Vaccine delivered to Richard Borchard Fairgrounds
- The Week
The evenly split Senate is having a hard time agreeing who's in charge.Georgia's two new Democratic senators were sworn in Wednesday, giving Republicans and Democrats 50 senators each, with Vice President Kamala Harris as a Democratic tiebreaker. The two parties are now working out a power-sharing agreement, but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) commitment to the filibuster is standing in the way.McConnell on Thursday formally acknowledged Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) as the chamber's new majority leader. But as he has been for days, McConnell again implored Democrats to preserve the filibuster that lets a senator extend debate and block a timely vote on a bill if there aren't 60 votes to stop it. Democrats "have no plans to gut the filibuster further, but argue it would be a mistake to take one of their tools off the table just as they're about to govern," Politico reports; More progressive senators do want to remove the option completely.If his filibuster demands aren't met, McConnell has threatened to block the Senate power-sharing agreement that would put Democrats in charge of the body's committees. But Democrats already seem confident in their newfound power, with Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) telling Politico that "Chuck Schumer is the majority leader and he should be treated like majority leader." Giving in to McConnell "would be exactly the wrong way to begin," Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) echoed.Other Democrats shared their resistance to McConnell's demands in tweets. > McConnell is threatening to filibuster the Organizing Resolution which allows Democrats to assume the committee Chair positions. It's an absolutely unprecedented, wacky, counterproductive request. We won the Senate. We get the gavels.> > -- Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) January 21, 2021> So after Mitch McConnell changed the Senate rules at a blistering pace during his 6 years in charge, he is threatening to filibuster the Senate's organizing resolution unless the Democratic majority agrees to never change the rules again.> > Huh.> > -- Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) January 21, 2021More stories from theweek.com Biden removes Trump's Diet Coke button from the Oval Office 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit The Lincoln Project used an old Saved by the Bell PSA to troll Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley
- National Review
During her first press conference on January 20, President Joe Biden’s White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, was asked by an EWTN reporter about Biden’s intentions on killing two pro-life policies: the Hyde amendment (a measure that prohibits direct federal funding of elective abortions under Medicaid) and the Mexico City Policy (an executive order that denies funding to overseas organizations that perform or promote abortion). Psaki said she’d have more to say in the coming days on the Mexico City Policy — a measure backed by every Republican president since Reagan and rescinded by every new Democratic president shortly following his inauguration. And on Thursday, Anthony Fauci announced that Biden will indeed be scrapping the policy. Psaki dodged on the Hyde amendment. “I will just take the opportunity to remind all of you that he is a devout Catholic, and somebody who attends church regularly. He started his day attending church with his family this morning,” she said. “But I don’t have anything more for you on that.” The Hyde amendment has been the most important pro-life public policy in America for over four decades. It has survived for 45 consecutive years — regardless of partisan control of the White House and Congress — and by one estimate, it has saved 60,000 human lives from abortion each year it has been in place. Does Psaki’s dodge on the Hyde amendment mean anything at all? It could just be that Biden didn’t want to do anything on his first day to alienate a majority of the country that opposes taxpayer funding of abortion. It’s impossible to square the calls to unity and religious themes of his inauguration with repealing the Hyde amendment — a measure that Biden himself portrayed as a policy that protects fundamental conscience rights when he supported it from 1976 to 2019. “I will continue to abide by the same principle that has guided me throughout my 21 years in the Senate: those of us who are opposed to abortion should not be compelled to pay for them,” Biden wrote to a constituent in 1994. “As you may know, I have consistently — on no fewer than 50 occasions — voted against federal funding of abortions.” Biden reiterated his support for the “middle-of-the-road” policy in 2008, but under pressure from progressive activists during the most recent Democratic presidential primary, he abandoned his support for the Hyde amendment in June 2019. This made it clear that Biden would sign a bill killing the Hyde amendment if it made it to his desk, but it remains unclear whether Congress has the votes and the will to pass such a bill. Representative Rosa DeLauro, chair of the powerful House appropriations committee, is pushing full steam ahead to kill the Hyde amendment, and Speaker Pelosi has said she’s supportive of the effort. But former Democratic congressman Dan Lipinski — who lost a primary in 2020 because of his pro-life stance — said in an interview with National Review in December that he doesn’t think Pelosi will even put a bill killing the Hyde amendment on the floor. In Lipinski’s view, Pelosi might not have the votes and it could cost Democrats the majority in 2022. Polling shows that taxpayer funding of abortion is deeply unpopular. Still, that’s just one sincere pro-life Democrat’s (informed) opinion, and it’s entirely possible the House will pass a bill killing the Hyde amendment. If the House passes a bill ending the Hyde amendment, a lot will depend on West Virginia Democratic senator Joe Manchin. The Hyde amendment is attached to spending bills that are subject to a 60-vote threshold, and Manchin has sworn up and down that he will not get rid of the filibuster. And Manchin told National Review in December that he is “strongly opposed” to getting rid of the Hyde amendment. “As a life-long Catholic, I have always been pro-life and believe that the Hyde amendment ensures federal funds are not used to perform abortions anywhere in the country,” Manchin said in a written statement. “Repealing the Hyde amendment would be foolish and I’m strongly opposed to this push from some Members of Congress. If this legislation is brought before the Senate I will vote against repealing the Hyde amendment.” Still, even if Manchin keeps his word on the filibuster, it remains possible Democrats could try to expand taxpayer funding of abortion when they pass a budget-reconciliation bill, which only needs a simple majority but is subject to complex rules. In budget reconciliation, Democrats will likely attempt to pass a government-run health-insurance program (the “public option”), and Biden explicitly cited his support for a public option as a rationale for abandoning his support for the Hyde amendment. Manchin hasn’t commented on whether he could support such a public option. Of course, there’s no reason that a public option must fund elective abortion. In November 2009, the House passed a health-care bill that applied the Hyde amendment to the public option, but neither provision made it into law. As president, Biden could insist on supporting such a public option if that’s what he wanted. As senator, Joe Manchin could do the same. They may not be able to dodge the issue for long, and they won’t be able to hide behind their faith when it comes time to choose. And if they pass a bill that kills or weakens the America’s most important pro-life policy for the last 45 years, they won’t be able to plausibly claim that they are restoring American unity.
