence.

Assemblyman alleges Cuomo threatened him over nursing homes scandal
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been pleading with lawmakers for support and even threatening political retribution against Democrats who have criticized him in an aggressive effort to contain political fallout from revelations that his administration had concealed the full extent of nursing home-related deaths during the Covid pandemic.

Describing an alleged exchange with the governor that has not been previously reported, Democratic Assemblyman Ron Kim told CNN that he received a call on his cell phone from the governor last week as he was bathing his children at home.

“Gov. Cuomo called me directly on Thursday to threaten my career if I did not cover up for Melissa (DeRosa) and what she said. He tried to pressure me to issue a statement, and it was a very traumatizing experience,” Kim said. Cuomo proceeded to tell the assemblyman that “we’re in this business together and we don’t cross certain lines and he said I hadn’t seen his wrath and that he can destroy me,” according to Kim.

Cuomo’s adviser denied that the governor threatened to destroy Kim.

Conservative radio personality Rush Limbaugh dies at 70
Rush Limbaugh, the conservative media icon who for decades used his perch as the king of talk-radio to shape the politics of both the Republican Party and nation, died Wednesday after a battle with cancer. He was 70 years old.

Limbaugh announced in February 2020 that he had been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. Limbaugh continued to host his show while undergoing treatment, and he told listeners that he remained hopeful he would defeat the disease.

Tuesday, Feb. 16

Trump greets supporters in 1st public appearance since Senate impeachment trial acquittal
Former President Donald Trump on Monday made his first public appearance since his Senate acquittal over the weekend, greeting supporters from his motorcade as he passed them by in West Palm Beach, Florida. He gave his trademark thumbs-up to cheering supporters waving Trump flags and one holding a “Happy Presidents’ Day” sign.

NAACP, Congressman sue Trump, Giuliani, extremist groups over Capitol riot
A Democratic congressman accused Donald Trump in a federal lawsuit on Tuesday of inciting the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and of conspiring with his lawyer and extremist groups to try to prevent the Senate from certifying the results of the presidential election he lost to Joe Biden.

The lawsuit from Mississippi’s Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, is part of an expected wave of litigation over the Jan. 6 riot and is believed to be the first filed by a member of Congress. It seeks unspecified punitive and compensatory damages.

DNC announces key staff hires as Biden takes hold of party
The Democratic National Committee is announcing key members of its senior staff on Tuesday as the party’s political operation, in close alignment with the White House, turns its attention to the 2022 midterm elections.

Jaime Harrison, the newly elected chair who was President Joe Biden’s choice to take the reins of the DNC, tapped longtime Democratic operative Adrienne Watson to be communications director. Watson most recently steered the DNC’s war room, a clearinghouse for opposition research, and has held other prominent roles within the party, including serving as national press secretary with the DNC and as a spokesperson on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

See what’s in Democrats’ relief plan: 3rd stimulus check, unemployment benefits and more
House Democrats were busy last week advancing a wide range of coronavirus relief provisions, all part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package. This coming week, the House Budget Committee will assemble a final bill based off the measures approved by at least nine committees. Most of them — but not all — adhere closely to what Biden outlined in his proposal last month.

Monday, Feb. 15

Pelosi says independent commission will examine Capitol riot
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday that Congress will establish an independent, Sept. 11-style commission to look into the deadly insurrection that took place at the U.S. Capitol. Pelosi said the commission will “investigate and report on the facts and causes relating to the January 6, 2021, domestic terrorist attack upon the United States Capitol Complex … and relating to the interference with the peaceful transfer of power.”

Trump looks to reassert himself after impeachment acquittal
Donald Trump took in the win at Mar-a-Lago, surrounded by friends and family. His lawyers celebrated with hugs and smiles. One joked, “We’re going to Disney World!” Now acquitted in his second Senate impeachment trial, Trump is preparing for the next phase of his post-presidency life. Feeling emboldened by the trial’s outcome, he is expected to reemerge from a self-imposed hibernation at his club in Palm Beach, Florida, and is eyeing ways to reassert his power.

Saturday, Feb. 13

The Senate on Saturday acquitted Donald Trump of inciting the horrific attack on the U.S. Capitol, concluding a historic impeachment trial that exposed the fragility of America’s democratic traditions and left a divided nation to come to terms with the violence sparked by his defeated presidency.

Friday, Feb. 12

Donald Trump’s impeachment lawyers accused Democrats of waging a campaign of “hatred” against the former president as they sped through their defense of his actions and fiery words before the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, hurtling the Senate toward a final vote in his historic trial.

The defense team vigorously denied on Friday that Trump had incited the deadly riot and said his encouragement of followers to “fight like hell” at a rally that preceded it was routine political speech.

They played dozens of out-of-context clips showing Democrats, some of them senators now serving as jurors, also telling supporters to “fight,” aiming to establish a parallel with Trump’s overheated rhetoric.

Biden administration to admit migrants waiting in Mexico
The Biden administration on Friday announced plans for tens of thousands of asylum-seekers waiting in Mexico for their next immigration court hearings to be released in the United States while their cases proceed.

