‘This Is Deadly Serious,’ Biden Warns About Increase In Coronavirus Cases Even Amid Progress On Vaccines

President Biden on Monday warned about a rising number of coronavirus cases even amid progress on vaccinating Americans, calling on governors and other officials to reinstate mask mandates. “This is deadly serious. ... If we let our guard down now we could see the virus getting worse not better,” the president said at the White House.

a person standing next to a fire hydrant: President Biden and first lady Jill Biden visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington on Monday, March 29, 2021. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds/CNP/Bloomberg) © Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg President Biden and first lady Jill Biden visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington on Monday, March 29, 2021. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds/CNP/Bloomberg)

He announced an acceleration in the availability of coronavirus vaccines, as well as an increase in the number of local pharmacies providing vaccinations and additional mass vaccination sites. He said 90 percent of adults will be eligible for vaccination by April 19 and that 90 percent of them will have access to a vaccination site within five miles of their home.

Biden is also preparing to push his next major legislative package, with a trip planned Wednesday to Pittsburgh to tout a plan to improve the country’s roads, bridges and water systems.

Here’s what to know:

  • The White House announced an ambitious plan to expand wind farms along the East Coast and jump-start the country’s nascent offshore wind industry.
  • The Biden administration announced it is extending a federal policy that prohibits landlords from evicting tenants who are behind on their rent.
  • Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) is exploring additional use of the budget reconciliation process to pass parts of Biden’s costly “Build Back Better” agenda.

8:41 PM: How Larry Summers went from Obama’s top economic adviser to one of Biden’s loudest critics

Brian Deese, the current head of the National Economic Council, was one of his closest aides during the financial crisis. The chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Cecilia Rouse, had him as an adviser in graduate school. And Gene Sperling, who will oversee the president’s $1.9 trillion economic rescue plan, used to make annual trips with him to a Florida tennis camp.

Just about everywhere you look in the Biden White House, you can see former treasury secretary Larry Summers’s influence. Everywhere, that is, except for the policies.

Summers, 66, who drafted economic blueprints for the past two Democratic presidents and was a top candidate to lead the Federal Reserve Board under President Barack Obama, has emerged in recent weeks as the loudest critic of President Biden’s approach to reviving the pandemic-era U.S. economy. The Harvard University professor — who advised Biden for a time last summer — warns that the president’s stimulus plan may trigger the highest inflation in more than half a century and could cost Democrats the chance to make lasting investments in the economy.

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By: David J. Lynch

7:38 PM: Trump responds to Birx and Fauci’s critical CNN interviews with a caustic and mocking statement

Former president Donald Trump issued a caustic statement Monday evening in response to recent criticism of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic from his top public health advisers.

Trump pointed to Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Deborah Birx, the former White House coronavirus coordinator, who both appeared alongside other administration officials in a highly publicized CNN special Sunday night.

He accused Fauci of trying to “take credit” for the record pace of U.S. vaccine development, Birx of being “a very negative voice” and both of “trying to reinvent history to cover for their bad instincts and faulty recommendations.”

During Trump’s tenure, Fauci was the rare counselor to publicly contradict the then-president. He has continued speaking out and recently lamented the “lost opportunity” when Trump chose to get vaccinated in private rather than in public. In the CNN special, Fauci said the decision “to go all out and develop a vaccine” was the best he has ever made as NIAID chief. He also said that seeing Trump’s tweets calling for the “liberation” of states under shutdown orders was “like a punch to the chest” because it undercut the government’s response.

Birx told CNN that most U.S. coronavirus deaths could have been prevented if the Trump administration had acted earlier and more decisively.

“That’s what bothers me every day,” she said.

In his statement, Trump said that Fauci and Birx “moved far too slowly” and that their policy ideas would have led to further economic distress. The former president also included familiar — and personal — insults, mocking Fauci’s ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game last year and insulting Birx’s hearing.

By: Reis Thebault

6:37 PM: GOP leader McCarthy asks Pelosi to throw out Democrat’s challenge to Iowa congressional race results

Kevin McCarthy wearing a suit and tie: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) © J. Scott Applewhite/AP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has amped up his criticism of Democrats’ handling of a contested Iowa congressional race, writing a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Monday that accused her of trying to “manipulate” the process to ensure that her party’s candidate unseats the Republican, who won the November election by six votes.

The race — for Iowa’s 2nd district — pitted Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R) against Rita Hart (D), who challenged the results after the state certified a GOP win. Hart eschewed state channels and took her appeal to the House Administration Committee, which Pelosi said has the authority to review the claims.

But McCarthy, along with a chorus of other top Republicans, is asking Pelosi to dismiss the challenge and allow Miller-Meeks to continue serving.

“While the Constitution gives Congress the authority to determine its own members, it is unprecedented and antithetical to our democracy to unseat the duly elected and certified winner of a state election simply because you have the majority,” states McCarthy’s letter, which was first reported by Politico.