- Associated Press
Transgender kids would be banned from playing on school sports teams for the gender with which they identify under a GOP-backed bill that advanced Thursday in Montana, one of more than a dozen states where lawmakers are proposing restrictions on athletics or gender-confirming health care for trans minors this year. The order immediately sparked a backlash from conservative groups, a split that reflects the deep divisions in the U.S. around transgender youth. Proponents of the Montana bill say allowing transgender athletes to compete can create an unfair playing field in middle and high schools, especially in girls' sports.
- Architectural Digest
- CBS News
Vice presidents since Vice President Walter Mondale have been living in the residence at the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C.
- The Week
Trump's team fired the White House chief usher right before Biden took office, maybe at Biden's request
When President Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden arrived at the White House on Wednesday afternoon, there was no chief usher to greet them. He had been fired at about 11:30 a.m., half an hour before Biden was sworn in as president, The New York Times reports. Former first lady Melania Trump had hired the chief usher, Timothy Harleth, from the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., in 2017, after the previous chief usher, Angella Reid, was dismissed a few months into Donald Trump's term.The White House chief usher is in charge of the first family's residence, overseeing everything from personnel issues to budgets. It is typically an apolitical job, and ushers typically stay through several administrations. Reid, hired in 2011, was only the ninth chief usher since 1885, though she was the first woman hired for the job. The Bidens had communicated to the White House counsel that they intended to bring in their own chief usher, a person familiar with the process told the Times. A Biden White House official told CNN that Harleth "was let go before the Bidens arrived," though CNN reports it was the Bidens who gave him the ax.Harleth was already in hot water with Trump's team, though. He "had found himself in an untenable position" since the election, "trying to begin preparations for a new resident in the White House, even as its occupant refused to concede that he would be leaving the premises," the Times reports. And Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, was "unhappy" with Harleth "for trying to send briefing books about the residence to the Biden transition team in November." Harleth "had worked with Jill Biden's staff for weeks to organize the move of household belongings," The Washington Post adds.The absence of a chief usher was one manifestation of the chaotic transition period, but it doesn't entirely explain the curious breach in protocol where nobody opened the doors for the BIdens when they arrived at the White House, the Times notes. The doors, which awkwardly stood closed for about 10 long seconds as the Bidens watched, are typically opened by Marine guards.Once the Bidens passed through the doors into the newly sanitized White House, things got better, the Post reports. "Awaiting Biden in a room adjacent to the Oval Office were two trays stacked with chocolate chip cookies, each one in plastic wrap with a gold presidential seal."More stories from theweek.com Biden removes Trump's Diet Coke button from the Oval Office 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit The Lincoln Project used an old Saved by the Bell PSA to troll Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley
- Yahoo News Video
President Joe Biden issued a warning Wednesday to his appointees that a hostile workplace will not be allowed in his administration.
- Associated Press
Capt. Scott Moss, who led the NOSC in Knoxville, was relieved of command by Capt. Dale Maxey.
- The Week
It's the end of a very caffeinated era.When former President Donald Trump occupied the Oval Office, he quite literally had a button on his desk that ordered a Diet Coke to the room whenever it was pressed. But as a glimpse at President Biden's desk just hours after his inauguration shows, the soda-summoning button is gone.> President Biden has removed the Diet Coke button. When @ShippersUnbound and I interviewed Donald Trump in 2019, we became fascinated by what the little red button did. Eventually Trump pressed it, and a butler swiftly brought in a Diet Coke on a silver platter. It's gone now. pic.twitter.com/rFzhPaHYjk> > — Tom Newton Dunn (@tnewtondunn) January 21, 2021While it may have sounded just too weird to be true, Trump's Diet Coke obsession and his button to match were absolutely real. No word on if Biden will install some kind of ice cream-ordering alternative.More stories from theweek.com 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit The Lincoln Project used an old Saved by the Bell PSA to troll Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley McConnell is already moving to strangle the Biden presidency
- CBS News
The vice president's residence at the Naval Observatory, where Harris will live, is undergoing repairs.
- Associated Press
A prominent Chicago family law attorney who was charged last summer with sexually assaulting a colleague has been charged with doing the same thing to two other women, including a client who says he told her that if he didn't have sex with him, she'd lose custody of her children. Prosecutors outlined the new charges against David Pasulka, 61, during a court hearing on Wednesday that ended with Judge Susana Ortiz setting his new bail amount at $100,000 on charges of sexual assault, aggravated sex assault and criminal sexual abuse. Pasulka, who was already out on bond in the initial case, was released from custody after posting the new amount, according to the Cook County Jail.
The scene at the U.S. Capitol, where Joe Biden took the oath of office, was a stark contrast to the riot on Jan. 6.
- The Independent
Former first lady seemed delighted to greet members of the Biden family
- The Telegraph
- Associated Press
- NBC News
Beau Biden, who served in the Guard, is buried at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Church cemetery in Greenville, Delaware.