The first of an estimated 25,000 asylum-seekers in Mexico with active cases will be allowed in the United States on Feb. 19, authorities said. They plan to start slowly with two border crossings each processing up to 300 people a day and a third crossing taking fewer. Administration officials declined to name them out of fear they may encourage a rush of people to those locations.

Nikki Haley: ‘We shouldn’t have listened’ to Trump
Nikki Haley, the former ambassador to the United Nations under Donald Trump’s administration, said the former president “has let us down,” her first public break from him since the violent siege of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Haley, who is also widely considered a leading contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, made her decisive comments to Politico’s Tim Alberta in a Jan. 12 interview that was published Friday.

Thursday, Feb. 11

Dems end opening arguments in Trump trial
House Democrats prosecuting President Donald Trump’s impeachment have wrapped up their opening arguments.

Rep. Jamie Raskin implored senators in his closing speech to exercise “common sense about what just took place in our country” and find Trump guilty of inciting an insurrection. Raskin is the lead prosecutor for the House.

He said senators have the power under the Constitution to find Trump guilty of having betrayed the oath of office the nation’s founders wrote into the Constitution.

Another impeachment manager warned senators that acquitting Trump could have lasting consequences for the country. Rep. Joe Neguse said that “if we pretend this didn’t happen, or worse, if we let it go unanswered, who’s to say it won’t happen again.”

US will have enough COVID-19 vaccine for 300 million people by July, Biden says
President Joe Biden said Thursday that the U.S. will have enough supply of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the summer to inoculate 300 million Americans.

Biden made the announcement at the sprawling National Institutes of Health complex just outside Washington as he visited some of the nation’s leading scientists on the frontlines of the fight against the disease. He toured the Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory that created the COVID-19 vaccine now manufactured by Moderna and being rolled out in the U.S. and other countries.

Congressional Budget Office expects $2.3T deficit before Biden COVID-19 relief plan
The Congressional Budget Office says the federal government is on track for a $2.3 trillion deficit this year, down roughly $900 billion from last year when the coronavirus pandemic led Congress to provide historic amounts of financial aid.

Stronger economic growth has helped to reduce the anticipated shortfall for this year. Still, the deficit could soon be revised upward if President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package becomes law. The additional aid – coming after roughly $4 trillion was approved last year – would add more red ink once enacted, but isn’t included in Thursday’s CBO projections.

Wednesday, Feb. 10

Dems call Trump ‘inciter in chief’ of Capitol attack
Prosecutors in Donald Trump’s impeachment trial said Wednesday they would prove that Trump was no “innocent bystander” but the “inciter in chief” of the deadly attack at the Capitol aimed at overturning his election loss to Joe Biden.

Opening the first full day of arguments, the lead House prosecutor promised to lay out evidence that shows the president encouraged a rally crowd to head to the Capitol, then did nothing to stem the violence and watched with “glee” as a mob stormed the iconic building. Five people died.

Twitter CFO says Trump’s ban is permanent, even if he runs for office again
Former President Donald Trump will not be permitted back on Twitter even if he runs again for office and wins, according to the company’s chief financial officer. Asked during an interview on CNBC Wednesday whether Trump’s tweeting privileges could be restored if he wins the presidency again, CFO Ned Segal clarified that Trump’s ban is permanent.

Jill Biden calls for free access to community college for COVID-19 economic recovery
Jill Biden is pushing free access to community college and training programs, saying the schools will be an important part of Biden administration efforts to rebuild the economy. A longtime community college professor and advocate, the first lady said people struggling to get by during the coronavirus-induced economic slump need access to these schools.

Georgia prosecutor opens criminal investigation after Trump election call
A Georgia prosecutor said Wednesday that she has opened a criminal investigation into “attempts to influence” last year’s general election, including a call in which President Donald Trump asked a top official to find enough votes to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in the state. In a Jan. 2 telephone conversation with Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Trump repeatedly argued that Raffensperger could change the certified results of the presidential election, an assertion the secretary of state firmly rejected.

Trump impeachment defense team scrambling to make new videos to bolster case
President Donald Trump’s legal team is scrambling to collect and produce more videos to bolster their impeachment trial arguments after a rambling debut performance that enraged the former president and dismayed Republicans, according to a person familiar with the discussions. The move to use more videotape — and lean away from in-person arguments — amounts to a tacit acknowledgment that the lawyers Trump has enlisted to defend him during his second impeachment trial are failing to inspire confidence.

After Trump executions, 82 advocacy groups call on President Biden to immediately end federal capital punishment
Dozens of civil rights and advocacy organizations are calling on the Biden administration to immediately halt federal executions after an unprecedented run of capital punishment under President Donald Trump and to commute the sentences of inmates on federal death row.

The organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and 80 others, sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Tuesday morning, urging that he act immediately “on your promise of ensuring equality, equity, and justice in our criminal legal system.”

Trump reportedly furious at impeachment lawyers’ performance
Former President Donald Trump fumed that his attorneys’ performance on the opening day of his second impeachment trial was a disaster, as allies and Republican senators questioned the strategy and some called for yet another shakeup to his legal team.

