President Joe Biden made his first presidential address to a joint session of Congress, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Kamala Harris, sitting behind him at the rostrum, made history.
The occasion marked the first time that the Speaker of the House and president of the Senate were both women – and the first time that a US president was flanked by two women presiding in those positions during a presidential address.
During the speech, Biden is expected to speak about the progress his administration has made tackling the coronavirus pandemic within his first 100 days. Biden is also set to push the American Families Plan, his administration’s $1.8 trillion legislative package aiming to invest in education, infrastructure, child care, and various labor policies like paid family leave.
Biden is also expected to lay out his vision for economic recovery related to the coronavirus pandemic.
When asked about the moment, Harris said it felt, “normal.”
“Madam Speaker and Madam Vice President,” Biden said as he took to the stage. “No sitting US president has ever said those words. It’s about time!” Biden said.
Top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell shut down House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s idea to have the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lie in state at the Capitol Rotunda last fall, according to an excerpt from a forthcoming book about Pelosi reported by Punchbowl News.
USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page interviewed Pelosi 10 times and conducted 150 additional interviews for her upcoming book, “Madam Speaker.”
After Ginsburg’s death from cancer in September 2020, Pelosi suggested that the justice, a trailblazer for women’s rights under the law and women in the legal profession, should lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda. She would have been the first woman in US history to receive the honor.
McConnell, however, rejected the idea, arguing there was no precedent for a Supreme Court justice to lie in state in the Rotunda. Those who have lain in state in the Rotunda have mainly been presidents, senators, representatives, military leaders, and unknown soldiers of US wars.
Former President William Howard Taft lay in the state in the Rotunda after serving as both chief justice of the Supreme Court and president.
Four Capitol Police officers who were killed in the line of duty (two in 1998 and two in 2021), the Reverend Billy Graham, and civil rights activist Rosa Parks have lain in honor in the Capitol Rotunda.
As Punchbowl noted, Justice Ginsburg ended up lying in state in Statuary Hall on the House side of the Capitol, not under the Rotunda.
The book sheds further light on the frosty relationship between the two power players, who have forged reputations for keeping their respective caucuses firmly in line and being shrewd, tactical legislators during their decades in Congress.
“Mitch McConnell is not a force for good in our country,” Pelosi told Page. “He is an enabler of some of the worst stuff, and an instigator of some of it on his own.”
Page’s book also says that Pelosi calls McConnell “Moscow Mitch” because “she knows it gets under his skin,” Punchbowl reported.
McConnell, for his part, has eagerly embraced other nicknames political rivals have given him, including “Darth Vader” and “the Grim Reaper” of the Senate.
“Madam Speaker” will be released from Twelve Books on April 20.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at the US Capitol on Friday. A US Capitol Police officer died after an incident where a man rammed two officers with a car at a security barrier.
At a press conference on Friday, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman said that a Capitol Police officer died and another was injured after someone rammed a car into a barricade outside the US Capitol building on Friday.
According to Pittman, the suspect “exited the car with a knife in hand” and lunged at the officers. Pittman said that the suspect did not comply with a verbal command, and the officers opened fire, killing the suspect, she added.
The Capitol went into lockdown earlier Friday after Capitol Police texted an alert telling people in the complex to stay indoors because of an “external security threat.” Congress is in recess and neither the House nor the Senate are in session.
At the press conference, hours after the attack, Pittman said the security threat was “neutralized.”
Billions from the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill passed by House lawmakers on Friday would go to transportation and infrastructure projects, including extending a subway in Silicon Valley, operating a bridge to Canada, and maintaining the nation’s railway system.
In total, more than $40 billion would go to infrastructure and transportation projects, including about $30 billion to public transit, and about $8 billion to airports. Rep. Kevin McCarthy and other Republican lawmakers said some of that infrastructure spending was pork, calling attention to projects in the bill in areas represented by high-profile Democrats.
“This bill is actually too costly, too corrupt, and too liberal,” McCarthy told Fox News.
The 591-page bill passed by the House on Friday included $1.5 million for operations and maintenance for the Seaway International Bridge, which connects New York to Canada. In a statement, Rep. Daniel Webster, of Florida, said the bridge funding was a “pet project” of Senator Chuck Schumer, majority leader, who represents New York.
Politifact, the fact-checking group at The Poynter Institute, said the Seaway funding had originally been requested by President Donald Trump’s administration in May 2020.
Also in the House bill was more than $100 million for an extension of the Bay Area Rapid Transit subway system in San Jose. The money would go toward connecting the BART subway line to Mineta San Jose International Airport, a “long-planned” route extension, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, a Republican, called the plan “Pelosi’s Subway,” although the construction would happen just south of Pelosi’s district, as The San Jose Mercury News reported.
The bill also had more than $1.5 billion for Amtrak, President Joe Biden’s favoritemode of transportation. That funding included about $820 million for the Northeast Corridor, about $680 million for the national rail network, and about $166 million for long-distance service restoration and employee recalls, according to the text of the bill.
