Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) announced yesterday that he and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) clinched an agreement on the parameters and schedule for former President Donald J. Trump’s second impeachment trial. As a result, Senate leaders will update the trial’s organizing resolution before the full chamber adopts it on Tuesday with Senators from both parties aiming for a swift trial that lasts around a week. The proceedings start today at 1 p.m. The two parties will then split 4 hours to make their case as to why or why not Trump can be impeached now that he is out of office, a matter that will be settled by a simple majority vote. On Wednesday, Trump’s defense team and the House managers will have up to 16 hours per side for presentations, with Democrats starting first at noon. A conviction requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate, which means 17 Republicans would need to join all 50 Democrats in finding Trump guilty of the House’s charge that he incited insurrection by provoking his supporters to storm the Capitol on January 6th. But Tuesday’s vote on whether to dismiss the charge on constitutional grounds is expected to show only a handful of Senate Republicans willing to proceed with the trial and consider the evidence. A majority of Senate Republicans have already signaled that they view the impeachment trial as unconstitutional because Trump is now a private citizen. That solidified as the overwhelming GOP position on January 26th when 45 of the Senate’s 50 Republicans voted against a Democratic motion to table, or kill, a constitutional point of order from Kentucky GOP Senator Rand Paul against the proceedings after senators were sworn in as jurors for the trial. The House impeachment managers filed their final legal brief a short time ago.
Also today, the Senate will continue work on the following nominations:
9:15 a.m.: The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will have a hearing on the nomination of Neera Tanden to be director of the Office of Management and Budget.
10 a.m.: The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will vote on the nomination of Michael Regan to be administrator of the EPA.
As most House committees continue drafting sections of the COVID relief legislation, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the stimulus will probably advance under reconciliation, a procedure that requires only simple majority support in the Senate. 200 former Obama administration officials published an open letter on Friday, urging the Biden administration to push ahead to pass the full $1.9 trillion package using reconciliation and avoid the pitfalls of a protracted process like in 2009. To that end, the House Ways and Means Committee on Monday released its nearly $941 billion worth of recommendations for the broader coronavirus relief bill Democrats are putting together, including the tax rebates President Joe Biden wants but with a more limited scope based on income. The package (Text and Section by Section) unveiled by Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-Massachusetts) has much steeper declines in direct payment amounts to households above certain income thresholds. Unlike previous virus aid rounds, which phased out the payments at a rate of 5 cents on the dollar above $75,000 in adjusted gross income for individuals and $150,000 for married couples filing jointly, the $1,400 per person payments would dwindle to zero at $100,000 and $200,000, respectively.
Today, leading business executives are expected to meet with President Biden at the White House at 1:45 pm to discuss the administration’s economic relief package. Expected is Jaime Dimon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of JPMorgan Chase, joined by Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart; Sonia Syngal, from GAP; Marvin Ellison, CEO of Lowe’s; and Tom Donohue, of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Also expected at the meeting is Vice President Kamala Harris, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.