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Wicked Blue

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Gender: Female
Hometown: Maryland
Home country: United States
Member since: Tue Aug 11, 2020, 08:58 PM
Number of posts: 5,079

Journal Archives

Puerto Rico governor presses White House to release hurricane relief aid held up by Trump administra

Washington Post
Jeff Stein

Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi said in an interview Wednesday that he has asked senior White House officials to quickly disburse billions in hurricane disaster aid that have for years been held up by the Trump administration.

Pierluisi said that he pressed Biden administration officials on a recent Zoom call to lift strict restrictions on federal reconstruction aid that the Trump administration enacted in 2019 over concerns related to corruption on the island.

Congress approved close to $60 billion in emergency funding for the island’s recovery and reconstruction after it was decimated by Hurricane Maria in 2017. Close to four years later, less than half of that aid has actually reached Puerto Rico, with $40 billion of it remaining unspent.

“This is outright discrimination that we need to stop,” said Pierluisi, who was sworn in on Jan. 2.


Many White House staffers working from home as Biden's team implements workplace Covid-19 precaution

Kevin Liptak

Unlike the Trump administration, many of Biden's staffers will continue working from home in the coming days and weeks.

Officials say they received new government computers and phones that were activated at noon on Wednesday that will allow them to conduct official business from living rooms, kitchens and home offices.

While many of the West Wing's individual offices have been assigned, the building will not be at capacity as it was for much of last year, despite the pandemic.


This doesn't include Biden's top staffers like chief of staff Ron Klain and press secretary Jen Psaki, who were in the building yesterday when Biden arrived for the first time.


T-rump opposed working from home even before the pandemic

Biden Taps a War on Terror Veteran to Stop White Supremacists

Daily Beast
Spencer Ackerman
Senior Nat’l Security Correspondent

President Biden was sworn into office Wednesday under the shadow of the Jan. 6 insurrection with a pledge to take down the kind of extremists who took over the Capitol. To help lead that effort, he has tapped a distinguished veteran of the War on Terror—an appointment that raises the question of whether the new administration will draw from a disastrous conflict with jihadists to confront a much different threat from far-right terrorists.

Russ Travers spent four decades in the intelligence and security apparatus, rising to become acting head of the National Counterterrorism Center. Former President Donald Trump ousted Travers from that position in March as part of a purge of the intelligence agencies. Travers’ allies say he was ousted for trying to reposition the NCTC, a key creation of the post-9/11 security state, to analyzing domestic terror. They describe him as an energetic and often contrarian figure who has put in the time in recent years to understand a resurgent threat that the post-9/11 counterterrorism apparatus neglected.

Last week, Biden announced that Travers will return to government service, this time as his deputy homeland security adviser. Notably, Travers’ boss, White House Homeland Security Adviser Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, is a former deputy energy secretary with expertise in nuclear weapons and Russia, not terrorism, teeing up Travers for an important portfolio. “Russ will be an essential leader on DVE [domestic violent extremism] issues,” said a source familiar with his new job, though not the only point person on the issue.

But some worry that it will be natural—indeed, human—for Travers to apply his post-9/11 experience to far-right and white-supremacist terror. That would be a disaster, they warn, both for the Constitution and for success. With debate underway amongst Democrats over new domestic terrorism statutes, the path Biden chooses is likely to define his early tenure as president.


Today's schedule for President Biden


Here's what to expect on the first full day of the Biden presidency

President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will focus on tackling the coronavirus pandemic during their first full day of the Biden presidency today.

Biden is expected to deliver remarks at 2 p.m. ET on his administration’s Covid-19 response. The President is also expected to sign executive orders and other presidential actions related to the pandemic.

Biden and Harris will also receive a briefing from members of their Covid-19 team on the state of the pandemic and vaccinations.

Here's a look at their schedule:

10 a.m. ET: Biden, Harris and their spouses attend the Virtual Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service hosted by the Washington National Cathedral.
12:45 p.m. ET: Biden and Harris receive the President's Daily Brief.
2 p.m. ET: Biden delivers remarks on his administration's coronavirus response. He will also sign executive orders. Harris is expected to attend the event.
2:25 p.m. ET: Biden and Harris receive a briefing from their Covid-19 team.
4 p.m. ET: White House press secretary Jen Psaki holds a press briefing. She said Dr. Anthony Fauci would appear in the briefing.