The GOP leader concluded: “I urge you to put your faith in our democracy and dismiss this partisan contest.”

Hart contends that 22 ballots were unjustly rejected and that if they had been counted, she would have won. In a briefing filed with the House on Monday, Hart’s attorney Marc Elias argued that the committee should take up and resolve the case quickly, especially considering that “this is a remarkably close election.” Elias accused Republicans of disenfranchising the 22 people whose ballots allegedly still needed counting.

“The position of Contestee Miller-Meeks and the Republican Party is now clear: the right to vote is worthy of neither respect nor protection,” the filing says.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who chairs the House Administration Committee, said in a statement last week that Congress is compelled to review challenges and that it has done so for nearly a century, with cases filed by both parties.

“We did not seek out these contests, but we are obligated under federal law to follow the process and the facts,” Lofgren said, adding that “it is profoundly disappointing some of my Republican colleagues are now painting this process as somehow nefarious.”

Republicans have increased their political pressure over the Iowa race in recent weeks, with McCarthy traveling to Miller-Meeks’s district this week.

But Democrats say that they are following a legal process, drawing a contrast to supporters of former president Donald Trump — including McCarthy — who voted to throw out electoral college votes for President Biden.

By: Reis Thebault

6:15 PM: Woman accuses Cuomo of unwanted kissing in 2017

a woman posing for a picture: This image from video shows Sherry Vill during a Zoom news conference with attorney Gloria Allred, not pictured, on Monday. © AP/AP This image from video shows Sherry Vill during a Zoom news conference with attorney Gloria Allred, not pictured, on Monday.

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) was accused by another woman Monday of inappropriately putting his hand on her face and kissing her cheeks during a 2017 tour of her flood-ravaged house in Upstate New York.

Sherry Vill, 55, said Cuomo kissed her on the cheek in two separate exchanges in front of her family and other onlookers during a visit to tour flood damage along Lake Ontario. She said he called her “beautiful” and excused the cheek kisses by saying, “That’s what Italians do.”

“I know the difference between an innocent gesture and a sexual one. I never felt as uncomfortable as I did the day that Gov. Cuomo came to my home,” Vill said at a news conference arranged by the attorney Gloria Allred, where they shared a still image of one of the cheek kisses. “His actions were very overly sexual, highly inappropriate and disrespectful to me and my family.”

Vill, who is married, said after the tour, the governor’s office called to invite her to an event, which she did not attend. His office also sent her a signed photograph and a letter promising to continue to work on infrastructure challenges in northern New York.

Allred said Vill planned to make the allegations to the New York attorney general, who has launched an investigation into sexual harassment and improper touching claims by multiple women, including several from current and former employees of his office. Cuomo has denied any inappropriate touching, while apologizing for behavior like kissing and hugging that he says he did not know made women feel uncomfortable.

“You can go find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people, men, women,” Cuomo said last month. “It is my usual and customary way of greeting.”

Rita Glavin, an attorney for Cuomo, said it was common for Cuomo’s office to invite constituents he met to events and that the letter his office sent Vill was signed by an autopen and sent to more than 30 other people.

“During times of crisis, the Governor has frequently sought to comfort New Yorkers with hugs and kisses,” Glavin said. “As I have said before, the Governor has greeted both men and women with hugs, a kiss on the cheek, forehead or hand for the past forty years.”

By: Michael Scherer

6:01 PM: President, first lady make unannounced visit to Vietnam Veterans Memorial on National Vietnam War Veterans Day

a person standing next to a fence: President Biden and first lady Jill Biden visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to mark National Vietnam War Veterans Day on Monday. © Jonathan Ernst/Reuters President Biden and first lady Jill Biden visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to mark National Vietnam War Veterans Day on Monday.

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden made an unannounced trip to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial early Monday evening to commemorate National Vietnam War Veterans Day.

The pair was greeted with cheers as they walked to the middle of the monument, a long black granite wall engraved with the names of Americans who lost their lives in the war. The first lady placed a bouquet of white flowers at the base of the wall and the two stood in silence for about a minute.

They then appeared to use a piece of paper to trace the name of a veteran, though it was unclear which name they traced. Biden, who ends many of his public remarks by saying “God bless our troops,” did not address members of the news media during the brief visit.

By: Reis Thebault

4:17 PM: McConnell urges ‘all Republican men’ to get vaccinated

a man wearing a suit and tie: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on March 25. © Michael Reynolds/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on March 25.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Monday that the only way to end the coronavirus pandemic is for everyone to get vaccinated, and he issued a special plea to reluctant Republican men.

“I can say as a Republican man, as soon as it was my turn, I took the vaccine. I would encourage all Republican men to do that,” McConnell told reporters after a visit to the Appalachian Regional Healthcare Hazard Clinic in Hazard, Ky.

