Agreeing to agree here that we agree that no one is leaving until we all agree on how many more times we can say the word agree when it comes to the Covid package:
More (not much more) on the Covid package:
Hey all, Vivian Ho on the west coast, taking over the blog. Letâ€™s see where the rest of the day takes us, shall we?
It has been a busy day in Washington and around the country.
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recognized Joe Biden as the president-elect for the first time in a speech delivered on the Senate floor Tuesday. Donald Trump still refuses to concede but McConnellâ€™s comments signal a turning point for the party, which has indulged, supported and amplified the presidentâ€™s baseless claims of voter fraud.
- At a press briefing this afternoon, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany refused to acknowledge Bidenâ€™s victory and suggested Trump could still reverse the results of the election and serve a second term.
- Biden said he intended to take the coronavirus vaccine, though it remains unclear whether Trump will.
- At a campaign event in Atlanta, Biden implored Georgians to send Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock to the Senate. Their election would created a divided Senate, with vice president-elect Kamala Harris serving as a tiebreaker.
- Biden will tap Pete Buttigieg, a former rival, to be his transportation secretary.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is currently meeting with McConnell, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and House minority leader Kevin McCarthy to discuss the terms of a potential coronavirus relief package. McConnell said the Senate would not leave Washington without one.
Thatâ€™s all from me today. Iâ€™m handing the reigns over to my colleague on the west coast, Vivian Ho. Thanks for reading!
The Associated Press is reporting that the New Mexico congresswoman Deb Haaland is a leading contender to be Bidenâ€™s interior secretary.
Haaland, a member of New Mexicoâ€™s Pueblo of Laguna, would be the first Native American to lead the department, a role that includes dealing with the nearly 600 federally recognized tribes.
Native leaders as well as prominent womenâ€™s organizations and progressive members of Congress have backed Haaland for the role, though the AP reports that Biden is also considered the retiring senator Tom Udall and the former interior department official Michael Connor, who is also Native American.
One concern, according to the AP, is that Haalandâ€™s elevation would leave an open seat in the House, where Democrats hold a thin majority.
Wrapping up his remarks, Biden said he needed the Democratic candidates in the Senate to help him enact an ambitious economic agenda, climate change legislation and criminal justice reform.
Their election would create an evenly divided Senate, with Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote. Only then will the â€œdoors of promise and progress are going to open in Washington,â€ Biden said.
â€œIt really is time to leave the anger and bitten politics of division behind us. Itâ€™s time for us to come together as a country,â€ he implored Georgians, adding: â€œTurn out the vote so itâ€™s not even close. Donâ€™t give them an excuse, donâ€™t let them take away your power.â€
Biden is now introducing the two Democratic candidates. Speaking of Warnock, he marveled at how the pastor managed to stay in such good shape while continuing to preach and keep pace with a grueling campaign.
â€œI reached up and grabbed his arm â€“ itâ€™s as big as my thigh!â€ Biden remarked, laughing at his own joke. â€œYouâ€™re a good man, Rev.â€
â€œItâ€™s starting to feel like I won Georgia three times,â€ Biden crowed, as he began his remarks in Atlanta. Multiple recounts affirmed his victory in the states after Trump and his campaign challenged the result.
He said Georgians refused to be â€œbulliedâ€ or â€œsilencedâ€.
â€œYou who did nothing while Trump, Texas and others were trying to wipe out every single one of the almost 5 million votes you cast in November?â€ Biden said. â€œYour two Republican senators.â€
Biden was referencing their support for a Texas lawsuit that sought to set aside tens of millions of voters in Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. The Supreme Court refused to hear the case.
In the spirit of the season, Biden said heâ€™d try to be generous and suggested maybe the stateâ€™s senators thought they were representing the people of Texas.
â€œJon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock are running to represent Georgia. Georgia! Theyâ€™ll actually fight for you, represent you, stand up for you,â€ Biden said, making his pitch for the Democratic senators. â€œThey wonâ€™t put Texas first. They wonâ€™t put Donald Trump first. They wonâ€™t put themselves first either – theyâ€™ll put you first. Thereâ€™s no doubt in my mind – none, none – that if Texas or Trump or anyone else in the United States senate tries to do anything except respect the will of the people of Georgia, theyâ€™ll move heaven and earth to stop them.â€
â€œI need two senators from this state to get something done,â€ Biden added, â€œNot two senators who will just get in the way because, look, getting nothing done just huts Georgia.â€
â€œTo say that elections have consequences feels like a gross understatement. Elections, as we learned tragically this year, are a matter of life and death,â€ Warnock said. â€œAnd so vote, Georgia, like your life depends on it because it actually does.â€
â€œI am an example and an iteration of the American story,â€ Warnock continued. â€œIâ€™m a kid who grew up in public housing down in Savannah, Georgia.â€ He said he was born the 11th of 12 kids in his family, and the recipient of a Pell grant that allowed him to go to Morehouse College.
â€œOnly in America is my story even possible,â€ he said. â€œThe kid who grew up in public housing goes on to receive four degrees, including a PhD degree, and now Iâ€™m running for the United States senate against the wealthiest member of Congress. Thatâ€™s the American promise.â€
Nancy Pelosi announced that masks will now be required at all times in the chamber, including on the floor, â€œwithout exceptionâ€.
â€œThe message today is simple Georgia: the polls are open and it is time to vote. It is time to vote like we never have before Georgia,â€ Ossoff told voters. â€œWe have hope in our hearts because for the first time in four years we have the opportunity to define the next chapter in American history. Itâ€™s Georgia voters who have the power.â€
â€œThink how far the American South has come,â€ Ossoff added. â€œWe are the most competitive battleground state in this country. We did that. All of you did that. Stacey Abrams did that.â€
â€œGood afternoon to the great, blue state of Georgia,â€ Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said, opening her remarks at the rally. â€œIt always seems impossible until itâ€™s done.â€
Georgia narrowly voted for Biden in November, the first time the state voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1992.
Stacey Abrams has taken the stage in Atlanta, Georgia, where Biden is due to host a rally for Democratic Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.
In a fiery speech, Abrams warned of the cost of re-electing Republican senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue.
â€œWhen people who proclaim to be capitalists seem to believe in capitalism only for themselves, when we need money to our families and businesses to help our communities while Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue watch Mitch McConnell burn our economy down and they stand behind him holding the matches,â€ she said, her voice rising as supporters honked car horns in a sign of approval, â€œwe need to send our firefighters, our first responders. We are sending Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock to DC to save America. Thatâ€™s what we deserve.â€
She added that at a moment when American was in the midst of a racial reckoning, â€œKelly Loeffler poses accidentally for the second time with a KKK leader and unfortunately David Perdue has a hard time pronouncing the letter Kâ€ â€“ a reference to the moment when Perdue pretended he couldnâ€™t pronounce the name of his Senate colleague, Kamala Harris â€“ he â€œdoesnâ€™t seem to understand that the diversity that built America is the diversity that will save America. But we donâ€™t have to wait for them to do their jobs,â€ she said in a blistering attack on the Republican senators, encouraging Georgians to vote early ahead of the runoffs next month.