Last updated on February 1, 2021 12:01 pm
Latest developments from Washington and beyond
Joe Biden is spending the weekend working on his administration’s ongoing efforts to tackle the Covid pandemic, as well as the government-funded aid package, billed as the American Rescue Plan.
In a tweet after his first full week in office, and amid criticism from his opponents over the heavy reliance on executive orders, Mr Biden highlighted key areas that he had already addressed and vowed: “I’m just getting started.”
Texas governor Greg Abbott has given the order for his state’s agencies to make legal challenges to the new administration’s environmental policy plans to tackle climate change. The governor is determined to protect the oil and gas industry in his state.
Donald Trump’s lead impeachment lawyers have quit with just over a week to go before his Senate trial, injecting fresh drama into a process that looks likely to result in an acquittal for the former president.
Butch Bowers and Deborah Barbier, both South Carolina lawyers, are no longer working for Mr Trump. A source told the Associated Press the parting was a “mutual decision” that reflected a difference of opinion on the direction of the case. It comes as all but five Senate Republicans this week voted in favour of an effort to dismiss the trial before it even started.
More from Adam Kinzinger’s Meet the Press interview
Responding to the photo of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s Mar-a-Lago visit, Congressman Adam Kinzinger says that the former president is desperate to portray himself as still leading the party.
“Until we push back and say this is not a Trump first party, this is a country first party … until we all stand up and say that, we are going to be chasing our tails here.”
Mr Kinzinger has launched a political action committee to battle the Trump wing of the party.
Mr Kinzinger said it is really difficult to be so public about his views regarding the direction of the party and his opposition to the former president.
“All of a sudden, imagine everybody that’s supported to … your friends, your family, has turned against you. They think you’re selling out.”
‘She believes in something that everybody else does not accept’
Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson gave this response today when asked on ABC whether Marjorie Taylor Greene is fit to serve in Congress given her fringe conspiracy views and having voiced support for executing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Homeland Security: TSA to enforce mask mandate
The Acting Secretary of Homeland Security David Pekoske has announced the issuance of a National Emergency Determination to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.
As part of this determination, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will implement President Joe Biden’s executive order on Promoting Covid-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel.
The TSA will now require all individuals to wear a face mask at screening checkpoints and throughout the commercial and public transportation system. Action can be taken consistent with the authorities of its federal jurisdiction to enforce the rules.
The mask mandate order was laid out by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention late on Friday night and goes into effect at 11.59pm on Monday.
The statement concludes: “Imposing these proven public health measures to reduce the spread of Covid-19 will mitigate the safety and security threat Covid-19 poses to transportation and contribute to the overall national effort to reduce the transmission of the disease.”
White House dogs Champ and Major get a snow day
Naomi Biden, the eldest of the president’s seven grandchildren, shared a photo of White House dogs Champ and Major enjoying a run in the snow that is blanketing DC.https://d-1558837109959049030.ampproject.net/2101211748002/frame.html
GOP could become ‘fringe’ party
‘It’s not just Marjorie Taylor Greene, it’s a disease flowing through the Republican Party’ says Susan Molinari.
Warren: Time for the SEC to ‘get off their duffs’
Speaking of Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts senator has been particularly vocal this week regarding the GameStop Wall Street debacle that highlighted the use of the technique of “short selling” by hedge funds.
Her calls for the Securities & Exchange Commission to properly enforce rules and regulate stock market trading as it is supposed to were a feature of her appearances on CNN and CNBC.
Schumer: GOP should negotiate not make an offer
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has poured cold water on the proposal from 10 Republican lawmakers for a much smaller $600bn Covid relief package.
“They should negotiate with us, not make a take-it-or-leave-it offer,” Schumer told Michael McAuliff of The New York Daily News. “It doesn’t have any state and local money in it. Look at that, just as one thing.”
Mr Schumer says Democrats will go ahead with reconciliation if they must, but Republicans can still come on board and make the bill bipartisan.
He also vowed that mistakes made during the 2009 financial rescue package and with the Affordable Care Package would not be repeated.
Marjorie Taylor Greene is a bigger problem than the GOP realised
Believing the election was stolen is one thing, but openly fantasising about the execution of political enemies is quite another, writes Andrew Buncombe.
Believing the election was stolen is one thing, but openly fantasising about the execution of political enemies is quite another.
Adam Kinzinger disowned by family members for impeaching Trump
“My dad’s cousins sent me a petition — a certified letter — saying they disowned me because I’m in ‘the devil’s army’ now,” said the Illinois congressman.
Republican disowned by family members and told he’s ‘possessed by the devil’ for impeaching Trump
‘It’s been crazy, when you have friends — that you thought were good friends that would love you no matter what — that don’t,’ Illinois congressman says