McConnell, a polio survivor, said it was a “modern medical miracle” that three vaccines — from Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson — had been produced in less than a year and highlighted their efficacy. He urged everyone to get a vaccine.

“The only way this ends is with the vaccine,” McConnell said.

He was pressed about the resistance of some Americans to getting vaccinated.

A recent Axios-Ipsos poll found that 42 percent of Republican men said they are not likely to get vaccinated, along with 47 percent of Republican women. The poll also found that roughly one-third of Republicans say they have already been vaccinated, which is not far below the rates among Democrats or independents. However, fewer Democrats and independents say they are unlikely to get vaccinated when the opportunity becomes available to them.

Scott Clement contributed to this report.

By: Donna Cassata

3:24 PM: Biden urges states to maintain mask mandates, announces transportation aid for seniors seeking vaccination

Joe Biden wearing a suit and tie: President Biden on Monday. © Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post President Biden on Monday.

President Biden implored leaders of state and local governments to continue requiring face coverings in public in an effort to curb coronavirus infections that are back on the rise across the country.

The president made the plea during his remarks Monday afternoon as more states, counties and cities are lifting their mask mandates and relaxing other restrictions.

“Please, this is not politics,” Biden said. “Reinstate the mandate if you let it down, and businesses should require masks as well. The failure to take this virus seriously is precisely what got us into this mess in the first place.”

States ending mandates include Iowa, Mississippi and Texas, where a legal battle over local control of public health orders is playing out.

Biden also urged seniors who have not yet been vaccinated to get shots, announcing a new effort by the Department of Health and Human Services that will make “millions of dollars” available to provide assistance, including transportation, to the elderly and people with disabilities.

He said his administration is aware that there are people among those populations who want to be vaccinated but simply can’t get a ride to a site, citing what has emerged as a significant obstacle to inoculating communities of color.

“We cannot let transportation be a barrier to any senior getting a vaccination,” he said.

Biden said the funding would probably go to community groups already working to help people get their shots.

“Neighbors helping neighbors,” he said. “What a truly American effort.”

By: Reis Thebault

3:24 PM: Biden says some states should pause reopening efforts

Biden responded with a simple “yes” when asked whether he thinks some states should pause their reopening efforts.

The president answered the question from Associated Press reporter Jonathan Lemire as he completed remarks warning Americans about the rising number of coronavirus cases even amid progress in vaccinations.

Hot spots have started to emerge in the United States, with some states seeing numbers creep up after weeks of declining counts. Some states are racing to reopen, and lifting mask mandates in the process, including in Mississippi and Texas, where Gov. Greg Abbott boasted about opening “100%.”

During his remarks Monday, Biden said he would reiterate his call for every “governor, mayor and local leader to maintain and reinstate the mask mandate.”

He said that until the nation is “vaccinated, each of us has to do our part. We have an obligation, patriotic obligation. Wash your hands, stay socially distanced, wear a mask as recommended by the CDC, and get vaccinated. Get your friends and family vaccinated when you can help.”

He added: “Now’s not the time to let down, now’s not the time to celebrate.”

By: Paulina Firozi

2:48 PM: Biden urges Americans not to let their guard down: ‘This is deadly serious’

Biden reiterated the emotional warning from the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Rochelle Walensky, who described earlier Monday a feeling of “impending doom.”

“I will always give you it straight, straight from the shoulder. Our work is far from over,” Biden said in remarks at a White House event. “The war against covid-19 is far from won. This is deadly serious. We share the sentiment of Dr. Walensky.”

“The CDC expressed earlier today, this is not a time to lessen our efforts. That’s what she said,” Biden added, referring to Walensky. “We could still see a setback in the vaccination program. And most importantly, if we let our guard down now, we could see a virus getting worse, not better.

During a briefing earlier in the day, Walensky’s voice broke at times as she warned about rising infections and urged people to continue following public health guidance.

“We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are and so much reason for hope. But right now, I’m scared,” she said, urging people to “hold on a little while longer.”

“I know you all so badly want to be done,” Walensky said. “We are just almost there, but not quite yet.”

By: Paulina Firozi

2:03 PM: Ninety percent of adults to be eligible for vaccine in three weeks, Biden says

President Biden said Monday that the number of retail pharmacies offering coronavirus vaccines will double by April 19, by which time 90 percent of adults in the United States will be eligible for the shots.

Calling the national vaccination campaign the “American turnaround story,” he said these objectives should “give hope to the country" and inspire renewed commitment to mitigation strategies as case counts again begin to climb.

Activating more pharmacies will bring the total number participating in the federal retail pharmacy program to 40,000, he said, also unveiling plans to open 12 additional federally run mass vaccination sites. That will mean an estimated 90 percent of residents will have a vaccination site within 5 miles of their home, Biden said.

