Show an ad over header. AMP

"A very, very, very dark winter": Biden warns Americans of pain his presidency will inherit

America got quite a respiteyesterday from this bleak year: A woman of colorbecame the first American to get the COVID vaccine; Democracy worked, as the Electoral College voted in 50 state capitals; And President-elect Biden called on the nation to "turn the page."

Yes, but: Bidenis trying to prepare us for what incoming White House chief of staff Ron Klain told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow will be "a very, very, very dark winter," with "probably tens of thousands of deaths left before the end of the year."


  • Biden said as he celebrated the certification of his victory: "My heart goes out to all of you in this dark winter of the pandemic, about to spend the holidays and the new year with a black hole in your hearts."

Why it matters: Biden and his team want Americans to reckon with the pain — they use the word "dark" a lot — he'll inherit. It also sets up the possibility of hope — and light — in 2021 if the virus fades and jobs rebound. 

  • Not to be a bummer, but several people around Biden worry the light is farther away than most think, which could hamper his presidency. 

In addition to the COVID death toll that passed 300,000 yesterday, and likely will accelerate in the weeks ahead, there's the mounting financial devastation. These are among the looming cliffs that will beset Biden:

  • Pandemic unemployment benefits for millions expire Dec. 26.
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index, out today, finds that small businesses "anticipate the worst of the pandemic is still ahead": 50% of the 1,000 entrepreneurs polled "see their operations continuing for a year or less in the current business climate before having to permanently close."
  • Foreclosure and eviction moratoriums expire Dec. 31: "Between 2.4 million and 5 million American households are at risk in January alone," The Wall Street Journal reports (subscription).

The big picture: Biden will take office with thousands of people dying daily, full vaccination months away, President Trump taunting him from the Twitter sidelines, the government rattled by an epic cyberattack, China asserting its power, and Americans divided like never before. To the victor goes the spoils.

Senate Democrats reach deal on extending unemployment insurance

Senate Democrats struck a deal Friday evening on extending unemployment insurance in the President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package after deliberating for most of the day, per a Senate aide.

Why it matters: The deal allows Congress to move forward with voting on amendments to the bill, though it caused a massive delay in the 20-hour debate over the legislation.

Keep reading... Show less

Capitol review panel recommends boosting security with more police, mobile fencing

A panel appointed by Congress to review security measures at the Capitol is recommending several changes, including mobile fencing and a bigger Capitol police force, to safeguard the area after a riotous mob breached the building on Jan 6.

Why it matters: Law enforcement officials have warned there could be new plots to attack the area and target lawmakers, including during a speech President Biden is expected to give to a joint session of Congress.

Keep reading... Show less

Financial fallout from the Texas deep freeze

Texas has thawed out after an Arctic freeze last month threw the state into a power crisis. But the financial turmoil from power grid shock is just starting to take shape.

Why it matters: In total, electricity companies are billions of dollars short on the post-storm payments they now owe to the state's grid operator. There's no clear path for how they will pay — something being watched closely across the country as extreme weather events become more common.

Keep reading... Show less

Chamber of Commerce decides against widespread political ban following Capitol insurrection

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce revealed Friday it won't withhold political donations from lawmakers who simply voted against certifying the presidential election results and instead decide on a case-by-case basis.

Why it matters: The Chamber is the marquee entity representing businesses and their interests in Washington. Its memo, obtained exclusively by Axios, could set the tone for businesses debating how to handle their candidate and PAC spending following the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: CDC lets child migrant shelters fill to 100% despite COVID concern

The Centers for Disease Control is allowing shelters handling child migrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border to expand to full capacity, abandoning a requirement they stay near 50% to inhibit the spread of the coronavirus, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The fact the country's premier health advisory agency is permitting a change in COVID-19 protocols indicates the scale of the immigration crisis. A draft memo obtained by Axios conceded "facilities should plan for and expect to have COVID-19 cases."

Keep reading... Show less

8 Senate Democrats vote against adding $15 minimum wage amendment to COVID relief

Eight Democratic senators on Friday voted against Sen. Bernie Sanders' amendment to ignore a ruling by the Senate parliamentarian and add a $15 minimum wage provision to the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

The state of play: The vote was held open for hours on Friday afternoon — even after every senator had voted — due to a standoff in negotiations over the next amendments that the Senate is set to take up.

Keep reading... Show less

CDC: Easing mask mandates, re-opening restaurants led to higher COVID cases, deaths

Easing mask restrictions and on-site dining have increased COVID-19 cases and deaths, according to a study out Friday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: The report's findings converge with actions from governors this week easing mask mandates and announcing plans to reopen nonessential businesses like restaurants.

Keep reading... Show less

Exclusive: GOP Leader McCarthy asks to meet with Biden about the border

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has requested a meeting with President Biden to discuss the rising numbers of unaccompanied migrant children at the U.S.-Mexico border, in a letter sent on Friday.

Why it matters: Biden is facing criticism from the right and the left as agency actions and media reports reveal spiking numbers of migrant children overwhelming parts of the U.S. immigration system. Recent data shows an average of 321 kids being referred to migrant shelters each day, as Axios reported.

Keep reading... Show less

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories