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“It feels like a brand new day": Schumer declares Democratic majority in Senate

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) declared on Wednesday that Democrats have gained control of the Senate, with Rev. Raphael Warnock having defeated Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) and Jon Ossoff currently leading in the race against former Sen. David Perdue (R).

Why it matters: A 50-50 Senate would give Vice President-elect Kamala Harris the tie-breaking vote after Jan. 20. Democratic control of the Senate will decide the fate of Biden's presidency, from whether he gets his Cabinet nominees to whether progressives get their tax hikes and public spending.


What they're saying: “It feels like a brand new day. For the first time in six years, Democrats will operate a majority in the United States Senate — and that will be very good for the American people," Schumer said in a statement."

  • "America is experiencing one of the greatest crises we have ever faced, and the Senate Democratic Majority is committed to delivering the bold change and help Americans need and demand. Senate Democrats know America is hurting — help is on the way," he continued.
  • "For too long, much-needed help has been stalled or diluted by a Republican-led Senate and President Trump. That will change with a Democratic Senate, Democratic House, and a Democratic President."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi added in a statement:

“Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff ran and won on the values of advancing equality and opportunity for working people across the state and the nation. In sending these two outstanding Democratic Senators to Washington, Georgians cast their ballots for a fairer, accountable and more compassionate America.  Inspired by our beloved John Lewis, Senators-elect Warnock and Ossoff's hunger for justice will bring necessary Good Trouble to the Senate."

Go deeper: Georgia's four-year fallout

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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