Biden also said his administration is investing $100 million to help older Americans get the shots, including assistance with transportation to vaccination sites. Nearly 73 percent of adults 65 and older have received at least one dose, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, but pockets of the United States are reporting much lower coverage rates.

“That still isn’t enough as far as we’re concerned,” the president said.

Earlier this month, Biden set a May 1 deadline for states and other jurisdictions to open vaccine eligibility to all adults. Nearly all states have set forth schedules in line with that deadline. Many are moving faster. Leaders in New York said adults 30 and older would be eligible starting Tuesday, followed by those 16 and up on April 6. At least 34 additional states plan to remove eligibility requirements by mid-April.

By: Isaac Stanley-Becker

1:43 PM: Psaki says White House is ‘deeply concerned’ about ‘abhorrent violence’ directed at protesters in Myanmar

Jen Psaki standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday. © Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that the White House is “deeply concerned” about the “abhorrent violence” by security forces in Myanmar directed at those protesting the military regime that seized power about two months ago.

We’re deeply concerned by the recent escalation of violence against peaceful protesters in Burma,” Psaki said during a White House news briefing, using the former name of the country. “Burmese security forces are responsible for hundreds of deaths in Burma since they perpetrated a coup on February 1st. We condemn this abhorrent violence against the Burmese people.”

Over the weekend, soldiers and police killed at least 126 people, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a human rights group that is tracking the deaths. The group said at least seven of those killed were children.

“We continue to make clear that we will impose costs on the military regime for the deadly violence against peaceful protesters and the suppression of human rights,” Psaki said.

She noted that the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative had announced a suspension of all U.S. engagement with Myanmar that would remain in effect until “the return of democratically elected government.”

By: John Wagner

1:33 PM: Psaki says federal government’s role in ‘vaccine passports’ will be ‘focused on guidelines’

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said federal agencies are working on guidelines around the handling of “vaccine passports,” or credentials, which would allow people to prove they have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Psaki was asked about comments from Andy Slavitt, White House senior adviser on the coronavirus response, who said during a White House briefing earlier Monday that the federal government is “not viewing its role as the place to create a passport, nor a place to hold the data of citizens.”

“We expect, as Andy Slavitt I think alluded to, that a determination or development of a vaccine passport or whatever you want to call it will be driven by the private sector,” Psaki told reporters. “Ours will more be focused on guidelines that can be used as a basis.”

She said there will be “no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential.”

Psaki said federal officials will seek to ensure any vaccination credential system meets “high standards, whether that’s universal accessibility, affordability, availability.”

She said those standards are being considered by federal agencies, but did not share a timeline on when such guidelines will be released.

By: Paulina Firozi

12:26 PM: Biden administration launches major push to expand offshore wind power

The White House announced Monday an ambitious plan to expand wind farms along the East Coast and jump-start the country’s nascent offshore wind industry, saying it would trigger a massive clean energy effort in the fight against climate change.

The plan would generate 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by the end of the decade — enough to power more than 10 million American homes and cut 78 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. The Biden administration said it would speed permitting for projects off the East Coast, invest in research and development, provide low-interest loans to industry and fund changes to U.S. ports.

“We are ready to rock-and-roll,” National Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy told reporters in a phone call Monday. Offshore wind power will generate “thousands of good paying union jobs. This is all about creating great jobs in the ocean and in our port cities and in our heartland,” she said.

Read the full story here.

By: Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis

11:51 AM: Murkowski draws a Republican challenger in Alaska for next year’s race

a woman posing for a picture: In this 2019 photo, Alaska Department of Administration Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka addresses reporters in Anchorage. © Mark Thiessen/AP In this 2019 photo, Alaska Department of Administration Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka addresses reporters in Anchorage.

Kelly Tshibaka, who leads the Alaska Department of Administration, announced Monday that she would try to unseat her fellow Republican, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, in next year’s Senate race in Alaska.

Murkowski, who is among the more moderate Senate Republicans, voted to convict former president Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial, a move that prompted him to vow to campaign against her next year and drew a censure from the Alaska Republican Party.

Tshibaka, who has led her department since 2019, described herself as a candidate to represent “a new generation of Alaska conservatives” and took aim at Murkowski in an announcement video.

“We know what Washington, D.C., thinks about Alaska: We’re here for their benefit, and we won’t put up much of a fight. After about 20 years in D.C., Lisa Murkowski thinks the same way,” Tshibaka says in a video. “But you know what? Nothing scares the D.C. political insiders more than the thought of a strong, independent Alaskan in their ranks. One they can’t bully. One they can’t control. One they can’t silence.”

Tim Murtaugh, Trump’s communications director in last year’s presidential race, was among those to call attention to Tshibaka’s candidacy, tweeting a link to her new campaign website.

Under a new law in Alaska, Murkowski will not face a traditional primary.

