What to Know in Washington: Biden Plans Jan. 6 Critique of Trump

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President Joe Biden in a speech this morning marking the first anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Capitol plans to criticize former President Donald Trump for his role in the riot that disrupted the certification of last year’s election. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and congressional Democrats are also planning a day of commemoration.

Here’s what Bloomberg Government is tracking for Thursday.

Congressional Agenda:

  • The Senate convenes 10:30 a.m., but no votes are planned.
  • The House has scheduled a pro forma session for noon, with no hearings scheduled.

Biden’s Agenda:

  • The president delivers remarks at 9 a.m. to mark the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Biden Plans Searing Critique of Trump to Mark Jan. 6 Anniversary

President Joe Biden plans a blistering critique of Donald Trump as he marks the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol with a speech that will warn of the dangers of misinformation and subverting democracy.

The president this morning will also call on lawmakers to pass voting rights legislation intended to rebut changes sought by Trump loyalists in state governments across the nation that would limit access to absentee voting and strengthen identification requirements.

“Are we going to be a nation that accepts political violence as a norm? Are we going to be a nation where we allow partisan election officials to overturn the legally expressed will of the people?” Biden will say in his speech, according to excerpts provided by the White House. “We cannot allow ourselves to be that kind of nation.”

President Joe Biden

And, aides say, he will recount the horror he experienced watching lawmakers and staff flee for their safety as rioters breached the Capitol, where he served for 36 years.

“It hit him personally,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said yesterday.

The speech is part of a day of commemoration, featuring remarks by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), along with other Democrats, and discussions about democracy. Trump canceled a press conference originally scheduled for today at his Palm Beach, Florida, estate at the urging of allies.

Biden’s address from the Capitol’s Statuary Hall—swarmed a year ago by Trump supporters seeking to block certification of his election—is a rhetorical opportunity to reorient his presidency away from the resurgent coronavirus, fighting within his party and persistent inflation. Biden, who has seldom mentioned his predecessor by name since taking office, intends to focus on bigger themes, such as the “battle for the soul of the nation” that he described on the campaign trail.

The simplest way for Biden to reverse his sagging approval ratings may be to re-engage with Trump as a political foil. The president’s approval fell to just 40% of Americans in a USA Today/Suffolk poll released last week, driven by independents who have soured on his performance. Read more from Justin Sink.

  • One goal of the House panel investigating the Jan. 6 attack is to explain the 187 minutes of inaction before U.S. National Guard and additional police were sent to the Capitol. Other areas of inquiry include why the Capitol as well as federal and local law enforcement agencies weren’t better prepared; and online and social media misinformation and extremist activity. An interim report could be released by mid-year, followed by a final report before the elections in November, complete with recommendations on policy changes. Read more about what the Jan. 6 committee has done and what’s next from Billy House.
  • Almost every finding of the Arizona Senate’s review of the 2020 election in Maricopa County was false or misleading, according to an analysis released yesterday by county officials. The 93-page report presented to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors rebuts each claim made last year by Senate contractor Cyber Ninjas, a cybersecurity company with no previous election experience, in an audit that included a recount of nearly 2.1 million ballots cast in the race won by Biden. The refutation comes days before the Arizona Legislature reconvenes and will consider changes to election laws. Read more from Brenna Goth.

ALSO HAPPENING ON THE HILL:

  • Sen. Thom Tillis announced he will vote in favor of Kathi Vidal, Biden’s nominee to lead the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Tillis (R-N.C.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, said he received a commitment from Vidal to support and build upon former director Andrei Iancu’s policies at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. Tillis is the first Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee to support Vidal. She “will be the exact type of visionary leader we need to succeed Andrei Iancu,” Tillis said in a statement. Read more from Samantha Handler.

Around the Administration

Biden’s Shot Rule Hinges on Supreme Court: The fate of Biden’s push to vaccinate millions of workers amid the latest Covid-19 surge rests with a U.S. Supreme Court likely to be wary of his assertion of broad federal power to confront the pandemic. The justices hear arguments tomorrow on two administration rules, one demanding 80 million workers get vaccinated or regularly tested, and a second requiring shots for workers in facilities that receive government health-care funds. Business groups and Republican-led states are trying to stop the rules from taking effect, saying they would cost billions of dollars and violate state sovereignty. The court could rule in a matter of days. Read more from Greg Stohr.

  • The CDC said vaccinated teens should get a Covid-19 booster from Pfizer and BioNTech, an important step in efforts to expand immunizations and keep schools open. The approval comes after a panel of outside experts convened by the CDC voted to 13 to 1 to recommend the booster shot for people ages 12 to 17 who received their second dose at least five months earlier. Director Rochelle Walensky then made that advice official shortly after, making booster doses for that age group available across the U.S. Fiona Rutherford has more.
  • Still, the CDC’s definition of fully vaccinated remains two weeks after the primary dose or doses, Walensky said at a White House press briefing. Further, the federal government has no plans to change the definition of fully vaccinated for travel guidelines, Medicare rules or any other federal requirements, White House pandemic response coordinator Jeff Zients said, Jeannie Baumann reports.
  • Though the omicron variant tends to be milder, it is spreading so explosively across the U.S. that many hospitals expect it to rival or surpass previous records for admitting Covid-19 patients. Hospitals are bracing for a continuous rise in Covid-related bed demand for the month ahead, according to models from several facilities around the country. Read more from Carey Goldberg and Jonathan Levin.
  • In the nation’s third-largest city, the Chicago Teachers Union’s move to halt in-person instruction amid rising Covid-19 cases has not only escalated its clash with city officials but has put it at odds with the Biden White House. Read more from Shruti Date Singh.

The Biden administration has missed year-end deadlines to fully nix Trump-era energy efficiency standards, highlighting the volume of work challenging the Energy Department’s staff as it confronts a backlog of appliance reviews. Final actions will now fall to 2022 for undoing Trump-era standards for light bulbs, washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers—standards that some industry groups have welcomed, but that efficiency advocates have criticized as too lax. And the department still has to finalize the second part of the Process Rule, a 40-year-old set of regulations. Read more from Daniel Moore.

A Russian technology executive with ties to the Kremlin pleaded not guilty to charges that he led an insider-trading ring that made millions of dollars by hacking into systems used by public companies to file quarterly earnings reports. Vladislav Klyushin, 41, entered the plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler in Boston federal court and was ordered detained pending trial, said his lawyer. Authorities suspect Klyushin may have extensive knowledge of Russia’s efforts to meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the hack of Democratic Party email servers, and the assassination attempt of former spy Sergei Skripal. Read more from Christian Berthelesen.

Global food prices declined from near a record high at the end of last year, offering some respite to consumers and governments facing a wave of inflationary pressures. A United Nations index tracking everything from grains to meat fell 0.9% in December, potentially helping to ease the run-up in prices of grocery store products. Read more from Megan Durisin.

To contact the reporters on this story: Michaela Ross in Washington at mross@bgov.com; Brandon Lee in Washington at blee@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Giuseppe Macri at gmacri@bgov.com; Zachary Sherwood at zsherwood@bgov.com

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