President Joe Biden discusses his $1.9 trillion Covid relief deal ( CNBC Television/YouTube)
Congressional Demoncrats said they plan to start work on Biden’s coronavirus-relief proposals next week, and are prepared to press ahead without GOP support if a deal can’t be reached. Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday that the House will bring a budget resolution to the floor next week, the first step in using the process of budget reconciliation to pass a bill. Republicans have expressed concerns about the price tag of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion relief proposal, meaning that the bill may not receive enough votes to advance in the Senate without using reconciliation.
“I hope we don’t need it, but if needed we will have it,” Pelosi told reporters on Thursday about the option of using budget reconciliation, a maneuver that can be used to pass the bill with a simple majority in the Senate. “We want it to be bipartisan always, but we can’t surrender.” CBS NEWS
President Biden signed executive orders to expand access to health insurance during the pandemic. He also reversed a Trump anti-abortion policy. “There’s nothing new that we’re doing here other than restoring the Affordable Care Act and restoring Medicaid to the way it was before [Donald] Trump became president. Because by fiat, he changed — made [it] more inaccessible, more expensive and more difficult for people to qualify for either of those two plans,” Biden said in a brief Oval Office signing ceremony.
“I’m not initiating any new law, any new aspect of the law,” Biden stated. “This is going back to what the situation was prior to Trump’s executive order.” NPR
The first two U.S. cases of a coronavirus variant that was originally identified in South Africa were detected in South Carolina. Neither person had traveled to countries where the variant has been found.
Neither person has a history of travel to countries where the variant has been confirmed, and there is no connection between the two people, South Carolina health officials said Thursday. That indicates there has been some local spread of the variant after it arrived in the United States. One case was found in South Carolina’s Pee Dee region, and one in the Lowcountry. STAT
GameStop and AMC Surge as Broader Stock Market Sinks. Frenzied trading continued to drive GameStop and other heavily shorted shares, while the Dow industrials and S&P 500 finished January in the red. Follow along for the latest action.
Frenzied trading continued to drive GameStop and other heavily shorted shares, while the Dow industrials and S&P 500 finished January in the red. Follow along for the latest action.
The U.S. economy had its worst year since World War II, with millions of Americans forced out of work.
White House economic advisor Brian Deese said the report from the Commerce Department on Thursday underscored the urgency for Congress to pass Biden’s plan, warning that the cost of doing nothing was too high.
“Without swift action, we risk a continued economic crisis that will make it harder for Americans to return to work and get back on their feet,” said Deese. REUTERS