pcloudy.png
Monday August 2nd, 2021 8:34PM

Congress opens new session as COVID-19, Biden's win dominate

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress is preparing to convene for the start of a new session, swearing in lawmakers during a tumultuous period as a relative handful of Republicans work to overturn Joe Biden's victory over President Donald Trump and the coronavirus surge imposes limits at the Capitol.

Democrat Nancy Pelosi is set Sunday to be reelected as House speaker by her party, which retains the majority in the House but with the slimmest margin in 20 years after a November election wipeout.

Opening the Senate could be among Mitch McConnell’s final acts at majority leader. Republican control is in question until Tuesday’s runoff elections for two Senate seats in Georgia. The outcome will determine which party holds the chamber.

It’s often said that divided government can be a time for legislative compromises, but lawmakers are charging into the 117th Congress with the nation more torn than ever, disputing even basic facts including that Biden won the presidential election.

Fraud did not spoil the 2020 presidential election, a fact confirmed by election officials across the country. Before stepping down last month, Attorney General William Barr, a Republican appointed by Trump, said fraud did not affect the election’s outcome. Arizona’s and Georgia’s Republican governors, whose states were crucial to Biden’s victory, have also stated that their election results were accurate.

Nevertheless, a dozen Republicans bound for the new Senate, led by Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, and even more in the House have vowed to become a resistance force to Biden’s White House, starting with efforts to subvert the will of American voters. These GOP lawmakers plan to object to the election results when the Electoral College meets Wednesday to tally his 306-232 victory over Trump.

Democrats, meanwhile, are pushing ahead, eager to partner with Biden on shared priorities, starting with efforts to stem the pandemic and economic crisis. They plan to revisit the failed effort to boost pandemic aid to $2,000 for most people.

“This has been a moment of great challenge in the United States of America filled with trials and tribulations, but help is on the way,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., the chairman of the House Democratic caucus, said in an interview.

“America is a resilient nation, filled with resilient people,” he said. “We will continue to rise to the occasion emerged from this pandemic and continue to march toward our more perfect union.”

Among the House Republican newcomers are Trump-aligned Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who has given nod to conspiracy Q-Anon theories, and gun rights advocate Lauren Boebert of Colorado, who circulated a letter of support to retain the right of lawmakers to carry firearms in the Capitol.

Taylor Greene was among a group of House Republicans led by Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama who visited with Trump at the White House during the holiday season about their effort to undo the election.

The “Jan. 6 challenge is on,” Taylor Greene said in a tweet pinned to the top of her social media account. Boebert also tweeted support for those challenging Biden's victory.

House Republicans boosted their ranks in the November election, electing a handful of women and minorities, more than ever. Some of the new GOP lawmakers are being called the “Freedom Force,” and a counter to the “squad” — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and other liberal Democratic women who swept to office in the last session.

Progressive Democrats bolstered their ranks with newcomers aligned with more liberal priorities.

The Capitol itself is a changed place under coronavirus restrictions. Lawmakers are arriving in Washington from all parts of the country potentially exposed to the virus during their travel.

Several lawmakers have been sickened by the virus. A memorial was held Saturday for newly elected Republican lawmaker Luke Letlow, 41, of Louisiana, who died of complications from COVID-19 days before the swearing in.

The Office of the Attending Physician has issued several lengthy memos warning lawmakers off meeting in groups or holding traditional receptions to prevent the spread of the virus. Masks have been ordered worn at all times and Pelosi has required them to be used in the House chamber. Members are required to have coronavirus tests and have access to vaccines.

“Do not engage any in-person social events, receptions, celebrations, or appointments, outside your family unit, and always wear a face covering outside your home,” the physician’s office warned in one memo. “You should strictly avoid any type of office-based reception or celebration during the days ahead.”

Even the traditional swearing in ceremonies will be limited in the House. No more big family portraits with new lawmakers taking the oath of office. Instead, each representative-elect can bring one guest in line with social distancing protocols.

The vice president typically swears in the senators.

Pelosi, who is returning as speaker, faces a tight race, with the House split 222-211, with one race still undecided and one vacancy after Letlow's death.

