Good morning! It’s Friday, March 5, 2021. Election Day 2022 is 613 days away. Election Day 2024 is 1,341 days away.
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The Senate is moving towards passage of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. The chamber voted Thursday to open debate on the legislation, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking a 50-50 tie. Action was delayed as Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) exercised his right to call for a full reading of the 628-page bill, which took almost 11 hours and kept the Senate in session until after 2 a.m. With the reading over, the Senate will wrap up debate on the package today, and then move to the “vote-a-rama” to consider amendments.
Because the relief package is being passed under the budget reconciliation process, the majority party cannot control which amendments receive votes — meaning that dozens of proposed amendments will be voted on in the hours-long process. Senate Republicans, who uniformly opposed the procedural vote on the bill Thursday, are expected to offer politically painful measures for the Democrats.
During the last vote-a-rama in February (on the resolution that allowed Democrats to launch the reconciliation process), Republicans were able to peel away Democrats on amendments relating to the Keystone XL pipeline, undocumented immigrants, and other issues. Unlike during that voting series, the amendments considered tonight will have the full force and effect of law.
Video: Ron Johnson forces a reading of the entire coronavirus relief package on Thursday.
In the States
Aides to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) rewrote a report over the summer to obscure the full number of New York nursing home deaths during the pandemic. The episode, first reported in the Wall Street Journal and later confirmed by other news outlets, shows the lengths to which Cuomo and his team went to hide the nearly 10,000 New York nursing home residents who died of COVID-19 by July, after an order by the governor forcing nursing homes to admit patients who had tested positive for the virus.
The new revelation will only add to the mounting pressure faced by Cuomo. Three women have now accused him of sexual harassment; Charlotte Bennett, a former aide who is one of the accusers, told CBS News on Thursday that Cuomo’s uncomfortable questioning led her to a searing conclusion: “The governor’s trying to sleep with me.” Cuomo has resisted calls from his own party to step down and urged New Yorkers to wait for the results of an independent investigation being overseen by the state attorney general.
Video: Former Cuomo aide Charlotte Bennett speaks to CBS News about her claims of sexual harassment against the governor.
— A former State Department aide has been arrested in connection to the Capitol riot on January 6, the first Trump administration appointee to be tied by prosecutors to the attack. Politico
— The Capitol Police has requested that members of the National Guard continue to provide security at the Capitol for another two months. Associated Press
— President Biden called off a strike on a second military target in Syria last week after learning women and children were at the sites. Wall Street Journal
— Leaked documents show a surge of children in government custody at the border, as Biden faces a growing migrant crisis. Axios
All times Eastern.
President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will receive the President’s Daily Brief at 9:50 a.m. Then, at 12:15 p.m., they will have lunch together. At 2:15 p.m., they will receive an economic briefing with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. At 3:15 p.m., Biden will participate in a roundtable to discuss the coronavirus relief package. At 5:30 p.m., Biden and Harris will receive a COVID-19 briefing.
- U.S. public health officials will hold a press briefing at 11 a.m. on COVID-19 response. Participants will include Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the president; Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Andy Slavitt, the White House senior advisor for COVID-19 response.
- White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki will hold a press briefing at 12:30 p.m.The Senate will convene at 9 a.m. Following Leader remarks, the chamber will resume consideration of H.R. 1319, the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. There are three hours of debate remaining, which will be equally divided between the two parties.
After the three hours expire (or both sides yield back their time), the Senate will begin the “vote-a-rama,“ the long voting series on dozens of proposed amendments to the package.
The House is not in session.
The Supreme Court will meet for its weekly conference.
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