Biden Reverses Trump’s Transgender Military Ban

President Joe Biden has reversed former President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender individuals serving in the military.

“President Biden believes that gender identity should not be a bar to military service, and that America’s strength is found in its diversity,” the White House says in a fact sheet. read more

Biden to Sign Two Executive Orders on Covid-19 Economic Relief

President Joe Biden will sign two executive orders on Covid-19 relief that aim to provide vital economic relief to Americans weathering the economic freefall caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The orders will expand food stamps and also ensure that anyone working for the federal government makes at least $15 an hour. These orders will provide a “critical lifeline” to Americans in need, said National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, though he stressed that these orders would not be a “substitute” for a trillion-dollar stimulus package many Americans are depending on. read more

The Rehearsal for Biden’s Inauguration Ceremony Has Been Pushed Back a Day Due to Security Concerns

Security concerns have forced the rehearsal for President-elect Joe Biden‘s inauguration ceremony to be pushed back a day.

“It is going to take place on Monday, is the current schedule. Secret Service is in charge of running that schedule, but that’s done in partnership with Biden team, and it was their decision to delay a day,” acting Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli told CNN‘s John Berman,

“The decision was made to delay a day and leave the Secret Service in a position, and the whole team across the Washington metro area, to be prepared to respond on that day if needed,” he continued.

Cuccinelli noted that thus far there are “no credible threats” and that what threats there are amount to little more than “online chatter.”

“We certainly agree there’s a good deal of online chatter. It isn’t just about Washington, by the way. There’s also conversations about state capitols but very unspecific,” he said. read more

Biden Picks Former FDA Chief David Kessler to Lead U.S. Vaccination Efforts

President-elect Joe Biden has selected Dr. David Kessler, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chief, to spearhead the United States‘ vaccination effort as the incoming administration readies its plans to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic from day one.

Dr. Kessler currently co-chairs the Biden transition team’s coronavirus taskforce. He will be put in charge of Operation Warp Speed, the program started under President Donald Trump to speed up vaccine development and distribution nationwide. Moncef Slaoui, who has led the program during the Trump administration, will step down in a month to “ensure a smooth transition.”

“Dr. Kessler became a trusted adviser to the Biden campaign and to President-elect Biden at the beginning of the pandemic, and has probably briefed Biden 50 or 60 times since March,” said Anita Dunn, co-chair of the transition team. “When staff gets asked, ‘What do the doctors say?,’ we know that David Kessler is one of the doctors that President-elect Biden expects us to have consulted.” read more

Mitch McConnell Tells Republicans On The Senate Floor That The Election Wasn’t Close

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky,) has spoken out now that Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock have won their Georgia Senate runoff, addressing Republicans who have vowed to oppose the certification of President-elect Joe Biden‘s election win today. McConnell will be the Senate Minority Leader now that Democrats have taken control of all three chambers of Congress.

“The voters, courts and states have all spoken. If we overrule them it would damage our republic forever,” McConnell said on the Senate floor. “We cannot simply declare ourselves a national board of elections on steroids.”

McConnell told Republicans that the election wasn’t unusually close, “This election actually was not unusually close. Just in recent history, 1976, 2000, and 2004 were all closer than this one. The electoral college margin is almost identical to what it was in 2016.”

“If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral. We’d never see the whole nation accept an election again,” he added.

You can watch McConnell’s speech below.

Mitch McConnell tells Republicans on the Senate that the election was not close.

— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) January 6, 2021 read more

Biden Selects Merrick Garland for Attorney General

Obama Supreme Court Nominee Merrick Garland

President-elect Joe Biden has selected federal appeals judge Merrick Garland to be the next United States attorney general, a transition official has confirmed. Garland has served on the federal appeals bench since 1997 and previously worked as a federal prosecutor, most prominently securing the conviction of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh during his time with the Justice Department.

Garland is perhaps most well known for the debacle that ensued after he was nominated by former President Barack Obama to serve on the United States Supreme Court. Garland’s nomination came after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, perhaps the court’s most prominent conservative voice. At the time, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Senate majority leader, refused to hold confirmation hearings for Garland, arguing that the pick should not be considered during an election year.

However, McConnell reversed course once President Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, ultimately seating Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, securing a conservative majority on the court. McConnell rushed to confirm Barrett in particular following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, ignoring his previous statement about confirming a Supreme Court Justice during an election year.

“Judge Garland will be viewed in a whole new light now,” a Biden aide told CNN.

Biden last month told reporters that he would not wait until the results of the Georgia runoffs to make his decision for attorney general.