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Biden selects Boston Mayor Marty Walsh for labor secretary

Joe Biden plans to name Boston Mayor Marty Walsh as his labor secretary and task him with leading a manufacturing renaissance across the country, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The president-elect and his advisers are aware that the Democratic Party, once the home of blue-collar workers, has lost the political loyalty of many union households and are determined to win many of them back.


  • Walsh came up as a union official, led Boston’s Building and Construction Trades Council and has the backing of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
  • The former state representative succeeded the late Tom Menino, Boston’s longest-serving mayor, and has received positive reviews for his coronavirus response. But he’s also hearing footsteps from women and minority candidates interested in challenging him for re-election.
  • Walsh's selection was first reported by Politico.

The big picture: “Joe from Scranton” has prided himself on having good relations with unions throughout his career, and he plans to tap those relationship to push a big infrastructure bill through Congress.

  • Biden has touted his “Build Back Better” plan as a way to provide high-paying wages to unionized workers and “reshore” America’s manufacturing supply chains from overseas.
  • Those union relationships have made Biden’s choice for Cabinet secretaries agonizing, since he has had to navigate to avoid union rivalries in both the education and labor movements.

What they are saying: "Workers need a champion in Washington—and Marty Walsh would be a crucial addition to an administration dedicated to fighting for the forgotten and rebuilding an enduring middle class," said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. 

  • "Marty comes from a union family and a union town," she said.

Schumer: Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

Why it matters: Trump is the only president in U.S. history to be impeached twice for “incitement of insurrection" after a violent pro-Trump mob breached the U.S. Capitol, resulting in five deaths.

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CDC shifts COVID vaccine guidance, expanding minimum interval between doses for exceptional cases

Patients can space out the two doses of the coronavirus vaccine by up to six weeks if it’s "not feasible" to follow the shorter recommended window, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: With the prospect of vaccine shortages and a low likelihood that supply will expand before April, the latest changes could provide a path to vaccinate more Americans — a top priority for President Biden.

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Texas attorney general sues Biden administration over deportation freeze

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the Biden administration in federal district court over its 100-day freeze on deporting unauthorized immigrants, and asking for a temporary restraining order.

Between the lines: The freeze went into effect Friday, temporarily halting most immigration enforcement in the U.S. In the lawsuit, Paxton claims the move "violates the U.S. Constitution, federal immigration and administrative law, and a contractual agreement between Texas" and the Department of Homeland Security.

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Biden administration unveils 3-pronged plan to combat domestic extremism

White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced at a briefing on Friday that the Biden administration will roll out a three-pronged, interagency plan to assess and combat the thread by domestic violence extremism.

Why it matters: The federal government's approach to domestic extremism has come under scrutiny in the wake of the Jan. 6 attacks on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. In his inaugural address, Biden repudiated political extremism, white supremacy and domestic terrorism, vowing to defeat them.

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Senate confirms retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as defense secretary

The Senate voted 93-2 on Friday to confirm retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) were the sole "no" votes.

Why it matters: Austin is the first Black American to lead the Pentagon and President Biden's second Cabinet nominee to be confirmed.

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House will transmit article of impeachment to Senate on Monday, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that the House will deliver the article of impeachment against former President Trump for "incitement of insurrection" on Monday.

Why it matters: The Senate is constitutionally required to begin the impeachment trial at 1 p.m. the day after the article is transmitted. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had been pushing for the trial to begin in mid-February, arguing that it will force the Senate to delay other important business.

This story is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

Private equity bets on delayed tax reform in Biden administration

In normal times, private equity would be nervous about Democratic Party control of both the White House and Congress. But in pandemic-consumed 2021, the industry seems sanguine.

Driving the news: Industry executives and lobbyists paid very close attention to Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen's confirmation hearings this week, and came away convinced that tax reform isn't on the near-term agenda.

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New Energy Department roles look to animate Biden's campaign themes

The burst of Biden administration staffing picks announced yesterday revealed that the Energy Department (DOE) has newly created roles that reflect what President Biden called campaign priorities.

Driving the news: One new position is "director of energy jobs," which is being filled by Jennifer Jean Kropke. She was previously the first director of workforce and environmental engagement with Local 11 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

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