Here's the scoop on what's happening this week in Congress
On Wednesday, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn into office, but the need to immediately shift from celebrating to combatting some of the most “cascading crises of our era” was clear. More than 10 million American workers are unemployed, over 14 million Americans are behind on their lease payments and 30+ million adults are trying to overcome food insecurity. On day one, the Biden administration took aggressive steps, initiating the implementation of his first 10-Day Plan – the same plan previously outlined by the President’s Chief of Staff, Ron Klein in an earlier memo to incoming white house senior staff enumerating the signing of “dozens of executive orders, presidential memoranda, and directives to Cabinet Agencies” to take decisive actions on the four pressing crises (the pandemic, employment, climate, and racial equity) to “restore America’s place in the world.”
The Administration also released an optimistic plan to administer 100 million coronavirus vaccination shots within the first 100 days of his presidency. This plan includes working with states to ensure the vaccine is widely available to priority groups like the elderly (age 65 and older) who have accounted for more than 80 percent of pandemic deaths.
COVID-19 relief will be the top, fastest-moving priority and will likely be released at the end of March ’21 as the Administration will likely have to overcome a number of procedural challenges and pushback. The pressing crisis will likely outweigh efforts to seek bipartisan cooperation, as the administration and Senate Democrats highlight that it will not take “options” off the table – including reconciliation – an option that Senate Minority Leader McConnell in his quest to preserve the filibuster, opposes.
However, Majority Leader Schumer’s spokesperson confirmed the two leaders have made substantial progress on Biden’s nominee confirmations and specifics around the “fair impeachment trial” of outgoing President Donald Trump – who’s conviction in the Senate would require support from all 50 Democrats and at least 17 Republicans. The lengthy processes surrounding impeachment could potentially derail many of the Biden Administration’s initial policy priorities if Republicans decide to drag on the process. McConnell, in the Trump Administration’s last day surprised the nation when he stated the former President Trump “Provoked” the rioters responsible for the tumultuous events at the Capitol on January 6.