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Wicked Blue

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Gender: Female
Hometown: Maryland
Home country: United States
Member since: Tue Aug 11, 2020, 09:58 PM
Number of posts: 4,414

Journal Archives

Republicans still control the Senate. Here's why.

CNN

Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer may have the title of Senate Majority Leader but at the moment the Republicans still technically have control. That could be problematic for getting Biden's Cabinet picks through Congress.

***

Even though Harris can break ties in Democrats' favor, the party can't take full control of the Senate until a power-sharing agreement is worked out between the two sides. A power-sharing agreement will spell out the number of seats that each caucus will have on Senate committees. Until an agreement is in place, the Senate operates under the rules of the last Congress when the GOP controlled the Senate majority and held the committee chairmanships.

What's holding up the deal? A power-sharing agreement is under discussion between Schumer and Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, but the two have hit a snag over McConnell's demands that Schumer promise to save the filibuster and not move forward with efforts to gut the potent stall tactic on legislation.

McConnell argues that preserving a supermajority vote to pass legislation is a unique and important characteristic of the Senate, which the Founders believed should be a body where compromise between the parties would be needed to balance the strict majority-driven rule of the House of Representatives.

https://www.cnn.com/politics/live-news/president-joe-biden-news-01-22-20/index.html

Russia will be a complex issue for Biden to tackle

CNN
Analysis by Nathan Hodge

With the departure of Donald Trump from the White House, Russia-watchers can be forgiven for breathing a sigh of relief: From the moment Russian President Vladimir Putin called Trump the front-runner for the 2016 Republican nomination, it's been near-impossible to look at Moscow through anything but the lens of Washington politics and scandal.

That doesn't mean President Biden can Make Russia Boring Again. Administrations may come and go, but the geopolitical challenge to the US from the Kremlin leader, it seems, remains constant.

Let's begin with the obvious: US-Russia relations are at their lowest point since the end the Cold War. US agencies are still sorting through the aftermath of a massive cyber breach blamed on Moscow. Western governments are demanding answers from the Kremlin on the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny. And the US has steadily stepped up sanctions on Russia over the war in Ukraine and Moscow's interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

And as one of his first moves, Biden has ordered a sweeping intelligence review of suspected Russian mischief-making, from alleged bounties on US troops in Afghanistan to interference in the 2020 election. Biden's director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, will lead the effort, and the president's pick for CIA director, veteran diplomat William Burns, is also a Russia expert. (my italics - W.B.)

More:
https://www.cnn.com/politics/live-news/president-joe-biden-news-01-22-20/index.html

Key events in Washington DC today (CNN)

CNN

Key events we're watching around Washington today

It is President Biden's second full day in office, and his administration is focusing on economic relief. Meanwhile, Congressional Democrats are working to confirm Biden's Cabinet nominees.

Here's a look at the key events we're watching today:

10 a.m. ET: The Senate Finance Committee will have an open executive session to consider the nomination of Janet Yellen, Biden's pick for secretary of the Treasury.
10:30 a.m. ET: The Senate will take up the nomination of Gen. Lloyd Austin to be Defense secretary.
12:30 p.m. ET: White House press secretary Jen Psaki and National Economic Council Director Brian Deese hold a press briefing.
2:45 p.m. ET: President Biden will speak about his administration’s response to the economic crisis and will sign executive orders.

https://www.cnn.com/politics/live-news/president-joe-biden-news-01-22-20/index.html

Right on schedule, Republicans pretend to care about deficits again

Washington Post
Opinion by Catherine Rampell
Columnist

It’s almost like clockwork. As soon as a Democrat enters the White House, Republicans pretend to care about deficits again.

“The one thing that concerns me that nobody seems to be talking about anymore is the massive amount of debt that we continue to rack up as a nation,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) complained during a confirmation hearing this week for Treasury Secretary-nominee Janet Yellen. “For me,” he continued, “that is a huge warning sign on the horizon, the fact that we have an ever-growing deficit, an ever-growing debt and no apparent interest in taking the steps that are necessary to address it.”

His colleague Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) likewise carped that U.S. deficit levels are “frightening.” Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) piled on, saying that waiting for interest rates to rise to indicate that debts are unsustainable would be “too late.”

***

And so Republicans laid the groundwork for blocking the Biden administration’s request for more covid-19 fiscal relief, on the grounds that further spending is not merely unnecessary but also irresponsible. Despite ongoing economic and public health needs.

These foul-weather fiscal hawks neglect to mention, of course, that the GOP’s prized 2017 tax cuts added nearly $2 trillion to deficits — back when the economy was doing okay.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/right-on-schedule-republicans-pretend-to-care-about-deficits-again/2021/01/21/a749e500-5c17-11eb-a976-bad6431e03e2_story.html

Ohio Orthodox Priest Suspended, Could Be Removed From Church, After Participating in Capitol Rally

Newsweek
By Emily Czachor

Rev. Mark Hodges, an archpriest affiliated with several orthodox churches in southwestern Ohio, was temporarily barred from fulfilling his usual duties after participating in the January 6 rally that preceded the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol came to light. His suspension from priestly responsibilities is due to last three months, and could result in his "defrocking," a term to denote permanent removal from his status within the church.

