Adam S. Olsen- Washington, D.C.
February 11, 2021

House impeachment managers will focus on the harm and damage left behind by the January 6th insurrection in the second full day of their presentations in the Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald J. Trump  They will also focus on former President Trump’s lack of remorse in the wake of the attack on the Capitol in this final day of opening statements and the managers will also share more evidence of Trump’s role in the attack, revisiting the timeline and the danger those at the Capitol faced, including former Vice President Mike Pence.  In their first day of presentations, House impeachment managers shared new Capitol security camera video and police radio communications that stunned senators. The new evidence showed even more so how close the violent mob came to Pence and members of Congress and their staff.  The House managers sought in their first day of arguments on Wednesday to present Trump as methodically pushing the “big lie” of election fraud months before his loss, when he saw himself consistently trailing Joe Biden in the polls. That set the stage for him to incite the riot at the Capitol on January 6 by supporters who Democrats said had been primed by Trump’s relentless falsehoods to believe they were acting on his orders to “fight like hell” to prevent the election from being stolen.

While the impeachment trial plays out, House committees continue drafting the next COVID-19 relief package, which must pass before March 14th, to prevent many Americans from losing their increased unemployment benefits. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) said she is hoping to have the bill finished for a floor vote the week of February 22nd.   Today, during the committee work week in the House, work continues assembling the COVID relief legislation with budget reconciliation markups.  The Ways and Means Committee begins its markup at 10 a.m.  The Energy and Commerce Committee markup is at 11 a.m.  Chairman Pallone Committee Memo.  Financial Services Committee markup is at 12 p.m.  The Veterans’ Affairs Committee markup is at 2 p.m.  On Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Committee advanced the portion of the coronavirus relief package that would expand federal unemployment benefits. It now heads to the House Budget Committee as part of the budget reconciliation process. The measure would extend federal unemployment programs, currently expiring in March, through August 29th for self-employed people and for those who have exhausted their regular state benefits. It would also extend the federal boost to weekly benefits through August and increase the weekly boost from $300 to $400 starting in mid-March.  The measure was approved by a party-line vote of 24-18.

The Senate also continues to process nominees for the Biden Administration.  The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Thursday advanced the nominations of Miguel Cardona to be Education secretary by a vote of 17-5, and Martin J. Walsh to be Labor secretary, 18-4.

President Joe Biden is set to meet with a bipartisan group of senators on Thursday at the White House to seek support for major spending to modernize an aging U.S. infrastructure after former President Trump failed to tackle the matter.  Trump in 2018 unveiled an infrastructure plan that proposed spending $200 billion over 10 years to spur $1.5 trillion in largely private sector infrastructure spending, It never even got a vote in Congress. Last year, Trump’s White House drafted a $1 trillion spending plan on infrastructure but the administration never publicly released it.  Biden has pledged to ask Congress this month for what he has referred to as “historic investments in infrastructure and manufacturing, innovation, research and development, and clean energy.”

Finally, this morning, President Biden rescinded the emergency order used by former President Trump to justify construction of the border wall.  “I have determined that the declaration of a national emergency at our southern border was unwarranted,” Biden wrote in a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  The proclamation is a final step from Biden after issuing an executive order on Day 1 questioning the validity of Trump’s national emergency and ordering a pause on all border wall construction.

Adam S. Olsen, Washington, D.C.