There's enough vaccine for 100 million doses pledge, says White House coronavirus coordinator

Maggie Fox

White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients said he thinks the vaccine supply will be adequate to meet the Biden administration's goal of 100 million shots delivered in 100 days.

“In terms of specific projections from the manufacturers, you know, we know that there is sufficient supply to do the 100 million shots in the 100 days,” Zients told reporters in a briefing ahead of the release of the new “National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness.”

Zients also pledged to clear up confusion about how many vaccines each state will get and when.

“We will work to provide projections on supply. We hear over and over from governors and local leaders that they just don't know what supply is coming and can't plan. We will absolutely across the next few days to get our arms around what's going on, make sure that we are communicating with states and localities, so they can prepare, effectively,” Zients added.


National Labor Relations attorney who the Biden administration had asked to resign is refusing to le

Washington Post
By Eli Rosenberg

On Wednesday, the Biden administration asked for the resignation of Peter Robb, the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, according to a White House official.

But Robb, a 2017 Trump appointee with 10 months left in his term, is refusing to heed the request, calling it “unprecedented since the nascence of the National Labor Relations Act” and saying that his removal “would set an unfortunate precedent,” according to Law360.

President Biden’s request, which was first reported by Bloomberg Law, does break with recent precedent of allowing NLRB general counsels to serve out their terms.

Robb, a former management lawyer who was involved in President Ronald Reagan’s infamous battle against the air traffic controllers union, has brought a pro-business approach to the agency, which oversees union elections and upholds workers’ rights to organize. His tenure has raised concerns among worker advocates, and major labor unions such as the Service Employees International Union have been pushing for his dismissal.


The Bidens are staying in the White House residence tonight

Jeff Zeleny

While this may seem obvious by now, given that President Joe Biden is already at work inside several rooms of the White House, but the Bidens do plan to spend their first night in office in the White House residence, an official tells CNN.

There had been some questions about how long it might take to clean the residence, given the vastly different protocols surrounding how the Trump and Biden administrations deal with coronavirus and the apparent hotspot the White House had become over the last several months.

But an official says tonight, the White House professional staff – and outside crews – cleaned the building thoroughly and the Bidens will spend tonight in the residence.


First press briefing at 7 p.m.

Schedule from CNN

7 p.m. ET: White House press secretary Jen Psaki holds the first press briefing.

8:48 p.m. ET: Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris deliver remarks at the “Celebrating America” inaugural program.

9:55 p.m. ET: Biden and the first lady will appear on the White House's Blue Room balcony.

Biden says he'll fire White House staff if they don't treat each other with respect

Kevin Liptak

President Joe Biden warned new White House employees he would terminate them if he found them trashing one another.

Making explicit he wanted to break with the toxic environment that pervaded the West Wing during the previous administration, Biden said he wanted his staff governed by collegiality and respect.

“If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treating another colleague with disrespect, talking down to someone, I will fire you on the spot," Biden said in the State Dining Room during a ceremony swearing-in officials.

He said he wanted his staff to treat each other with decency, something he said had "been missing a big way the past four years."


Bipartisan group of senators to meet with Biden economic advisers

Washington Post
By Erica Werner

A bipartisan group of senators that helped break a stalemate and pass the last major coronavirus relief bill will be meeting in coming days with economic advisers to Biden.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.), who are leaders of the group now calling themselves the Common Sense Coalition, both publicly confirmed the planned meeting on Wednesday, following Biden’s inauguration. Manchin said the purpose would be to discuss coronavirus relief legislation. Biden has proposed a $1.9 trillion package, including a new round of direct checks, as well as money for schools, testing and vaccinations.

Passing the package is his top priority for Congress, but a number of Republicans are balking at the price tag. Biden could try to pass it with only Democratic votes, but his advisers are hoping for bipartisan backing on his first major bill. They have made overtures to several Republicans in the bipartisan group, which also includes Sens. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.).

Manchin said he hoped that Biden’s call for unity would resonate with senators of both parties. “I think deep down, everybody, Democrats and Republicans, feel that this is the right move at the right time,” Manchin said. “And it’ll take some a little bit longer than others but we’ll all come together.”

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