Instead, all Senate candidates, regardless of party, will run in an open primary, with the top four finishes advancing to the general election. At that point, the state will use a ranked-choice system to determine the winner.

Murkowski, who has held her seat since 2002, has demonstrated a knack for getting elected even when rebuffed by others in her party. In 2010, she lost in the Republican primary but mounted a successful write-in campaign in the general election.

By: John Wagner

11:33 AM: Analysis: Harris steps into new immigration mission with calls to Central American leaders this week

Vice President Harris this week will place her first telephone calls to Latin American leaders as she steps up efforts to fulfill her new mission of tackling the root causes of the migrant surge to the United States.

The outreach, her first to the region since President Biden announced her special role last week, will occur over “the next several days,” a senior administration official said on the condition of anonymity to preview diplomatic outreach. Another official confirmed the timetable.

Biden faces an increasingly difficult situation at the border, where the number of migrants is spiking as the president quickly seeks to reverse former president Donald Trump’s policies. Harris’s calls with world leaders will be an early test of her new responsibilities.

“When she speaks, she speaks for me — doesn’t have to check with me,” the president said last Wednesday, underlining the importance of handing the daunting dossier to his vice president.

Read the full story here.

By: Olivier Knox

11:07 AM: White House dramatically increased tax proposal as it sought to address tensions over next big spending plan

When Biden’s team began putting together his infrastructure and jobs package this February, the White House National Economic Council circulated an internal proposal calling for about $3 trillion in new spending and $1 trillion in new tax hikes, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

But soon enough, some members of the economic team second-guessed themselves, concerned that the plan could jeopardize the nation’s long-term financial stability. The officials worried that the large gap between spending and revenue would widen the deficit by such a large degree that it could risk triggering a spike in interest rates, which could in turn cause federal debt payments to skyrocket, said the people familiar with the matter.

Partially in response, the two-pronged package Biden will begin unveiling this week includes higher amounts of federal spending but also significantly more in new tax revenue — with possibly as much as $4 trillion in new spending and more than $3 trillion in tax increases, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private dynamics.

The choice to limit the impact on the federal deficit may help the White House counter critics who say the nation’s spending imbalance is out of control. But it also sets up the administration for an enormous political challenge in convincing Congress to pass a package of tax increases on wealthy Americans and companies that together would represent the largest tax hike in generations.

Read the full story here.

By: Jeff Stein

10:52 AM: Sen. Tillis announces he has prostate cancer, says he expects full recovery after surgery

a man wearing a suit and tie: Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) gets off the subway at the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 11. © Katherine Frey/The Washington Post Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) gets off the subway at the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 11.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) announced Monday that he has prostate cancer and is scheduled to have surgery next week.

“I am in the hands of outstanding medical professionals and expect to make a full recovery,” Tillis, 60, said in a statement.

Tills, who was reelected to a second Senate term last year, said he was “blessed” that his cancer was detected relatively early, during an annual physical.

“I can’t emphasize how important routine screenings are, regardless of how healthy you think you are,” he said. “Early detection can truly save lives.”

By: John Wagner

10:36 AM: L. Lin Wood to run for South Carolina GOP chair

L. Lin Wood, the conservative attorney who worked on some of the unsuccessful post-presidential election lawsuits, is planning to run to lead the South Carolina Republican Party.

Wood confirmed his plans to try to unseat current state GOP chairman Drew McKissick in an email to The Post. His plans were first reported by the Hill.

In an email, Wood said he views his recent move to South Carolina as a “potential advantage” in his bid, “as I am enthusiastic about the campaign and highly motivated to visit all parts of the state and introduce myself to as many members of the party as possible.”

“Although new to South Carolina, my support for reform of the political system to return power to the people is well known,” Wood wrote.

In February, Georgia officials launched an investigation into whether Wood, who spent months spreading former president Donald Trump’s false claims of election fraud, was a legal resident of the state when he cast his ballot in the November presidential election.

The inquiry, which is pending, was prompted by an email Wood allegedly sent to a reporter with Atlanta station WSB-TV stating he had been living in South Carolina for “several months” after purchasing a home there in April 2020.

Wood told The Post last month that he had not moved out of Georgia before the election and filed paperwork in February to make the South Carolina property he bought in April his official residence.

Andrea Salcedo contributed to this report.

By: Paulina Firozi and John Wagner

9:45 AM: Biden administration extends ban on renter evictions through end of June

The Biden administration on Monday announced it is extending a federal policy that prohibits landlords from evicting tenants who are behind on their rent.

The new protections cover Americans until the end of June, extending an eviction moratorium that had been set to expire before the end of the week.

The extension comes as the Biden administration races to dole out nearly $50 billion in housing aid to renters who are out of work or otherwise facing economic hardships caused by the coronavirus. Most of the federal funds, which Congress first approved in December, have not yet been distributed because of stimulus implementation delays.

