By LIBBY CATHEY, JACK ARNHOLZ and LAUREN KING, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — This is the seventh day of the administration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Here is how events are unfolding. All times Eastern:
Jan 26, 10:46 am
Biden’s top economic adviser soliciting ‘input’ on COVID-19 relief deal
National Economic Council Director Brian Deese told ABC News Senior White House Correspondent Mary Bruce in the White House driveway Monday morning that lawmakers wanting a lower-priced COVID-19 proposal from Biden haven’t said what that looks like but suggested there may be wiggle room on the amount of the direct payments to Americans.
In an appearance moments before on CNBC, Deese said a few times that the Biden administration is “looking for people’s input,” referring to negotiations with lawmakers over the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief deal.
After a phone call Sunday with 16 bipartisan senators and some representatives from the House Problem Solvers’ Caucus, another senior administration official said, “the feedback was constructive across the board” — but on Tuesday, Deese seemed to be soliciting counter-proposals from Republicans to make the package more palatable to them.
“We welcome the focus on targeting, including from Republican members and those provisions should have broad bipartisan support,” Deese said. “Certainly if there are ways to make that provision and other provisions more effective, that’s something we’re open to, that we’ll have conversations about.”
While Deese emphasized that the Biden administration is looking for ideas on how to tweak the package, he continued to emphasize the urgency to act soon. Biden said Monday he expects the negotiations could continue another “couple of weeks.”
The White House on Monday morning updated Biden’s schedule to include 4:45 p.m. remarks “on the fight to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Jan 26, 10:30 am
Republican senator to challenge Trump impeachment trial proceedings
Republicans are increasingly supportive of the belief that this trial is unconstitutional, and at least one will challenge the proceedings Tuesday.
Just before the Senate breaks for lunch around noon, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., will have about 15 minutes to make his argument as to why he thinks the impeachment trial is unconstitutional. He could raise a constitutional point of order — which should spark a vote — forcing senators to go on the record which could signal for the first time where most Republicans stand on convicting Trump.
On Tuesday afternoon, constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley — who was called as a witness by Republicans in Trump’s first impeachment trial and argued against his impeachment then — has been invited to speak at the weekly closed-door GOP lunch. While it isn’t clear if Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was involved in inviting Turley, he likely wouldn’t be at the Capitol Hill lunch if McConnell disapproved.
Turley recently wrote that “retroactive impeachment” — or impeachment or a former president — is not constitutional. However, the professor himself noted that he has changed his views over time and previously thought it was constitutional.
The absence of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts is another a key factor in many Republicans’ case against the legitimacy of the proceedings as Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is set to preside over the swearing-in of senators as jurors Tuesday afternoon.
Jan 26, 9:25 am
Senate considers Biden’s Cabinet as Trump’s impeachment trial looms
House impeachment managers on Monday delivered an article of impeachment against former President Donald Trump to the Senate, queuing up an unprecedented second trial and the first ever for a former president in the chamber.
The managers silently walked the article across the Capitol in the evening — from the House to the Senate — where senators, only three Republicans, awaited their arrival before lead impeachment manager Jamie Raskin, D-Md., read it aloud.
The Senate will reconvene on Tuesday for senators to be sworn in as jurors and the “issuance of summons” to Trump, although his trial is not expected to start until Feb. 9 — an agreement made by Senate leaders to give Trump’s defense team time to prepare and the Senate the opportunity to confirm more of Biden’s Cabinet picks.
In order to convict Trump by a two-thirds majority, at least 17 Republican senators would need to join all 50 Democratic senators — a long-shot since several Republicans have aired grievances with the impeachment process but not with the actions of the former president. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is already expected to object to the proceedings.
Dividing its time, the Senate voted on Monday to confirm of Biden’s Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen — placing the first woman to lead the department. Yellen is Biden’s third Cabinet pick to be confirmed — as the administration continues to lag behind others in confirmations — and will receive a ceremonial swearing-in at the White House from the nation’s first female vice president Tuesday.
The Senate is expected to vote on Anthony Blinken to lead the State Department Tuesday and Alejandro Nicholas Mayorkas to lead the Homeland Security Department, as well as consider the nomination of Rhode Island Gov. Gina Marie Raimondo as Biden’s commerce secretary.
Biden makes afternoon remarks outlining his racial equity agenda and signs more executive actions in the afternoon. He has already taken 33 executive actions — executive orders, proclamations and more — and 23 of them have aimed to reverse, roll back or just generally undo the Trump agenda, in areas ranging from climate change and COVID-19 to allowing transgender people to openly service in the military.
Domestic Policy Adviser Susan Rice will appear with White House press secretary Jen Psaki at her daily press briefing at 12:30 p.m.
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