Political

Trump-Biden transition live updates: Biden outlines vaccination plan, economic rescue

Bill Chizek/iStockBy LIBBY CATHEY, KENNEDEY BELL, LAUREN KING and ADIA ROBINSON, ABC News

(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump is slated to hand over control of the White House to President-elect Joe Biden in six days.

The House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to impeach Trump on on article for “incitement of insurrection” for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol — making him the only president to be impeached twice.

Here is how the scene is unfolding. All times Eastern:

Jan 14, 10:46 pm
New California senator says he’s prepared for impeachment trial, coronavirus response

Alex Padilla, California’s Secretary of State and the man who will fill Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ seat in the Senate, told ABC News he’s prepared to balance both the impeachment trial and response to COVID-19 when he’s sworn in next week.

“We have to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time,” Padilla said. “It’s not either or, COVID-19 response is absolutely important. Holding President Trump accountable is extremely important. And doing our part, as the Biden-Harris administration settles, is also extremely important. So we’re prepared to do what it takes.”

He said he doesn’t know how the Senate will vote, but believes a “rebalanced leadership” with Democrats in the White House, Senate and House, will give the party “tremendous opportunity” to achieve their goals.

When asked whether he believes last week’s riot at the Capitol would embolden further attacks, he said, “Frankly, when I saw the images last Wednesday, it only emboldened my resolve to want to get to work, and want to get to work quickly.”

Jan 14, 10:46 pm
Va. governor ready for potential threat at state capital

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said he sent 2,000 National Guardsmen and hundreds of state police to help stop the president’s supporters from rioting at the U.S. Capitol during a joint session of Congress last week.

Now, with Biden’s inauguration just days away, he said his state is prepared to ensure a peaceful transition of power in Washington, D.C., and ready to face any other threats that might emerge after multiple recent reports of threats at capital buildings throughout the country.

“Unfortunately, we have experience here in Virginia,” Northam told ABC News’ Linsey Davis. “We had the riots in Charlottesville back in August 2017, and then we had a lot of armed protesters in January (2020), and so, we have some experience.”

With fences posted around the state’s capital building and windows boarded up, Northam said it’s “an unfortunate situation, but we’ve made it known to these individuals that if they come here looking for trouble, that we’re ready and the outcome is not going to be good for them.”

Northam said that the riot at the Capitol has also impacted his state’s ability to vaccinate people for the coronavirus.

“It’s unfortunate that we’re having to use the resources that we are (using),” he said. “We’re in the middle of a pandemic. … The Guardsmen, they’ve been very involved with our testing and now our vaccination program. We’d like to have them doing that, but instead, we have a president that has incited violence and we need to protect the country.”

Jan 14, 8:42 pm
Biden outlines major points of recovery plan during his address

Biden outlined the major points of his rescue plan: a $1.9 trillion proposal that includes a nationwide vaccination program, $1,400 checks for individuals, an extension and expansion of unemployment benefits and help for struggling communities and businesses.

Biden placed particular emphasis on housing and food insecurity and spoke about expanding SNAP benefits. He said his policy plan would extend the eviction and foreclosure moratorium, potentially previewing an executive action we could see next week. He also asked Congress to appropriate funds for rental assistance.

Biden, who preached bipartisanship while on the trail, said both he and Vice President-elect Harris had spoken with officials, mayors, and governors of both parties on a regular basis to address the problems across the country.

The president-elect also emphasized his plan’s focus on helping small businesses and minority-owned businesses in particular, criticizing the Trump administration’s initial approach which he said favored the wealthy and well-connected.

“Last week, I laid out how we’ll make sure that our emergency small business relief is distributed swiftly and equitably, unlike the first time around. We’re going to focus on small businesses, on Main Street. We’ll focus on minority-owned small businesses, women-owned small businesses, and finally having equal access to the resources they need to reopen and to rebuild,” Biden said.

He also pushed his plan for a mandatory federal minimum wage of $15 an hour.

“People tell me that’s going to be hard to pass. Florida just passed it, as divided as that state is, they just passed it. The rest of the country is ready to move as well,” he said. “No one working 40 hours a week should live below the poverty line. And that’s what it means. If you work for less than $15 an hour and work 40 hours a week, you’re living in poverty.”

He frankly noted the “bold, practical” policy he was putting forward did not come cheap but argued there was no option to act.

“I know what I just described does not come cheaply. But failure to do so will cost us dearly,” he said. “The consensus among leading economists is we simply cannot afford not to do what I’m proposing.”

Biden ended his remarks with a call for unity and optimism, referencing his inauguration on Wednesday as a “new chapter for the country.”

Jan 14, 8:38 pm
Biden announces joint session of Congress next month

During his address Thursday, Biden announced his first joint session of Congress will take place next month, where he will address the second pillar of his recovery plan, focused on investments in infrastructure.  

The president-elect praised Congress for working across the aisle to pass a COVID-19 relief bill in December, but reiterated his message that the package by itself was only a “down payment.” He said more is required, framing his policy proposal as the next step and urging lawmakers to push forward.

After blasting the current administration’s vaccine distribution plan as a “dismal failure,” Biden previewed his remarks Friday, where he plans on laying out his vaccination plan.

“We’ll have to move heaven and Earth to get more people vaccinated, to create more places for them to get vaccinated, to mobilize more medical teams to get shots in people’s arms, to increase vaccine supply and to get it out the door as fast as possible,” he said.

Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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