The U.S. government first authorized the eviction ban under President Donald Trump, arguing that Americans who are forced out of their homes — and into potentially crowded alternative living conditions — could worsen the spread of the pandemic. Citing federal public-health laws, they placed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in charge of overseeing it.

But the order has faced an onslaught of legal challenges, particularly from landlords who challenge its constitutionality and the CDC’s authority to implement it. Some in the CDC also privately expressed their reservations, The Post previously reported.

By: Tony Romm

9:33 AM: Lara Trump, the daughter-in-law of the former president, joins Fox News as a contributor

a screen shot of a person: Lara Trump, former president Donald Trump's daughter-in-law, speaks August 2018 at a Republican fundraiser at the Carmel Country Club in Charlotte. © Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Lara Trump, former president Donald Trump's daughter-in-law, speaks August 2018 at a Republican fundraiser at the Carmel Country Club in Charlotte.

Lara Trump, a former senior adviser to the Trump campaign and daughter-in-law of the former president, has joined Fox News as a contributor, the network announced Monday morning.

“I sort of feel like I’ve been an unofficial member of the team for so long,” Lara Trump said during an appearance on “Fox & Friends” after co-host Ainsley Earhardt announced the news. “Over the past five years, I would come there so often that the security guards we’re like, ‘Maybe we should just give you a key.' ”

The arrangement will provide Lara Trump, who is married to Eric Trump, a platform as she eyes a possible 2022 Senate race in her home state of North Carolina.

At a recent event at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., former president Donald Trump teased the possibility of a run by his daughter-in-law for the seat being vacated by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.). Lara Trump is a native of Wilmington, N.C., and graduated from North Carolina State University.

By: John Wagner

9:13 AM: Feuds, fibs and finger-pointing: Trump officials say coronavirus response was worse than known

a man wearing a suit and tie: Brett Giroir, assistant secretary of health and human services, arrives before President Donald Trump speaks with members of the coronavirus task force during a briefing in April in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post Brett Giroir, assistant secretary of health and human services, arrives before President Donald Trump speaks with members of the coronavirus task force during a briefing in April in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington.

Several top doctors in the Trump administration offered their most pointed and direct criticism of the government response to the coronavirus last year, with one of them arguing that hundreds of thousands of covid-19 deaths could have been prevented.

They also admitted their own missteps as part of a CNN special that aired Sunday night, saying some Trump administration statements the White House fiercely defended last year were misleading or outright falsehoods.

“When we said there were millions of tests available, there weren’t, right?” said Brett Giroir, who served as the nation’s coronavirus testing czar, referencing the administration’s repeated claims in March 2020 that anyone who sought a coronavirus test could get one. “There were components of the test available, but not the full meal deal.”

Read the full story

By: Dan Diamond

8:23 AM: Fact Checker: No, Delaware doesn’t specifically prohibit food or water at the polls like Georgia

Gabriel Sterling with the Georgia secretary of state’s office updates the status of the state’s recount on Dec. 2. © John Bazemore/AP Gabriel Sterling with the Georgia secretary of state’s office updates the status of the state’s recount on Dec. 2.

“It’s been used as a workaround to get around that law. And the irony of this, as we looked it up, this is actually the law in the president’s home state of Delaware right now. So this is not some new thing that’s been brought out. This is pretty standard across the country.”

— Gabriel Sterling, chief operating officer of the Georgia secretary of state’s office, > in an interview with the PBS NewsHour

, March 26

A reader queried us about this statement, in the wake of Georgia’s governor signing into law changes to election procedures that quickly earned condemnation from Biden. “It makes it a crime to provide water to voters while they wait in line,” the president said in a statement.

Read the full story

By: Glenn Kessler

7:49 AM: Schumer explores advancing more parts of Biden agenda under budget reconciliation process

Chuck Schumer wearing a suit and tie: Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Tuesday. © Pool/Reuters Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Tuesday.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) is exploring additional use of the budget reconciliation process to pass parts of Biden’s costly “Build Back Better” agenda, according to a Schumer aide.

Such a move could allow Democrats to move forward without the support of Republicans, as they did with the recently enacted $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. Biden is preparing this week to unveil parts of his next major legislative initiative focused on infrastructure and safety net programs, which could have a combined cost in excess of $3 trillion.

While most bills require 60 votes to advance in the Senate, legislation considered under the budget reconciliation process can move ahead with a simple majority.

Schumer’s aide said he has reached out to the Senate parliamentarian on the question of whether the reconciliation process can be used a second time related to the fiscal year 2021 budget. The aide, who requested anonymity to share internal deliberations, stressed that no final decision has been made on legislative strategy.

“Schumer wants to maximize his options to allow Senate Democrats multiple pathways to advance President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda if Senate Republicans try to obstruct or water down a bipartisan agreement,” the aide said.