The California Democrat can endure some defections from her ranks, but only a few, barring absences. Some lawmakers are on quarantine after coronavirus infections or exposure. She needs to win a majority of those present and voting to retain the speaker’s gavel.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, General Senate Election News, General House Election News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Congress opens new session as COVID-19, Biden's win dominate
Congress is preparing to convene for a new session with lawmakers sworn into office during a tumultuous period
12:07AM ( 13 minutes ago )
Texas A&M runs past North Carolina in Orange Bowl, 41-27
Devon Achane had two late touchdown runs, including a 76-yarder with 3:44 left that put Texas A&M ahead to stay, and the fifth-ranked Aggies beat No. 14 North Carolina 41-27 in the Orange Bowl to cap a winless bowl season for the Atlantic Coast Conference
11:49PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Moore ends pursuit of Boise State job, staying with Cowboys
Dallas offensive coordinator says he is no longer pursuing the Boise State job and has signed a multiyear contract extension with the Cowboys
10:42PM ( 1 hour ago )
Associated Press (AP)
More GOP lawmakers enlist in Trump effort to undo Biden win
A growing number of Republican lawmakers have joined President Donald Trump’s extraordinary effort to overturn the election, pledging to reject the results when Congress meets next week to count the Electoral College votes and certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win
9:02PM ( 3 hours ago )
Floyd Little, Syracuse and Broncos great, dies at 78
Floyd Little, the versatile running back who starred at Syracuse and for the Denver Broncos, has died after a long bout with cancer
8:28PM ( 3 hours ago )
Report: Talk show host Larry King in hospital with COVID-19
CNN says its former talk show host Larry King has been hospitalized with COVID-19 for more than a week
7:57PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP National News
California funeral homes run out of space as COVID-19 rages
As communities across the country feel the pain of a surge in coronavirus cases, funeral homes in the hot spot of Southern California say they must turn away grieving families as they run out of space for the bodies piling up
3:32PM ( 8 hours ago )
UK hits daily virus record, is urged to keep schools closed
The British government is facing mounting pressure to keep all schools in England closed for at least two more weeks as a result of surging coronavirus cases
3:12PM ( 9 hours ago )
McConnell, Pelosi homes vandalized after $2,000 relief fails
Vandals lashed out at the U.S. House and Senate speakers over the holiday weekend, blighting their homes with graffiti after Congress failed to approve an increase in the amount of money being sent to individuals to help cope with the coronavirus pandemic
2:27PM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Online National News
The Latest: Ariz. gov. rejects call for online learning
Arizona’s Gov. Doug Ducey has rejected the state’s top education official’s call for Ducey to order public schools to use only online instruction for the next two weeks unless they have waivers from health officials
6:57PM ( 5 hours ago )
The Latest: New daily cases hit record in North Carolina
North Carolina has reported its highest daily number of COVID-19 cases yet
4:37PM ( 7 hours ago )
The Latest: California hospitals helped with oxygen delivery
Hospitals struggling to provide enough oxygen for the sickest coronavirus patients in the Los Angeles area got help from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers by updating the oxygen delivery systems
3:24PM ( 8 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
GOP rebuffs Trump on $2K aid, defense as Congress wraps up
The Senate has wrapped up a rare New Year’s Day session with Republicans rejecting President Donald Trump’s demand for $2,000 COVID-19 aid checks
12:02AM ( 1 day ago )
Bolsonaro's tough 2021 balance between ideology, pragmatism
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro survived 2020 in surprisingly good shape
12:00AM ( 1 day ago )
Texas judge dismisses suit aimed at overturning election
A federal judge has dismissed a last-gasp lawsuit led by a House Republican that seeks to give Vice President Mike Pence the power to overturn the results of the presidential election won by Joe Biden when Congress formally counts the Electoral College votes next week
9:09PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Congress News
Shutdown, impeachment, virus: Chaotic Congress winds down
Congress is ending a chaotic session with a rare rebuff by Republicans of President Donald Trump
12:25AM ( 1 day ago )
GOP senator rebukes 'dangerous ploy' to fight Biden victory
Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska has issued a pointed rebuke of GOP attempts to object Jan. 6 to the Electoral College tally of the presidential election
12:21AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Elections
General Election News
General Presidential Election News
General Senate Election News
General House Election News
Texas A&M runs past North Carolina in Orange Bowl, 41-27
Devon Achane had two late touchdown runs, including a 76-yarder with 3:44 left that put Texas A&M ahead to stay, and the fifth-ranked Aggies beat No. 14 North Carolina 41-27 in the Orange Bowl to cap a winless bowl season for the Atlantic Coast Conference
11:49PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Moore ends pursuit of Boise State job, staying with Cowboys
Dallas offensive coordinator says he is no longer pursuing the Boise State job and has signed a multiyear contract extension with the Cowboys
10:42PM ( 1 hour ago )
Asia Today: Australian states reimpose travel restrictions
More Australian states and territories are imposing travel restrictions to prevent the coronavirus spreading from new outbreaks in New South Wales and Victoria states
10:14PM ( 2 hours ago )
Young rising star Garcia stops Campbell in 7th round
Ryan Garcia staggered Luke Campbell with a body blow after coming back from an early knockdown, winning a WBC lightweight title fight on a seventh-round knockout
9:51PM ( 2 hours ago )
More GOP lawmakers enlist in Trump effort to undo Biden win
A growing number of Republican lawmakers have joined President Donald Trump’s extraordinary effort to overturn the election, pledging to reject the results when Congress meets next week to count the Electoral College votes and certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win
9:02PM ( 3 hours ago )