Trump, who was watching the proceedings in Washington from his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, was furious at what he saw, according to a person familiar with his thinking. Senators, too, criticized what they described as an unfocused and rambling performance as Trump’s team and Democratic House managers began to lay out their cases in front of the Senate jury.

Tuesday, Feb. 9

Trump’s 2nd impeachment trial opens with jarring video of Capitol siege; Senate agrees to proceed
Donald Trump’s historic second impeachment trial opened Tuesday with graphic video showing the former president whipping up a rally crowd to march to the Capitol and “fight like hell” against his reelection defeat, followed by images of the deadly attack on Congress that came soon after.

In an early test of the former president’s defense, Trump’s team lost a crucial bid to halt the trial on constitutional grounds. Senators confirmed, 56-44, their jurisdiction over the trial, the first of a president no longer in office. While six Republican senators joined the Democrats in proceeding, the tally showed how far prosecutors have to go to win conviction, which requires a two-thirds threshold of 67 senators.

House impeachment manager chokes up recounting Capitol siege: ‘This cannot be the future of America’
Lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin on Tuesday delivered a tearful account of his experience during last month’s US Capitol insurrection, charging that the deadly episode “cannot be the future of America.”

Addressing lawmakers during former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial, Raskin explained that his younger daughter, Tabitha, and son-in-law, Hank — the husband of Raskin’s oldest daughter — had accompanied him to Capitol Hill to witness the counting of electoral votes on January 6.

House Democrats’ stimulus check plan would exclude families earning more than $200k
House Democrats have rejected a Republican proposal to significantly narrow eligibility for further stimulus payments and are moving forward with legislation that would provide $1,400 stimulus payments per person. But the payments would phase out faster than earlier rounds and completely cut off individuals earning more than $100,000 and couples earning more than $200,000, according to the bill text, which the House Ways and Means Committee is set to debate Wednesday.

‘QAnon Shaman’ who wore horns at riot apologizes for storming Capitol
An Arizona man who participated in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol while sporting face paint, no shirt and a furry hat with horns now says he regrets storming the building, apologized for causing fear in others and expressed disappointment with former President Donald Trump.

In a statement released late Monday through his attorney, Jacob Chansley said he has re-evaluated his life since being jailed for over a month on charges stemming from the riot and now realizes he shouldn’t have entered the Capitol building. Chansley, who previously said Trump inspired him to be in Washington on Jan. 6, said Trump “let a lot of peaceful people down.”

Monday, Feb. 8

Trump’s second impeachment trial: Start date, how to watch and other things to know
Former President Donald Trump’s historic Senate impeachment trial begins Tuesday, this time over the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the United States Capitol. While Trump’s acquittal is expected, all 100 senators will first have to sit at their desks and listen to hours of graphic testimony from House Democrats about the riots, which left five people dead. The House impeached Trump on Jan. 13, one week after the violence.

Georgia election officials formally launch investigation into Trump phone calls
The Georgia State Election Board has formally launched an investigation into former President Donald Trump’s phone calls to state election officials in which he sought help to overturn the results of the election after President Joe Biden’s narrow victory was certified twice. The investigation, which follows a formal complaint filed by a law professor alleging that Trump violated the law during those calls, marks the first formal investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the election in the state.

Democrats propose sending families at least $3k per child under Biden COVID-19 relief package
The House Ways and Means Committee on Monday is expected to lay out a proposal to send $3,600 per child to millions of American families, as House Democrats work to assemble the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package proposed by President Biden.

The 22-page proposal, first obtained by the Washington Post and confirmed by ABC News, would send $3,600 per child under 6 years old to American families, and $3,000 per child between the ages of 6 and 17. The benefit would decrease for Americans making more than $75,000 annually, or couples earning more than $150,000 a year.

Rep. Ron Wright of Texas dies following COVID-19 diagnosis
Republican Rep. Ron Wright of Texas has died, his congressional office announced in a statement Monday, saying that he had been admitted to the hospital after contracting COVID-19. “Congressman Ron Wright passed away peacefully at the age of 67 on Feb. 7, 2021. His wife Susan was by his side and he is now in the presence of their Lord and Savior,” the statement read. “For the previous two weeks, Ron and Susan had been admitted to Baylor Hospital in Dallas after contracting COVID-19.”

President Biden wants to use NFL stadiums for COVID-19 vaccine distribution
President Joe Biden says his administration intends to take up the NFL on its offer to use all of the league’s stadiums as COVID-19 vaccination sites. Biden mentioned the offer that came from Commissioner Roger Goodell in a letter this past week during an interview on CBS’ Super Bowl pregame show.

Trump impeachment trial to open with debate on constitutionality
Lawyers for Donald Trump on Monday blasted the impeachment case against him as an act of “political theater” and accused House Democrats on the eve of the former president’s trial of exploiting the chaos and trauma of last month’s Capitol riot for their party’s gain.

Trump’s legal brief is a wide-ranging attack on the House case, foreshadowing the claims his lawyers intend to present on the same Senate floor that was invaded by rioters on Jan. 6. The sharp-tongued tone, with accusations that Democrats are making “patently absurd” arguments and trying to “silence a political opponent,” makes clear that Trump’s lawyers are preparing to challenge both the constitutionality of the trial and any suggestion that he was to blame for the insurrection.