Rep. Ben Cline added the Amtrak spending to his list of “the most egregious provisions unrelated to COVID” in the stimulus bill.
In a statement, Cline said: “Not only is this legislation riddled with wasteful spending unrelated to COVID and bailouts for blue states like New York and California, but with more than $1 trillion in previously authorized coronavirus funds still unspent, it is premature.”
Speaking at the lectern stolen by a rioter during the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi formally signed an article of impeachment against President Donald Trump for his role in inciting the insurrection.
After introducing Lead Manager Rep. Jamie Raskin and impeachment managers Reps. Diana DeGette, David Cicilline, Joaquin Castro, Eric Swalwell, Ted Lieu, Stacey Plaskett, Joe Neguse, and Madeleine Dean, Pelosi said they, “did not think they would have this responsibility a week ago.”
“No one is above the law and President Donald Trump is a clear and present danger to this country. We honored our oath of office to protect and defend the constitution,” Pelosi said.
“And now I sadly, heartbroken over what this means to the country, over a president who incited insurrection, will sign the article of impeachment,” Pelosi said, symbolically signing the article.
Pelosi and the impeachment managers left the room without taking questions from the press, including from one reporter in the pool who asked for her thoughts on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to delay the impeachment trial until after President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
On Wednesday, the House voted 232 to 197 to impeach Trump, and the resolution will now be taken up by the Senate, where Trump can be convicted for his actions and barred from running for public office in the future.
“I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate,” McConnell wrote on Wednesday.
Ten House Republicans voted to impeach Trump, highlighting growing support among the GOP to potentially hold the President accountable.
McConnell also said that lawmakers should spend the next week “completely focused on facilitating a safe inauguration and an orderly transfer of power.” He insinuated that Trump’s Senate trial would realistically have to begin after Biden’s inauguration- a timeline when Democrats will control the senate-given the timelines of past impeachment trials in the Senate.
The move to impeach or forcibly remove Trump has gained considerable momentum in Washington, DC, after a riotous mob of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol, where members of Congress were gathered to certify the President-elect Joe Biden’s election win.
In a new statement foll lowing a Democratic caucus call, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has instructed the Rules Committee to be prepared to move forward with 25th Amendment proceedings, or motions for President Donald Trump’s impeachment.
The move to impeach or remove Trump has gained considerable momentum in Washington, DC, after a riotous mob of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol, where representatives were gathered to certify the President-elect Joe Biden’s election win.
Democratic House leaders are looking to vote on articles of impeachment as early as Monday, according to Rep. Katherine Clark. Vice President Mike Pence’s advisors told Insider that Pence would oppose 25th Amendment legislation, and in a speech today, Biden said the decision to impeach Trump would lie with Congress.
Pelosi’s statement expanded on the fast-moving impeachment plans, stating that, “Today, the House Democratic Caucus had an hours-long conversation that was sad, moving and patriotic. It was a conversation unlike any other, because it followed an action unlike any other.”
The statement added that House members “hope” that the President immediately resigns, but earlier today a statement from the White House press secretary said that there was a zero percent chance Trump would resign, and added that impeachment would be “politically motivated,” saying that it “will only serve to further divide our great country.”
“I have instructed the Rules Committee to be prepared to move forward with Congressman Jamie Raskin’s 25th Amendment legislation and a motion for impeachment,” Pelosi’s statement said. “Accordingly, the House will preserve every option – including the 25th Amendment, a motion to impeach or a privileged resolution for impeachment.”
Earlier Friday, three Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee circulated draft articles of impeachment. Reps. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Jamie Raskin of Maryland, and Ted Lieu of California drafted the articles, first obtained by CNN.
The draft notably included a clause that would prohibit Trump from seeking public office again in the future.
As the US passed 300,000 deaths from COVID-19, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expanded the House of Representatives floor mask requirement on Tuesday. Pelosi’s move means that House members will need to wear masks while speaking on the House floor, as they have been required to do when speaking with the media in the chambers.
“Masks will now be required at all times in the hall of the House without exception,” Pelosi said at a House session on Tuesday. “Members will not be recognized unless they are wearing a mask and recognition will be withdrawn if they remove the mask while speaking.”
Tuesday’s move by Pelosi follows a directive her office issued in July requiring masks on the House floor, given an earlier refusal among many House Republicans to wear them.
Initially, mask compliance was relatively respected on the floor, but Pelosi has tightened the requirements after the spread of COVID-19 has increased among representatives in the House and Senate.
At least 36 House and Senate members have tested positive since the start of the pandemic, and fifteen of those positive cases have emerged in the last month as the pandemic worsens.
Rep.-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene responded to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement on Twitter, calling the mandate “an oppressive violation of my rights.”
Pelosi has also spoken favorably about the incoming administration’s plans for a 100-day mask mandate to help curb the pandemic.
In early December, the Capitol’s Attending Physician Brian Monahan urged everyone to wear surgical masks “at any time you are in the company of another person, inside or outside,” and also called on representatives to not attend receptions and dinners during the holidays.