By LIBBY CATHEY, EMILY SHAPIRO, TIA HUMPHRIES and LAUREN KING, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — This is Day 21 of the administration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Here is how events are unfolding. All times Eastern:
Feb 10, 5:02 pm
Biden announces China task force, reflects on military’s Black history
President Joe Biden announced during a visit to the Pentagon that his administration will establish a task force that focuses on U.S. dealings with China.
Biden gave some details about the group, stating that it will look at a broad array of China-related issues, including technology, alliances, partnerships and intelligence.
The task force will be made up of 15 uniformed and civilian officials and will report its findings to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in order to better inform U.S. policy toward China.
“That’s how we’ll meet the China challenge and ensure the American people win the competition of the future,” Biden said.
During his meeting, Biden praised the military and armed service members, and he reflected on his late son Beau’s service.
Lloyd also complimented Beau Biden’s service calling him “an absolutely outstanding officer.”
“Capt. Biden’s colleagues admired him, and they looked up to him, and he looked after them,” Lloyd said. “That dedication lives on in his parents.”
In his remarks, Biden emphasized the importance of Black military members throughout history and reflected on the importance of Lloyd’s appointment for the community.
“So often, our armed forces and the Department of Defense staff are how the rest of the world encounters America. And you all know as well as anyone that our country is safer and stronger when we lead not just with the example of our power, but with the power of our example,” the president said.
-ABC News’ Sarah Kolinovsky
Feb 10, 2:07 pm
Biden announces EO allowing US to sanction those connected to military takeover in Myanmar
Biden announced Wednesday afternoon that he had approved an executive order allowing the United States to sanction individuals and entities connected to the military’s seizure of power in Myanmar, which the U.S. last week labeled a “coup.”
He said the order would enable the U.S. “to immediately sanction the military leaders who directed the coup, their business interests, as well as close family members.”
“We will identify a first round of targets this week,” Biden said. “And we’re also going to impose strong exports controls. We’re freezing U.S. assets that benefit the Burmese government, while maintaining our support for health care, civil society groups, and other areas that benefit the people of Burma directly.”
The president also said the U.S. government was “taking steps to prevent the generals from improperly having access to the $1 billion in Burmese government funds held in the United States.”
As he had done last week, Biden called on the military to “relinquish power” and “immediately release the democratic political leaders and activists.” He specifically called for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and Myanmar’s president, Win Myint.
-ABC News’ Ben Gittleson
Feb 10, 12:50 pm
Zients announces vaccination partnership with Texas
Jeff Zients, coordinator of the federal government’s COVID-19 response, announced Wednesday a partnership with the state of Texas to build three new community vaccination centers in Dallas, Arlington and Houston.
“Together, these sites will be capable of administering more than 10,000 shots in arms a day,” he said, adding that he expects the sites will start administering shots beginning the week of Feb. 22.
-ABC News’ Sophie Tatum
Feb 09, 8:17 pm
Hearing set for Merrick Garland attorney general nomination
The leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee announced Tuesday they have locked in dates to review and vote on Judge Merrick Garland’s attorney general nomination.
The committee will hold hearings on Feb. 22 and Feb. 23 and hold a vote on March 1 to advance his nomination, according to Sen. Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the committee’s chair, and Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the committee’s ranking member.
A confirmation by the full Senate is expected soon after that vote.
“Judge Garland’s confirmation is particularly urgent in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection,” Durbin said in a statement.
-ABC News’ Trish Turner
Feb 09, 6:37 pm
Capitol Police acting chief responds to union call for no confidence vote
Following union calls for a vote of no confidence against the leadership of the Capitol Police, acting Chief Yogananda Pittman sent a message Tuesday to all USCP employees calling for unity.
“The events of that day took a toll on all of us and requires that we work together,” Pittman said in the memo.
Last month, union chairman Gus Papathanasiou slammed the department’s leadership, contending it knew about the dangers from the Jan. 6 protest and did little to prepare for potential violence.
He said it was “inexcusable” that nobody relayed this to officers prior to the insurrection.
Pittman recognized the efforts of those “fighting on the front line” and reflected on her own past experience as a civil disturbance unit officer and commander.
“I know firsthand it is not an easy job,” Pittman wrote. “We all know how difficult the fight and sacrifice can be on ourselves and our loved ones.”
“During these difficult times, it is important we remember that we are family, too,” Pittman said. “We are stronger united versus divided.”
The acting chief also described steps she took to improve conditions for officers following the Jan. 6 riot, including efforts “to improve intelligence and operational communications with all officers, protect them against known doxing attempts, as well as ensure counseling and wellness support services are available not only to our employees, but to their family members as well.”
-ABC News’ Jack Date
Feb 09, 2:20 pm
Administration announces plan to send vaccines directly to health centers
The Biden administration will start sending vaccines directly to community health centers across the country as early as next week, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said at a press briefing with Health Equity Task Force Chair Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith.