Sen. Schumer, Rep. AOC announce FEMA to help pay for COVID-related funerals, burials
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced Monday that the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) will help pay for COVID-related funeral and burial costs incurred by low-income families. The money will be available by application only to New York families in need. Families can be reimbursed for funeral and burial costs up to $7,000.

Friday, Feb. 5

House passes amended budget bill to fast-track Biden’s stimulus plan without Republican support
The House passed the Senate-amended budget resolution in a 219-209 vote, unlocking the next phase in drafting the COVID-19 rescue package. Maine Rep. Jared Golden was the only Democrat to vote no.

VP Kamala Harris casts first-ever tie-breaking vote on budget resolution to pass COVID relief package
Vice President Kamala Harris cast her first-ever tie-breaking vote in the Senate early Friday morning on a budget resolution that’s a key step toward fast-track passage of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan without Republican support.

“The yeas are 50. The nays are 50. The Senate being equally divided, the vice president votes in the affirmative. And the concurrent resolution as amended is adopted,” she declared around 5:30 a.m. to the applause of fellow Democrats.

Congress reintroduces bipartisan Restaurants Act for long-term industry relief
A renewed glimmer of hope dawned on the restaurant industry Friday after the RESTAURANTS Act received overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate. The legislation was crafted to provide long-term relief to the hard-hit establishments.

On Friday, Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and representatives Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, and Brian Fitzpatrick, of Pennsylvania, formally introduced the RESTAURANTS Act in the 117th Congress following a 90-10 vote in the Senate supporting a budget amendment that will establish a dedicated restaurant relief fund.

Biden administration to deploy 1,100 troops to help COVID vaccination efforts
The Pentagon will deploy more than 1,100 troops to five vaccination centers in what will be the first wave of increased military support for the White House campaign to get more Americans inoculated against COVID-19. President Joe Biden has called for setting up 100 mass vaccination centers around the country within a month. One of the five new military teams will go to a vaccination center opening in California. Other centers are expected to be announced soon.

Thursday, Feb. 4

Biden officials considering executive action on student loan relief
The Biden administration is reviewing whether it can take steps to provide student debt relief through executive action, even as it continues to call on Congress to pass legislation to help borrowers and their families. A tweet by White House press secretary Jen Psaki appeared to go further than her comments at a briefing earlier Thursday, when she said President Joe Biden was looking to Congress to act next on student loan relief. Biden has said he supports up to $10,000 in student loan forgiveness per borrower.

Joe Biden aims to signal to world that America’s back in foreign policy speech
Asserting a broad reset of American foreign policy, President Joe Biden said Thursday that he would halt the withdrawal of U.S. troops stationed in Germany, end support for Saudi Arabia’s military offensive in Yemen and make support for LBTGQ rights a cornerstone of diplomacy.

In his first visit to the State Department as president, Biden called for a return to the “grounding wire of our global power.” He sought to buck up the diplomatic corps, many of whom were discouraged by the policies and tone of former President Donald Trump.

Trump, facing expulsion, resigns from Screen Actors Guild
Donald Trump has resigned from the Screen Actors Guild after the union threatened to expel him for his role in the Capitol riot in January. In a letter dated Thursday and addressed to SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris, Trump said he was resigning from the union that he had been a member of since 1989.

House Dems ask former President Trump to testify under oath in Senate impeachment trial
House Democrats have asked former President Donald Trump to testify under oath for his Senate impeachment trial. A Trump adviser did not immediately return a message seeking comment about the letter from House impeachment managers.

Americans are ‘suffering’: Janet Yellen demands pandemic relief
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen spoke out about the “urgent need” for pandemic relief and the recent GameStop stock market drama in an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America” Thursday.

“This is really an urgent need, and we need to act big, we have to make sure that we provide a bridge so that people aren’t scarred indefinitely by this crisis,” Yellen said. “And small businesses around the country, so many of them have closed, they’re the lifeblood of their communities and they really need help to make it to the other side.”

Wednesday, Feb. 3.

Biden’s COVID plan: President urges Democrats to take bold action, says GOP proposal too small
President Joe Biden told House Democrats on Wednesday he’s “not married” to an absolute number on his $1.9 trillion COVID rescue plan but Congress needs to “act fast” on relief for the pandemic and the economic crisis. Biden also said he doesn’t want to budge from his proposed $1,400 in direct payments that he said were promised to Americans.

Democrats plan vote on ousting Marjorie Taylor Greene from panels as she embraces Q’Anon, violence
A top Democrat said the House will vote Thursday on removing Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committees, intensifying the stakes over the Georgia Republican’s online embrace of conspiracy theories and violent racist views. The announcement by No. 2 House Democrat Steny Hoyer of Maryland came Wednesday as showdowns approached over Greene and Rep. Liz Cheney, who’ve antagonized opposing wings of a Republican Party struggling to define itself without Donald Trump in the White House.

Miguel Cardona, Joe Biden’s pick for education secretary, vows to tackle problems worsened by COVID-19
President Joe Biden’s nominee for education secretary is promising to help reopen schools but says much of the hardest work will come after that as schools try to address long-standing disparities worsened by the pandemic. “These inequities will endure, and prevent the potential of this great country, unless tackled head-on,” Miguel Cardona said in testimony prepared for a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing Wednesday. “And so it is our responsibility, and it would be my greatest privilege, if confirmed, to forge opportunity out of this crisis.”