By: John Wagner

7:15 AM: Pompeo to appear virtually at New Hampshire fundraiser after two-day trip to Iowa

Mike Pompeo wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: Former secretary of state Mike Pompeo speaks Friday at the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, Iowa. (Charlie Neibergall/AP) © Charlie Neibergall/AP Former secretary of state Mike Pompeo speaks Friday at the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, Iowa. (Charlie Neibergall/AP)

Former secretary of state Mike Pompeo plans to appear virtually Monday at a fundraiser for a state House candidate in New Hampshire on the heels of a two-day visit last week to Iowa.

The back-to-back appearances in the nation’s first two presidential nominating states are fueling speculation about a 2024 White House bid in what could be a crowded Republican field, particularly if former president Donald Trump decides against a comeback attempt.

Pompeo’s trip to Iowa last week, which included appearances in multiple parts of the state, was the first to draw C-SPAN’s “Road to the White House 2024” coverage, though Pompeo was coy about his ambitions, saying he’s focused on helping elect fellow Republicans in 2022.

On Monday, he will appear at an event hosted by the New Hampshire Republican Party for Merrimack Town Councilor Bill Boyd, the GOP candidate for a New Hampshire state House seat.

“Liberal Democrats are bringing their radical national agenda to state houses across the country including in Concord,” Pompeo said in a statement. “I look forward to joining the New Hampshire Republican Party ... to help elect Bill Boyd to protect the ‘live free or die’ values of the Granite State.”

By: John Wagner

7:00 AM: Biden to provide update on government’s response to coronavirus

Biden on Monday plans to provide an update on the government’s response to the coronavirus, including the “state of vaccinations,” during remarks from the White House.

His latest assessment follows an announcement last week of a more ambitious goal for administering vaccines but as the number of new cases in the United States are on the rise, with more people letting down their guard amid the spread of more virulent variants.

Biden’s appearance also comes at the start of a week in which he plans to launch a concerted push for his next legislative package. On Wednesday, he is scheduled to travel to Pittsburgh to pitch the first part of a $3 trillion effort to improve the country’s roads, bridges and water systems nationwide.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Fox News Sunday that Biden would follow that announcement in April with a second package to include spending on social welfare programs, addressing health care, child care and other issues.

Meanwhile, the White House is continuing to tout provisions in the recently passed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

By: John Wagner and Tony Romm

6:51 AM: Ukraine wants to show Biden it’s serious about ending ‘oligarch era.’ That’s not so easy.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a news conference in Kyiv on March 3. © Sergey Dolzhenko/AFP/Getty Images Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks during a news conference in Kyiv on March 3.

KYIV — The word of the moment in Ukrainian politics is “de-oliharkhizatsia” or de-oligarchization: a renewal of the long-held goal — and sometimes only faint hope — to free the country’s political system of domination by the ultrarich.

Whether President Volodymyr Zelensky can deliver may set the tone for relations with the Biden administration. Ukraine’s gambit has added urgency as it tries to reset its standing in Washington after being center stage in the GOP’s unsuccessful dirt-digging efforts against then-candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Biden has made it clear he wants the Ukrainians to undertake root-and-branch political and economic reforms — a drive dating back to the Obama administration when Biden, as vice president, was the point man for Ukraine.

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By: David L. Stern

6:50 AM: The Biden do-over: Democrats get a chance to try again on Obama defeats

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and former president Barack Obama greet each other following remarks during a mobilization event at Northwestern High School in Flint, Mich., on Oct. 31. © Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and former president Barack Obama greet each other following remarks during a mobilization event at Northwestern High School in Flint, Mich., on Oct. 31.

Barack Obama, facing pressure from both parties, worked to keep his stimulus package under $1 trillion. Biden launched his presidency by spending about $2 trillion and hopes to bump it up to $5 trillion.

Obama spent months negotiating with Republicans, thirsty for a bipartisan credential that never came, while Biden nodded to the opposition party and then pushed his agenda without them.

Obama thought good policy would sell itself. Biden’s aides say he designed his package around key pieces that sell well, including easy-to-understand ideas such as $1,400 stimulus payments and vaccines.

The opening months of the Biden administration have provided the Democratic Party with a rare “do-over” — a chance to enact wide-ranging agenda items far more quickly and on a larger scale than in 2009. Even Biden’s slogan, Build Back Better, aspires to improve what came before.

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By: Annie Linskey and Marianna Sotomayor

6:49 AM: Lindsey Graham says he needs AR-15 for defense: ‘My house will be the last one that the gang will come to’

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. © Win McNamee/Getty Images Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.

As Democrats push again to ban assault weapons after mass shootings in Boulder, Colo., and Atlanta this month, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday reiterated his opposition — and said he has a personal reason for doing so.

