President Biden is seeking to put a spotlight on immigration policy Friday as he holds an Oval Office meeting with six beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to discuss their experiences working in health care, education and agriculture during the pandemic.
House Republicans chose Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) to fill the leadership post recently occupied by Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.). In a statement, Stefanik said she would work to “save our country from the radical Socialist Democrat agenda” of Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Here’s what to know:
House Democrats and Republicans announced a deal on legislation to establish a commission to investigate the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. The top members of the Homeland Security Committee agreed to a 10-member panel to study the “facts and circumstances … as well as the influencing factors” that provoked the attempted insurrection.
Less than two years before Marjorie Taylor Greene became a member of Congress, she walked the halls of a congressional office building with a few men searching for a new Democratic congresswoman from New York named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Under new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccinated Americans can now mostly ditch their masks indoors. But not lawmakers on the House floor.
A Florida politician who is central to the investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) for possible sex trafficking of a minor signaled that he will plead guilty in his own federal case.
Cecilia E. Rouse, chairwoman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, cautioned that the economic recovery from the pandemic is likely to be uneven and said the United States sill has a long way to go to “get to the other side of this.”
“We’ never had a recession that was not tied to a problem in the economy, but that was tied to a health problem,” Rouse said during an appearance before reporters in the briefing room of the White House. “And so there’s even uncertainty about the recovery because our recovery is hitched to the virus.”
While the country is starting to emerge from the pandemic, Rouse noted that a majority of Americans are not fully vaccinated yet and that other barriers remain to finding work.
“We are just not to the other side of this yet,” she said. “We are still 8 million jobs down from where we were at this time last year. We have a long way to go.”
“It takes several weeks for people to get full immunity from vaccinations and even more time for those left jobless from the pandemic to find and start a suitable job,” Rouse said. “Supply trains have been disrupted, and sectors that were hardest hit are just beginning to come back. I will also note that given the extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances of the pandemic, it will remain difficult for analysts to accurately forecast economic data until we have more fully recovered.”
Rouse also defended the continuation of enhanced unemployment benefits, which Republicans argue provide a disincentive to return to work. At least 15 governors have announced they will no longer allow the higher level in their states.
The enhanced benefits have “served a very important role through this pandemic,” Rouse said. “It has allowed people to pay the rent, which we know is very important for the landlord. It’s allowed people to put food on the table, which is important for them and their families. And so we stand behind that.”
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and an aide to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) got into a confrontation Friday over the use of face masks on the House floor, in the latest incident involving allegedly disruptive behavior by Greene and her staff.
“I had a mask on as I stepped off the Floor,” Swalwell said in a tweet. “An aide with @mtgreenee yelled at me to take my mask off. No one should be bullied for wearing a mask. So I told the bully what I thought of his order. Predictably, he went speechless. I regret I wasn’t more explicit.”
Nick Dyer, a spokesman for Greene, said in an email to The Washington Post that he passed by Swalwell “on the top of the steps” and “cordially and jovially” told him: “Congressman, Biden said you can take off your mask.”
Scott Wong, a reporter for the Hill who first wrote about the incident, said in a tweet that Swalwell then “confronted” Dyer and “got in his face.”
According to Dyer, Swalwell “chased me inside, aggressively leaned into me, got inches from my face” and said, “Don’t tell me what to [expletive] do.” Dyer described it as a “verbal assault” with “an attempt at physical intimidation.”
Swalwell’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Dyer’s claims. The Post could not independently verify the exchange.
Under new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccinated Americans can now mostly ditch their masks indoors — but lawmakers must still wear them on the House floor.
Asked by CNN whether the House’s mask mandate would be relaxed, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said: “No. Are they all vaccinated?”
Her decision, which was outlined in updated guidelines issued Thursday night by Congress’s attending physician, drew swift backlash from Republicans who have long bristled at mask requirements. In a letter dated Friday, 34 GOP lawmakers urged Pelosi to drop the House’s pandemic restrictions.
The House in February voted to oust Greene from her committee assignments over her embrace of extremist beliefs that she publicly renounced in part just hours before the vote.