“Equity is core to our strategy to put this pandemic behind us, and equity means that we’re reaching everyone, particularly those in underserved and rural communities and those who have been hit hardest by this pandemic,” Zients said.
The administration’s goal is to reach 250 community health centers and at least one in every state, Nunez-Smith said.
“Days are early yet but we’re very optimistic and encouraged by the partnership and really the interest from states and locals to work together with FEMA to launch additional ones. I expect more announcements to be forthcoming,” she said.
The administration plans to issue 1 million doses during this initial phase: 500,000 first shots and 500,000 second vaccine shots.
FEMA mobile units will also be going directly to these hardest-hit communities, Zients said. Earlier this week, FEMA announced that it had finalized a contract for 30 mobile vaccination units expected to begin next week.
ABC News’ Matthew Vann contributed to this report.
Feb 09, 1:00 pm
Tanden, at confirmation hearing, says she regrets past tweets
When then-President-elect Joe Biden unveiled his economic team in November, one nominee received stiff resistance from Senate Republicans: Neera Tanden, his choice to become director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.
Tanden was known as a frequent political commentator on cable television and had been criticized for her past tweets blasting Republican lawmakers, as well as perpetuating a conspiracy that Russians hacked voter rolls in 2016 to take votes away from Hillary Clinton in favor of Donald Trump — though she denied that was the intent of her tweet at the time. Republicans also point out that she signaled support to cut Social Security benefits following the 2010 midterm elections when the Tea Party swept Republicans into the House majority. She served most recently as the head of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress.
Tanden’s confirmation hearing took place before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Tuesday morning, and in her opening statement, she said she regretted her past tweets.
“I also know that the role of OMB director is different from some of my past positions,” Tanden said. “Over the last few years, it’s been part of my role to be an impassioned advocate. I know there have been some concerns about some of my past language and social media, and I regret that language and take responsibility for it. I understand that the role of OMB director calls for bipartisan action as well as nonpartisan adherence to facts and evidence.”
Sen. Rob Portman, of Ohio, the top Republican member of the committee, noted that “typically the OMB director is not a partisan” because the director needs to have relationships with lawmakers from both parties. He read specific things he said Tanden had tweeted about Sens. Susan Collins, Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz and Mitch McConnell.
“I believe that the tone, the content and the aggressive partisanship of some of your public statements, have added to the troubling trend of more incivility and division in our public life, and in your case, I’m concerned that your personal attacks about specific senators will make it more difficult to work with them,” Portman said.
Tanden confirmed she had deleted tweets, saying she “regretted the tone.”
If confirmed, Tanden, 50, would be the first woman of color and first South Asian American to lead the OMB.
The OMB director, while not a marquee Cabinet post in the presidential line of succession, is a critical economic adviser who has sometimes doubled as the president’s fiscal disciplinarian, serving as a check within the executive branch on any far-fetched spending plans fancied by other Cabinet members.
-ABC News Ben Gittleson
Feb 09, 1:00 pm
Harris swears in VA Secretary Denis McDonough
Harris administered the oath of office to Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough Tuesday afternoon, according to a pool report. Afterward, she offered him congratulations and they elbow bumped. Harris acknowledged McDonough’s daughter, who was watching virtually, noting that “it happened!”
Harris’ office said McDonough was sworn in on his father’s bible, which still has his notes in it.
Feb 09, 10:28 am
Biden to travel to Wisconsin for first official trip of presidency
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, will be the site of Biden’s first official trip of his presidency on Tuesday, Feb. 16.
CNN announced Tuesday that it will air a town hall with Biden from Milwaukee on Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. ET. The town hall, moderated by Anderson Cooper, will include a socially distanced audience, CNN said.
Feb 09, 10:24 am
Biden to meet with CEOs of JPMorgan Chase, Walmart, Gap and Lowe’s
Biden is set to host business leaders in the Oval Office on Tuesday to discuss his COVID-19 relief proposal before he meets with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
The business leaders are: Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase; Tom Donohue, CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Doug McMillon, President and CEO of Walmart; Sonia Syngal, President and CEO of Gap, Inc.; and Marvin Ellison, President and CEO of Lowe’s Companies, Inc.
Feb 09, 9:20 am
Biden to meet with Yellen as impeachment trial begins
As former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial gets underway in the Senate, Biden will meet with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and business leaders Tuesday to discuss the need for his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package. Biden’s meeting is set for 1:45 p.m.
At noon, Harris will take part in swearing-in ceremony for Denis McDonough, who was confirmed Monday, to head the Veterans Administration.
Meanwhile, Neera Tanden, Biden’s nominee for director of the Office of Management and Budget, faces confirmation hearings Tuesday before the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki will hold a briefing at 12:45 p.m.
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