New Jersey native, slain Capitol Officer Brian Sicknick honored in DC: ‘We will never forget’
Congressional leaders paid tribute Wednesday to slain U.S. Capitol police officer and New Jersey native Brian Sicknick in the building he died defending, promising his family and his fellow officers that they will never forget his sacrifice.

Sicknick, originally from South River, died after an insurrectionist mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, interrupting the electoral count after then-President Donald Trump urged them to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat. The U.S. Capitol Police said in a statement that Sicknick, who died the next day, was injured “while physically engaging with protesters,” though the cause of his death has not been determined.

Tuesday, Feb. 2

Biden administration moves to provide COVID-19 vaccine to pharmacies
President Joe Biden’s administration announced Tuesday that it is moving to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines, freeing up more doses for states and beginning to distribute them to retail pharmacies next week. The push comes amid new urgency to speed vaccinations to prevent the spread of potentially more serious strains of the virus that has killed more than 445,000 Americans.

Starting next week, 1 million doses will be distributed to some 6,500 pharmacies across the country, the White House said. The administration is also boosting by 500,000 the weekly allocation of vaccines sent directly to states and territories for the coming weeks, up to 10.5 million. It is allowing state and local governments to receive additional federal dollars to cover previously incurred expenses relating to the pandemic.

Biden signs immigration executive order creating task force to reunite families separated at border
President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed a second spate of orders to undo his predecessor’s immigration policies, demonstrating the powers of the White House and its limitations without support from Congress.

His orders on family separation, border security and legal immigration bring to nine the number of executive actions on immigration during his first two weeks in office. With proposed legislation to give legal status and a path to citizenship to all of the estimated 11 million people in the country who don’t have it, Biden has quickly taken aim at many of former President Donald Trump’s sweeping changes to deter immigration, both legal and illegal, and established a vision that is likely to far outlast his tenure if he’s able to muster enough support in a deeply divided Congress.

Biden Cabinet: Senate confirms Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary
The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary, the first openly gay person confirmed to a Cabinet post, tasked with advancing President Joe Biden’s ambitious agenda of rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure and fighting climate change. Buttigieg, a 39-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and Biden’s one-time rival during the Democratic presidential primaries, was approved on a 86-13 vote.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reveals she is sexual assault survivor during Instagram Live on Capitol attack
A teary-eyed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Monday recounted hiding in her office bathroom as a man repeatedly yelled “Where is she?” during the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, and also revealed a sexual assault in her past as she talked about trauma. The remembered terror of the day made Ocasio-Cortez get emotional as she spoke during an Instagram live video, and she chastised those she said wanted Americans to put the day behind them and not recognize the lingering impact of such an event.

House Dems make case for conviction; Trump lawyers deny charges
Donald Trump endangered the lives of all members of Congress when he aimed a mob of supporters “like a loaded cannon” at the U.S. Capitol, House Democrats said Tuesday in making their most detailed case yet for why the former president should be convicted and permanently barred from office. Trump denied the allegations through his lawyers and called the trial unconstitutional.

The Democratic legal brief forcefully linked Trump’s baseless efforts to overturn the results of the presidential election to the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, saying he bears “unmistakable” blame for actions that threatened the foundation of American democracy. It argued that he must be found guilty when his impeachment trial opens before the Senate next week on a charge of inciting the siege. And it used evocative language to conjure the day’s chaos, when “terrified members were trapped in the chamber” and called loved ones “for fear they would not survive.”

Senate confirms Alejandro Mayorkas as Biden’s homeland security chief
The Senate confirmed Alejandro Mayorkas on Tuesday as President Joe Biden’s homeland security secretary, the first Latino to fill a post that will have a central role in the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, a sweeping Russia-linked cyber hack and domestic extremism. Mayorkas was confirmed by a 56-43 vote, the narrowest margin yet for a Biden Cabinet nominee. The first immigrant to serve in the job, he is expected to lead a broad policy overhaul of an agency that was accused of being deeply politicized as it carried out President Donald Trump’s initiatives on immigration and law enforcement.

Biden designates Myanmar military’s takeover a coup, triggering aid freeze
The Biden administration has declared the military’s takeover in Myanmar as a “coup d’état,” according to senior State Department officials, triggering a halt of U.S. foreign aid to the country’s government. The fast-unfolding situation presents a first foreign policy crisis to President Joe Biden, who argued during the 2020 campaign that he would “restore” U.S. leadership on democracy and human rights after four years of former President Donald Trump’s “America First” focus.

Monday, Feb. 1

Biden meets Republicans proposing $618 billion COVID-19 aid package
President Joe Biden met for two hours late Monday with a group of Republican senators who have proposed a slimmed down $618 billion coronavirus aid package that is only a fraction of the $1.9 trillion he is seeking. Skeptical Democrats vowed to push ahead in Congress with or without GOP support.