Hodges claims the disciplinary action stemmed solely from his presence at the rally, where protesters baselessly challenged the presidential election's outcome, according to an email originally dispatched to the archpriest's family and friends, which he sent to Newsweek on Thursday afternoon. However, in additional comments, a spokesperson from the Diocese of the Midwest told Newsweek that its decision was motivated by a collection of factors.

"Fr. Mark was not suspended for his presence at the rally. This suspension is a result of various circumstances that is currently part of an internal process. All of the facts can not be disclosed at this current time. The suspension is not due to one event, but also involves other matters," the spokesperson said.

Hodges, whose official Facebook page prominently showcases anti-abortion rhetoric, homophobia, transphobia and racism, in addition to unfounded claims related to election fraud. A supporter of Donald Trump, the archpriest has posted countless articles that made clear his alignment with the former president's unsubstantiated allegations that President Joe Biden's election victory was illegitimate.

https://www.newsweek.com/ohio-priest-suspended-could-removed-church-after-participating-capitol-rally-1563533

The White House's dog days haven't returned just yet

CNN
By Kate Bennett and Paul LeBlanc

The new administration is working doggedly in its first days in office, but President Joe Biden's four-legged companions aren't joining in just yet.

Biden's dogs have not yet moved into the White House, a source familiar told CNN, but the pups are anticipated to arrive at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue soon

The family's pair of German shepherds, Champ and Major, will restore the time-honored tradition of keeping pets in the White House after former President Donald Trump opted against one.

Champ joined the Biden family during the presidential transition in December 2008, weeks after Biden had become vice president-elect.

https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/21/politics/biden-dogs-major-champ-white-house-pets/index.html

Trump hires South Carolina lawyer Butch Bowers to defend him in Capitol riot impeachment trial, repo

CNBC

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/21/trump-not-prepared-for-senate-impeachment-trial-for-capitol-riots.html

Former President Donald Trump has hired a lawyer, South Carolina attorney Butch Bowers, to defend him at his Senate impeachment trial, which could start as early as next week.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a Trump loyalist, told fellow GOP senators on Thursday that Bowers had agreed to represent Trump in the case, where the former president is accused of inciting the deadly Jan. 6 riot at the U.S Capitol, according to the D.C. newsletter Punchbowl.

The New York Times soon after confirmed that report, and noted that Trump’s other lawyers “had all bowed out” of representing him in what will be his second impeachment trial.

At Least 20 Capitol Police Officers Have COVID-19 After Riot

Source: NBC4 Washington

By Scott MacFarlane

Some U.S. Capitol Police officers say they’re worried the violent Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol was a COVID-19 superspreader event.

At least 20 officers have active cases of COVID-19, marking the largest number of cases among the rank and file in months, a Capitol Police union leader said.

Scores of supporters of Donald Trump swarmed into the Capitol without face masks during the riot, injuring officers and damaging an icon of American democracy.

Officers were equipped with personal protective equipment.

Read more: https://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/at-least-20-capitol-police-officers-have-covid-19-after-riot/2548415/

McConnell proposes delaying impeachment trial until February so Trump team can prepare

CNN
By Manu Raju, Lauren Fox and Jeremy Herb, CNN
Updated 6:00 PM ET, Thu January 21, 2021

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is proposing that the Senate give former President Donald Trump's legal team two weeks to prepare for the upcoming impeachment trial and delay its start until February, the Republican leader told his conference on a call Thursday, according to multiple GOP senators.

McConnell's proposal throws the timing of the trial further into doubt, though it remains to be seen if Democrats go along. House Democrats could still send the article over to the Senate and start the trial the next day.

Asked if he had heard a response from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, McConnell told CNN Wednesday, "Not yet but we continue to talk about it."

McConnell told Republicans he's in no rush to begin the trial. The Republican leader's point was the House moved quickly on impeachment but the Senate needs time to prepare for a full trial. News of McConnell's proposal was first reported by Politico.

https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/21/politics/nancy-pelosi-impeachment-timing/index.html

Trump Tax Law Firm Ends Work for Ex-President

Wall Street Journal
Corinne Ramey

The law firm that handled the tax affairs of Donald Trump and his company during his presidency said it would stop representing him and his business.

The firm, Morgan Lewis & Bockius, is currently wrangling with the New York attorney general’s office over documents related to its work for the former president’s business, the Trump Organization. Led by Democratic Attorney General Letitia James, the office is conducting a civil-fraud probe into Mr. Trump’s financial dealings.

“We have had a limited representation of the Trump Organization and Donald Trump in tax-related matters,” a Morgan Lewis spokeswoman said. “For those matters not already concluded, we are transitioning as appropriate to other counsel.”

The spokeswoman didn’t provide a reason for the firm’s decision.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-tax-law-firm-ends-work-for-ex-president-11611252382
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