Politics live updates: Congress to pick up COVID relief talks as lawmakers eye stimulus checks

Politics live updates: Congress to pick up COVID relief talks as lawmakers eye stimulus checks

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USA TODAY’s coverage of the 2020 election and President-elect Joe Biden’s transition continues this week as he rolls out more of his picks for top jobs in his administration and prepares to take the oath of office Jan. 20. The Electoral College affirmed Biden’s win Monday, officially giving Biden enough electoral votes to defeat President Donald Trump. Congress will count and certify the results in a joint session Jan. 6. 

Trump has cleared the way for Biden’s team to use federal resources and get briefings during the transition, although Trump has yet to formally concede the race and continues to challenge the results. 

Be sure to refresh this page often to get the latest information on the election and the transition.

Congress, eyeing stimulus checks, to resume COVID relief negotiations 

Staring down a government shutdown, congressional leaders appear close to cementing a COVID-19 stimulus deal, but negotiations went on into the night without a deal in place. 

The looming deal would restart a boost to federal unemployment insurance benefits, provide some form of relief for state and local governments, and it may include another round of stimulus checks and other much-needed financial benefits for Americans, according to a source familiar with negotiations who wasn’t authorized to speak on the record. 

Congress has not passed a comprehensive relief package since March, and as coronavirus case totals climbed and benefits lapsed, Democrats and Republicans were unable to come together on another deal. The Democratic-controlled House and Republican-controlled Senate offered their own versions of legislation, only to be rejected by the other side.

More:Stimulus checks part of looming COVID-19 relief deal as Congress finalizes negotiations

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke multiple times Wednesday evening, including a conversation at 10:30 p.m. EST, according to Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill.

“All three emphasized the urgency to reaching an immediate agreement and will exchange additional paper and resume conversations in the morning,” Hammill wrote in a tweet late Wednesday.

– Savannah Behrmann, Nicholas Wu and Sean Rossman

Pence, Biden to get COVID vaccine in coming days

It was announced Wednesday that Vice President Mike Pence is set to receive a COVID-19 vaccine Friday, while President-elect Joe Biden is expected to be vaccinated as soon as next week.

Pence and second lady Karen Pence will receive the vaccine at the White House. Pence’s office said they will get the shot “publicly” to promote the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and “build confidence among the American people.”

The Pences will be joined by Surgeon General Jerome Adams, who will also receive the vaccine, Pence’s office said.

A Biden transition official confirmed the former vice president’s potential timeline for the vaccine. CNN reported Biden is likely to be vaccinated early next week. 

– Savannah Behrmann, Joey Garrison and Michael Collins

More:Mike Pence to receive COVID-19 vaccine Friday; Joe Biden will get vaccinated as soon as next week


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