Today is President Biden’s 37th day in office.
For day 37, President Biden and his wife, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden will travel to Texas, where they will tour the Harris County Emergency Operations Center afterward they will tour a Houston Food Bank. At 6 p.m. D.C., time, President Biden will deliver remarks at the FEMA COVID-19 vaccination facility at NRG Stadium.
The Presidential scheduled can be viewed at factba.se.
In defense news…
On Thursday evening the Defense Department announced that the U.S., had carried out airstrikes against Iranian-backed militia located in Eastern Syria. The Iranian-backed militia are believed to be responsible for recent attacks against U.S., and coalition personal in Iraq.
In a statement John Kirby the Pentagon Press Secretary told reporters traveling with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin that at the direction of President Biden, “U.S. military forces, earlier this evening, launched airstrikes against infrastructure utilized by Iranian-backed militant groups in Eastern Syria. These strikes were authorized in response to recent attacks against U.S. and coalition personnel in Iraq, and to on-going threats to those personnel.”
Defense Secretary Austin said in response to the strikes: There’s not much more that I’ll be able to add at this point other than the fact that we’re confident in the target we went after, we know what we hit. We’re confident that the target was being used by the same Shia militia that conducted the strikes. Let me say that I am very proud of the men and women in our force that carried out the strike. As you would expect, they performed in a very professional manner, and we are grateful for their service
Kirby explained that the “proportionate military response was conducted along with diplomatic measures, including consultation with coalition partners. The operation sends an unambiguous message: President Biden will act to protect American and coalition personnel. At the same time, we have acted in a deliberate manner that aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both Eastern Syria and Iraq.”
CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr reported Friday morning:
CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju reported this morning that Democratic Senator Tim Kaine is calling on the administration to justify the airstrikes without coming to Congress.
Kirby is holding his daily press briefing at 12:30 p.m. D.C., time. A live feed to the daily press briefing will be offered at the end of the article.
To finish Thursday’s Presidential tweeting President Biden added 4 more tweets to the already two tweets covered in Thursday’s Open Thread giving him a Thursday total of 6 tweets.
At 2:25 p.m. D.C., time, he shares a link to healthcare.gov..
According to the website enrollment is open until May 15th, 2021.
At 3:14 p.m. D.C., time, he shared a live feed asking us to “tune in” as they mark the U.S., reaching the milestone of 50 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered.
His full remarks can be found at White House.gov.
I’m here to report we’re halfway there: 50 million shots in just 37 days since I’ve become President. That’s weeks ahead of schedule, even with the setbacks we faced during the recent winter storms, which devastated millions of Midwestern — Midwestern cities, towns, and also the same in the South.
We’re moving in the right direction, though, despite the mess we inherited from the previous administration, which left us with no real plan to vaccinate all Americans. And every time we administer another 50 million shots, I’m going to use that milestone to report to the American people on our vaccination program and on our overall fight against this pandemic. The good and the bad, I’ll tell you; the success and the failures.
And here’s the deal — here’s the deal: The story of this vaccination campaign is like the story of everything hard and new America does: some confusion and setbacks at the start, and then if we do the right things, we have the right plan to get things moving. That’s what we’re seeing right now.
Weeks before I became President, the previous administration saw 6 million shots administered in the last week. This coming week, we will administer over 12 million shots, double the pace, in just six weeks that we’ve been in office.
We’ve all seen the news about Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine. The idea of a third safe and effective vaccine is very promising. The Food and Drug Administration, the FDA, is viewing the data and review recommendations from an outside committee of experts that will be meeting tomorrow.
Now, let me be clear: We are going to do this the right way. The FDA will decide on an emergency use authorization of a vaccine based on science, not due to any political pressure from me or anyone else. No outside factors.
What I will say to the American people is this: If — if the FDA approves the use of this new vaccine, we have a plan to roll it out as quickly as Johnson & Johnson can make it. We’ll use every conceivable way to expand manufacturing of the vaccine, and we’ll make even more rapid progress on overall vaccines in March.White House.gov. 02/25/2021.
At 8:03 p.m. D.C., time, he said he has launched a whole-government response to the “climate crisis,” adding that he looks forward to working with newly confirmed Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.
Thursday the Senate confirmed Granholm with a vote of 64 yea’s and 35 nay’s.
All 35 nay votes were Republicans, with senate.gov., noting one Republican, Senator Sullivan (R-AK), not voting.
At 8:30 p.m. D.C., time, he praises the House for passing the Equality Act and urges the Senate to do the same.
Axios reported on Thursday that the vote on the Equality Act was 224-206. They add that the Act if passed through the Senate would, “expand federal protections for LGBTQ people by prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.”
The Bill had passed the House in May of 2019 but never reached the Senate. Axios goes on to say; The bill would amend laws including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act to explicitly include protections for LGBTQ people.
- Unlike its passage in the House in 2019, the measure is now being considered after the Supreme Court ruled that Title VII protects employees from being fired based on their gender identity or sexual orientation.
Three Republicans Congressmen supported the passage of the Bill.
- Reps. John Katko (R-N.Y.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), and Tom Reed (R-N.Y.).
Speaking of the Senate news…
CNN White House reporter Dj Judd on Thursday reported that the Senate parliamentarian has ruled that a $15 minimum wage increase proposed in the American Rescue Plan runs afoul of senate rules.
According to the parliamentarian the increase requested to the minimum wage did not meet the Senate guidelines needed to move forward in the Senate’s reconciliation process.
President Biden’s Chief of Staff Ron Klain was asked by MSNBC host Joy Reid about a possible Vice President Harris overruling the Senate parliamentarian on Wednesday ahead of the expected ruling.
Klain said “certainly that’s not something we would do.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki issued the following statement in response to the Senate decision:
President Biden is disappointed in this outcome, as he proposed having the $15 minimum wage as part of the American Rescue Plan. He respects the parliamentarian’s decision and the Senate’s process. He will work with leaders in Congress to determine the best path forward because no one in this country should work full time and live in poverty. He urges Congress to move quickly to pass the American Rescue Plan, which includes $1400 rescue checks for most Americans, funding to get this virus under control, aid to get our schools reopened and desperately needed help for the people who have been hardest hit by this crisis.White House.gov. 02/25/2021.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said the increase will stay in the House Bill that the House is expected to pass sometime Friday.
For Friday President Biden has tweeted 2 times so far.
10:07 a.m. D.C., time, he shares a video of himself, reminding everyone that we should not relax as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are down. That we must continue to wash our hands. Social distance. And “for God sake wear a mask.”
The video is 50 seconds long, the snips come from his remarks marking the milestone of 50 million coronavirus vaccines given.
in five weeks, America has administered the most shots of any country in the world — any country in the world — with among the highest percentage of population fully vaccinated. That’s progress we promised.
it’s also true that while COVID-19 vaccinations are up, COVID cases and hospitalizations are coming down. But I need to be honest with you: Cases and hospitalizations could go back up with new variants as they emerge.
So I want to make something really very clear: This is not a time to relax. We must keep washing our hands, stay socially distanced, and for God’s sake — for God’s sake, wear a mask.White House.gov. 02/25/2021.
At 11:45 a.m. D.C., time, he says that in the coming weeks his administration will likely “administer over 12 million shots.” Adding that that’s double the pace in just six weeks.
Today’s daily brief by Press Secretary Jen Psaki is an Air Force One press gaggle. Audio of the gaggle should be provided sometime Friday.
Defense Departments daily briefing is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. D.C., time.
This is an Open Thread.
Have a great weekend everyone, I’ll catch on the flip side…