He needs his own AR-15, he said, in case disaster strikes and he needs to defend his home against a roving “gang.”

“I own an AR-15,” Graham told Fox News host Chris Wallace. “If there’s a natural disaster in South Carolina where the cops can’t protect my neighborhood, my house will be the last one that the gang will come to, because I can defend myself.”

The comment went viral on Sunday, with more than 4.6 million watching one clip on Twitter as gun-control advocates rebuked the Republican senator. But his interview also underscored the steep challenge that President Biden and his allies will face in seeking to enact new restrictions on gun ownership.

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By: Tim Elfrink

6:48 AM: GOP candidate from New Jersey accused of pandering after he transforms into cowboy for Texas run

a man and a woman taking a selfie: Left: Dan Rodimer in a campaign ad in 2020, when he was running for Nevada's 3rd Congressional District. Right: Rodimer in an ad shot in 2021 for his candidacy in Texas's 6th District. © Dan Rodimer for Congress/YouTube Left: Dan Rodimer in a campaign ad in 2020, when he was running for Nevada's 3rd Congressional District. Right: Rodimer in an ad shot in 2021 for his candidacy in Texas's 6th District.

New Jersey boy. Pro wrestler. Failed Republican candidate in Nevada. Dan Rodimer has led many lives, but his latest — a cowboy-hat-wearing, Southern-drawling bull rider — might be the most extreme transformation to date.

In his first ad as a candidate for Texas’s 6th Congressional District, “Big Dan” Rodimer speaks in a gravelly, indistinct Southern accent, throws jabs at Democratic policies and compares House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to a bull. The bull he’s supposedly riding in the ad.

But the New Jersey native didn’t have the twang last year when he ran for Congress in Nevada. In one of those ads, resurfaced by the American Independent, Rodimer’s voice was softer and more clear as he defended himself against assault allegations raised by his opponent. Rather than a rodeo arena, he was surrounded at home by his children and wife — who, at one point in the campaign, was forced to explain the 911 calls she had made against him.

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By: Meryl Kornfield

6:44 AM: Family groups crossing border in soaring numbers point to next phase of crisis

The Biden administration’s attention along the Mexico border has been consumed for the past several weeks by the record numbers of migrant teenagers and children crossing into the United States without their parents, at a rate that far exceeds the government’s ability to care for them.

But as they race to add shelter capacity for these minors, Department of Homeland Security officials are privately warning about what they see as the next phase of a migration surge that could be the largest in two decades, driven by a much greater number of families.

DHS expects approximately 500,000 to 800,000 migrants to arrive as part of a family group during the 2021 fiscal year that ends in September, a quantity that would equal or exceed the record numbers who entered in 2019, according to government data reviewed by The Washington Post. Officials are racing to find facilities to house these families ahead of their release, along with additional staff to process an increase in humanitarian and asylum claims.

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By: Nick Miroff and Maria Sacchetti

6:41 AM: Raised to identify as Black, Harris steps into role as a voice for Asian Americans amid rise in hate incidents

Kamala Harris wearing a blue shirt: Vice President Harris attends a virtual event celebrating the Frederick Douglass Global Fellows at the White House on March 17. © Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post Vice President Harris attends a virtual event celebrating the Frederick Douglass Global Fellows at the White House on March 17.

Vice President Harris was in Atlanta to meet with community leaders in the wake of the mass shooting two weeks ago when she summoned top aides to discuss what she would say.

Her speechwriter had called in from Washington. Others were seated in front of her in a semicircle. The attacker had killed eight, including six women of Asian descent, and a draft of Harris’s speech had focused on the need for everyone to feel safe.

“That’s true, but it’s more than that,” she told the aides, according to one person familiar with the conversation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a private meeting. “It’s about being seen as American and not as the other.”

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By: David Nakamura

6:30 AM: Birx tells CNN most U.S. covid deaths ‘could have been mitigated’ after first 100,000

Deborah Birx wearing a blue shirt: Deborah Birx, coronavirus response coordinator, speaks during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on May 22. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News) Deborah Birx, coronavirus response coordinator, speaks during a news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on May 22. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News)

Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator under President Donald Trump, said most coronavirus deaths in the United States could have been prevented if the Trump administration had acted earlier and more decisively.

Birx made her comments in the CNN documentary “Covid War: The Pandemic Doctors Speak Out,” a clip from which the network released Saturday. The full documentary was set to air 9 p.m. Sunday.

In it, CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta asked Birx how much of a difference she thinks it would have made had the United States “mitigated earlier, … paused earlier and actually done it,” referring to extending shutdowns, urging people to wear masks and implementing other steps to slow the spread of the virus.

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By: Amy B Wang

Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/e2-80-98this-is-deadly-serious-e2-80-99-biden-warns-about-increase-in-coronavirus-cases-even-amid-progress-on-vaccines/ar-BB1f4VYP

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