No compromise was reached from the lengthy session, Biden’s first with lawmakers at the White House. But the Republicans said there was agreement to keep discussions going over their smaller, more targeted package that would do away with Democratic priorities but might win GOP support and appeal to Biden’s hopes to unify the country.

Friday, Jan. 29

Biden’s COVID-19 relief plan: Democrats prepared to ‘move forward without’ Republicans
Democrats in Congress and the White House have rejected a Republican pitch to split President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 rescue plan into smaller chunks, with lawmakers appearing primed to muscle the sweeping economic and virus aid forward without GOP help.

Despite Biden’s calls for unity, Democrats said the stubbornly high unemployment numbers and battered U.S. economy leave them unwilling to waste time courting Republican support that might not materialize. They also don’t want to curb the size and scope of a package that they say will provide desperately needed money to distribute the vaccine, reopen schools and send cash to American households and businesses.

Republican leader meets with Trump 2 weeks after pinning Capitol riot on ex-president
Just two weeks ago, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy declared Donald Trump culpable in the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol. By Thursday, he was seeking his political support. A private meeting between the two men at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort signaled a remarkable turnaround in the former president’s stature among elected Republicans. In the immediate aftermath of the insurrection Trump inspired, the idea that he would enjoy any sort of kingmaker role in his post-presidency seemed highly unlikely.

National Geographic photographer creates striking Inauguration Day time-lapse
It might sound difficult to capture an entire day in one frame, but that’s exactly what one National Geographic photographer did for President Joe Biden’s inauguration – with a little help in post-production. Photographer Stephen Wilkes and his assistant Lenny Christopher spent 15 hours that day in a scissor lift on the National Mall, snapping more than 1,500 photographs from the early hours of the morning until nightfall.

FBI: Pipe bombs at RNC, DNC were planted night before Trump supporters stormed Capitol
Two pipe bombs left at the offices of the Republican and Democratic national committees, discovered just before thousands of pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol, were actually placed the night before, federal officials said Friday. The FBI said the investigation had revealed new information, including that the explosive devices were placed outside the two buildings between 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 5, the night before the riot. The devices were not located by law enforcement until the next day.

Thursday, Jan. 28

President Biden signs executive order to reopen Affordable Care Act enrollment amid COVID-19
President Joe Biden on Thursday ordered government health insurance markets to reopen for a special sign-up window, offering uninsured Americans a haven as the spread of COVID-19 remains dangerously high and vaccines aren’t yet widely available.

Biden signed an executive order directing the insurance markets to take new applications for subsidized benefits, something Donald Trump’s administration had refused to do. He also instructed his administration to consider reversing other Trump health care policies, including curbs on abortion counseling and the imposition of work requirements for low-income people getting Medicaid.

White House predicts 90,000 US COVID-19 deaths in next 4 weeks
The Biden administration launched its new level-with-America health briefings Wednesday with a projection that as many as 90,000 more in the U.S. will die from the coronavirus in the next four weeks – a sobering warning as the government strains to improve delivery and injection of vaccines.

The tone of the hourlong briefing was in line with President Joe Biden’s promise to be straight with the nation about the state of the outbreak that has already claimed more than 425,000 U.S. lives. It marked a sharp contrast to what had become the Trump show in the past administration, when public health officials were repeatedly undermined by a president who shared his unproven ideas without hesitation.

Wednesday, Jan 27

Democrat floats Trump censure as conviction grows unlikely
Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine said Wednesday that he’s discussing with colleagues whether a censure resolution to condemn former President Donald Trump for his role in the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol could be an alternative to impeachment, even as the Senate proceeds with a trial.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has said the impeachment trial will move forward. But Kaine’s proposal is an acknowledgement that the Senate is unlikely to convict Trump of inciting the riot, a troubling prospect for many lawmakers who believe Trump must be held accountable in some way for the Capitol attack. If he were convicted, the Senate could then hold a second vote to ban him from office.

US terrorism alert warns of politically motivated violence after 2020 election
The Department of Homeland Security issued a national terrorism bulletin Wednesday warning of the lingering potential for violence from people motivated by anti-government sentiment after President Joe Biden’s election, suggesting the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol may embolden extremists and set the stage for additional attacks.

The department did not cite any specific plots, but pointed to “a heightened threat environment across the United States” that it believes “will persist” for weeks after Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration.

GOP to stay neutral should Donald Trump run for president again
The head of the Republican National Committee on Wednesday declined to encourage former President Donald Trump to run for the White House in 2024, saying the GOP would stay “neutral” in its next presidential primary.

In an interview, RNC Chairman Ronna McDaniel also described the pro-Trump conspiracy theory group known as QAnon as “dangerous.”

The national GOP, under McDaniel’s leadership, spent the past four years almost singularly focused on Trump’s 2020 reelection. But should he run again in 2024 – and he has publicly and privately suggested he wants to – the national party infrastructure would not support his ambitions over other prospective candidates in accordance with party rules, she said.

Joe Biden signs executive orders to cut US oil, gas and coal emissions
In the most ambitious U.S. effort to stave off the worst of climate change, President Joe Biden signed executive orders Wednesday to transform the nation’s heavily fossil-fuel powered economy into a clean-burning one, pausing oil and gas leasing on federal land and targeting subsidies for those industries.

