Day ten of the Biden presidency and the president has already signed more than three dozen executive orders and directives aimed at addressing the coronavirus pandemic as well as a gamut of other issues including environmental regulations, immigration policies and racial justice. While no executive orders are expected today, President Biden and Vice President Harris met with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen at 11 a.m for an economic briefing. Biden and Harris will have lunch together at 12:30 p.m. and Biden will travel to Walter Reed for a visit with wounded soldiers this afternoon.
Both the Senate and House are not in session today. The Senate will return on Monday, February 1st and the House on Tuesday, February 2nd. Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced the Democratic Majority will follow the proposed 2021 senate calendar that the Republican Leader released late last year. It is attached.
The Senate stands adjourned until 3:00pm on Monday, February 1st at which time the Senate will proceed to Executive Session and resume consideration of Alejandro Mayorkas to be Secretary of Homeland Security. The Senate voted Thursday to break a GOP filibuster and advance the nomination after Republicans objected to efforts to quickly install a critical leader of the country’s national security apparatus. Mayorkas is widely expected to be confirmed. Senate Democrats and the Biden administration have pushed for days to move Mayorkas’ nomination forward given the department’s role in preserving national security, helping in the pandemic response and overseeing immigration policy, but GOP opposition is dragging it out. The confirmation vote will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Monday.
Senate and House Democrats plan to immediately begin work on the sixth COVID relief package early next week. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced in separate press conferences Thursday that they could begin moving towards the reconciliation process as soon as next week. The House and the Senate will take initial votes next week on a budget bill that would allow subsequent party-line passage of the sweeping relief package by budget reconciliation, if need be. Several Republicans suggested that they would be open to a narrower bill focused on money for vaccines and other priorities. But Democrats and the White House said they were not going that route. In addition to the new round of stimulus checks, Biden’s plan includes an extension of unemployment benefits set to expire in mid-March, an increased child tax credit, and hundreds of billions of dollars for schools, vaccines and the health-care system. “We are not looking to split the package,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday. No final decision has been made yet to move without Republican support. Although Democrats are hoping for a bipartisan bill, and President Biden is trying to personally recruit some moderate Senators to get on board, both Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi seem determined to avoid a months long process like the last COVID package.