McConnell ends Senate filibuster standoff

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Petra Cahill
·5 min read
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Good morning, NBC News readers.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell backed-off a demand that had left the Senate at a standstill, House managers delivered the Trump impeachment article and President Joe Biden ups his vaccine goal.

Here's what we're watching this Tuesday morning.

McConnell ends Senate standoff over filibuster - for now

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., signaled late Monday night that he was open to a power-sharing agreement with Democrats that did not include a written commitment to keeping the filibuster.

The Senate is now split 50-50 along party lines. Vice President Kamala Harris, as president of the Senate, gives Democrats narrow control of the chamber with her tiebreaking vote that can help push through President Joe Biden's legislative priorities.

McConnell had said he wanted Democrats to promise to preserve the 60-vote threshold to pass nearly every piece of legislation — a rule known as the filibuster — in exchange for the transfer of control of the Senate's committees.

Democrats, including Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, had made it clear that the party was unwilling to make that promise. The clash has left the chamber stuck at an impasse without establishing the new majority.

But after two Democratic senators voiced support for the longstanding filibuster rule, McConnell signaled a willingness to move forward.

"We’re glad Senator McConnell threw in the towel and gave up on his ridiculous demand," a spokesperson for Schumer said late Monday.

The move came after House managers delivered the article of impeachment against former President Donald Trump to the Senate on Monday, kicking off preparations for the coming trial.

In other politics news:

Biden ups vaccine goal to 1.5 million shots a day

President Joe Biden said he expects anyone who wants a coronavirus vaccination to be able to get one by the spring, and he upped his vaccination goal for his first 100 days in office.

Biden said Monday that he now believes the country can administer 1.5 million shots a day in the coming weeks and give 150 million vaccinations over the next 100 days.

He said that to reach his new goal, the government is going to have to set up more vaccination sites, hire more people to administer the shots and ensure that there are enough supplies of supplies like syringes. He is asking Congress for more than $400 billion to fund the effort.

But the president also cautioned patience.

"It is going to take time. It is going to take a heck of a lot of time," Biden said, adding: "We are in this for a while."

Meantime, with the emergence of new variants of the virus, some people are wondering: Should I be wearing two masks?

Experts, like Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, say it can't hurt.

A mask "is a physical covering to prevent droplets," Fauci said Monday on NBC's "TODAY" show. "So, if you have a physical covering with one layer, you put another layer on, it just makes common sense that it likely would be more effective."

Follow our live blog for all the latest Covid-19 developments.

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Plus

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If a Republican like Rob Portman won't run for re-election, don't hold out for a Trump-free GOP, communications strategist Ashley Pratte writes in an opinion piece.

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Quote of the day

"It's been a year, and I still can't believe it. Or I don't want to believe it."

— Tony Starks, one of millions of Kobe Bryant fans who is still mourning the NBA great on the one year anniversary of his sudden death.

One fun thing

The White House has two more new residents.

Biden’s two German shepherds, Major and Champ, have joined the president and first lady Jill Biden in their new home.

The Bidens wanted to get settled in before bringing their dogs down from Delaware, but Major didn't waste any time exploring the grounds and running around in one of the world’s most famous yards.

Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

If you have any comments — likes, dislikes — send me an email at: petra@nbcuni.com

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Thanks, Petra