The directives aim to conserve 30 percent of the country’s lands and waters in the next 10 years, double the nation’s offshore wind energy, and move to an all-electric federal vehicle fleet, among other changes. Biden’s sweeping plan is aimed at staving off the worst of global warming caused by burning fossil fuels.

Tuesday, Jan. 26

Biden administration to boost COVID-19 vaccine supply next week
The Biden administration is boosting purchases of coronavirus vaccines to deliver enough to protect 300 million Americans by the end of the summer, as it surges deliveries to states for the next three weeks following complaints of shortages and inconsistent supplies.

President Joe Biden was set to announce the surge in deliveries to states Tuesday afternoon, along with the news that the federal government is purchasing an additional 100 million doses each of the two approved coronavirus vaccines. With existing purchases, the White House expects to be able to deliver enough of the two-dose regimens to states to vaccinate 300 million people.

Joe Biden orders end of federally run private prisons
President Joe Biden on Tuesday ordered the Department of Justice to end its reliance on private prisons and acknowledge the central role government has played in implementing discriminatory housing policies. In remarks before signing the order, Biden said the U.S. government needs to change “its whole approach” on the issue of racial equity. He added that the nation is less prosperous and secure because of the scourge of systemic racism.

Judge bars President Joe Biden from enforcing 100-day deportation ban
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.”

Kamala Harris swears in Janet Yellen, 1st woman Treasury secretary
Janet Yellen was sworn in Tuesday as the nation’s 78th Treasury secretary and the first woman to hold the office. She was sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris, the first woman elected to the position, at a ceremony performed outside on the East Wing entrance to the White House in view of the department Yellen will now lead. Yellen’s husband, George Akerlof, winner of the 2001 Nobel prize in economics, and their son Robert, also an economist, were present for the brief ceremony.

Senate rejects GOP motion to dismiss Trump impeachment trial
The Senate has rejected a Republican attempt to dismiss Donald Trump’s historic second impeachment trial, a vote that allows the case on “incitement of insurrection” to move forward but also foreshadows that there may not be enough votes to convict him.

The 55-45 procedural vote to set aside an objection from Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul puts the Senate on record as declaring the proceedings constitutional and means the trial on Trump’s impeachment, the first ever of a former president, will begin as scheduled the week of Feb. 8. The House impeached him two weeks ago for inciting deadly riots in the Capitol on Jan. 6 when he told his supporters to “fight like hell” to overturn his election defeat.

Antony Blinken confirmed as Biden’s secretary of state
Antony Blinken, a longtime aide to Joe Biden and former deputy Secretary of State, has been confirmed by the Senate to be America’s next top diplomat. Blinken, confirmed on Tuesday 78-22, takes over an agency beleaguered by budget cuts and low morale, but has vowed to reinvest in American diplomacy.

Monday, Jan. 25

Senate confirms Janet Yellen as first woman to be treasury secretary
The Senate on Monday approved President Joe Biden’s nomination of Janet Yellen to be the nation’s 78th treasury secretary, making her the first woman to hold the job in the department’s 232-year history. Yellen, a former chair of the Federal Reserve, was approved by the Senate on a 84-15 vote, becoming the third member of Biden’s Cabinet to win confirmation.

Joe Biden reverses Trump ban on transgender people serving in military
President Joe Biden signed an order Monday reversing a Trump-era Pentagon policy that largely barred transgender individuals from serving in the military. The new order, which Biden signed in the Oval Office during a meeting with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, overturns a ban ordered by President Donald Trump in a tweet during his first year in office. It immediately prohibits any service member from being forced out of the military on the basis of gender identity.

House prepares to send Trump impeachment to Senate, GOP opposes trial
As the House prepares to bring the impeachment charge against Donald Trump to the Senate for trial, a growing number of Republican senators say they are opposed to the proceeding, dimming the chances that former president will be convicted on the charge that he incited a siege of the U.S. Capitol.

House Democrats will carry the sole impeachment charge of “incitement of insurrection” across the Capitol Monday evening, a rare, ceremonial walk to the Senate by the prosecutors who will argue the case. They are hoping that strong Republican denunciations of Trump after the Jan. 6 riot will translate into a conviction and a separate vote to bar Trump from holding office again.

Biden administration looking to ‘speed up’ Harriet Tubman $20 bill redesign
With a change of administrations, it looks like Harriet Tubman is once again headed to the front of the $20 bill. Biden press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that the Treasury Department is taking steps to resume efforts to put the 19th century abolitionist leader on the $20 bill. Obama administration Treasury Secretary Jack Lew had selected Tubman to replace Andrew Jackson, the nation’s seventh president, on the $20 bill.

Biden plans to sign executive order for government to buy more US goods
Taking whatever steps he can to galvanize the economy, President Joe Biden signed an executive order Monday to boost government buying from U.S. manufacturers as he begins the negotiation process with Congress over a $1.9 trillion stimulus package. The executive order is among a flurry of moves by Biden during his first full week to publicly show he’s taking swift action to heal an ailing economy. Biden’s aides have hammered the talking points that the country is in a precarious spot and relief is urgently needed.

White House adds American Sign Language interpreter to press briefings
The Biden administration is adding a sign language interpreter to its daily press briefings. White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced the move during Monday’s briefing, and an interpreter could be seen on the White House’s YouTube stream of the event. Psaki said President Joe Biden “is committed to building an America that is more inclusive, more just and more accessible for every American, including Americans with disabilities and their families.”

Dominion Voting Systems sues Rudy Giuliani over false election claims, seeks more than $1B
Seeking to “set the record straight, to vindicate the company’s rights under civil law, to recover compensatory and punitive damages, and to stand up for itself, its employees, and the electoral process” Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sued former President Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. The 107-page lawsuit accused Giuliani of carrying out “defamatory falsehoods” about Dominion, in part to enrich himself through legal fees and his podcast.

First dogs Major and Champ arrive at the White House
The first dogs have arrived at the White House, including the first-ever rescue dog to call 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue home. According to First Lady Dr. Jill Biden’s office, the family wanted to get settled before moving Champ and Major from Delaware to Washington.

Friday, Jan. 22

President Biden signs executive orders addressing economic crisis
President Joe Biden took executive action Friday to provide a stopgap measure of financial relief to millions of Americans while Congress begins to consider his much larger $1.9 trillion package to help those affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump impeachment trial to begin week of Feb. 8, Schumer says
Opening arguments in the Senate impeachment trial for Donald Trump on the charge of incitement of insurrection for the Capitol riot will begin the week of Feb. 8. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced the schedule late Friday after reaching an agreement with Republicans.

Under the timeline, the House will transmit the impeachment article against Trump late Monday, with initial proceedings Tuesday. From there, Trump’s legal team will have time to prepare the case before opening arguments begin in February.

Janet Yellen’s nomination as Treasury secretary clears Senate committee
The Senate Finance Committee approved President Joe Biden’s nomination of Janet Yellen to be the nation’s 78th Treasury secretary on Friday, and supporters said they hoped to get the full Senate to approve it later in the day, making her the first woman to hold the job. The Finance Committee approved her nomination on a 26-0 vote. The administration is urging a quick confirmation vote, saying it’s critical to get the top member of Biden’s economic team in place as the Democratic president seeks to win approval of a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon and the incoming chairman of the Finance Committee, said he hoped to get Yellen’s nomination approved by the full Senate later Friday.

Lloyd Austin confirmed by Senate as 1st Black secretary of defense
Lloyd J. Austin, a West Point graduate who rose to the Army’s elite ranks and marched through racial barriers in a 41-year career, won Senate confirmation Friday to become the nation’s first Black secretary of defense. The 93-2 vote gave President Joe Biden his second Cabinet member; Avril Haines was confirmed on Wednesday as the first woman to serve as director of national intelligence. Biden is expected to win approval for others on his national security team in coming days, including Antony Blinken as secretary of state.

Thursday, Jan. 21

President Biden requires masks for travel, lays groundwork for reopening schools
With a burst of executive orders, President Joe Biden served notice Thursday that the nation’s COVID-19 response is under new management and he’s demanding progress to reduce infections and lift the siege Americans have endured for nearly a year.

The 10 orders signed by Biden are aimed at jump starting his national COVID-19 strategy to increase vaccinations and testing, lay the groundwork for reopening schools and businesses, and immediately increase the use of masks – including a requirement that Americans mask up for travel. One directive calls for a addressing health care inequities in minority communities hard hit by the virus.

President Biden pushes to reopen schools within 100 days as part of COVID-19 response
President Joe Biden is pledging to reopen most K-12 schools within 100 days — an ambitious goal as Covid cases surge and teachers across the country fight some plans to reopen.

Teachers’ union leaders say they are pleased with Biden’s sense of urgency and focus, but they warn that the 100-day pledge may need to be a goal rather than a fixed target.

Rallies in NJ, NYC celebrate President Biden’s immigration reforms, call for more action
On President Joe Biden’s first day in office, rallies were held in New Jersey and New York to both celebrate immediate action taken on immigration as well as to urge more reforms.

In Newark, Make the Road New Jersey hosted a press conference in front of the Federal building to urge members of Congress from the New Jersey delegation to support the efforts and call on the Biden administration to cease what they call cruel and inhuman immigration enforcement practices and to investigate Department of Homeland Security practices.

In New York City, the New York Immigration Coalition held a rally in Battery Park celebrated the end of President Trump’s so-called Muslim ban.

Biden Cabinet: Buttigieg urges big funds for Dept of Transportation in Senate hearing

President Joe Biden’s nominee for secretary of transportation, Pete Buttigieg, was headed down a smooth path to quick confirmation, pledging to senators on Thursday to work with them to carry out the administration’s ambitious agenda to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure.

A Senate committee vote on his nomination could come as soon as next week.

McConnell seeks to push Trump’s 2nd impeachment trial to February
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is proposing to push back the start of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial by a week or more to give the former president time to review the case.

House Democrats who voted to impeach Trump last week for inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol riots have signaled they want a quick trial as President Joe Biden begins his term, saying a full reckoning is necessary before the country – and the Congress – can move on.

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