This week, USA TODAY Politics focuses on the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, his remaining Cabinet picks and the final week of the current Congress.
Dates to watch:
- Jan. 6: Congress will count and certify the electoral results in a joint session.
- Jan. 20: Inauguration of Biden, who will take the oath of office.
Be sure to refresh this page often to get the latest information on the transition.
President-elect Joe Biden said Monday one of his top foreign policy priorities is rebuilding alliances with other countries that became strained during the Donald Trump administration.
“The truth is the challenges we face today can’t be solved by any one country acting alone,” Biden said before a virtual meeting with his national security and foreign policy review teams, citing the COVID-19 pandemic as a classic example.
Biden is scheduled to deliver a brief speech on national security and foreign policy after the meeting.
During his presidency, Trump and aides have clashed with leaders of other countries on issues ranging from free trade to joint military defense. Trump said too many countries have “ripped off” the United States with bad trade deals and low spending on their own national defenses.
In remarks before meeting with advisers, Biden said Trump’s aggressive approach has done more harm than good, and U.S. security has been “jeopardized by the go-it-alone approach of this administration.”
— David Jackson
President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday that he would be traveling to Georgia in January to campaign for Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, who are engaged in intensely completive reelection bids.
“On behalf of two GREAT Senators, @sendavidperdue & @KLoeffler, I will be going to Georgia on Monday night, January 4th., to have a big and wonderful RALLY.” Trump tweeted. “So important for our Country that they win!”
The Republican National Convention confirmed it will be hosting a “Victory Rally” in Dalton, Georgia, on Jan. 4. Loeffler and Perdue will join the president for the rally, which will take place at Dalton Regional Airport and begin at 7 p.m. ET.
The fates of both senators will be determined on Jan. 5, when Georgians will cast their ballots in a runoff that will not only determine the state’s representation in Congress but also the balance of power in the Senate.
Election watchers expect the bitterly contested race to be extremely close. Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock are in statistical ties with the Republican incumbents, according to a FiveThirtyEight average.
Ossoff and Warnock have both raised over $100 million each, while Loeffler and Perdue raised $64 million and $68.1 million, respectively. The cash influx has enabled a barrage of political advertising just as the state sees early voting levels in the runoffs just shy of turnout in the general election, a near unprecedented rate.
Trump, who lost Georgia to President-elect Joe Biden, has continued to make unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud in the election. The president has recently come under increased criticism from conservatives for attacking the legitimacy of the state’s electoral system ahead of a crucial election.
Loeffler and Perdue both joined the president’s condemnations of state election officials and the integrity of the vote itself, going so far as to call for the ouster of the Republican Secretary of State, Brad Raffesperger, and suing the state in federal court, arguing that more mail ballots should have been scrapped in November.
— Matthew Brown
Trump advocates for $2,000 stimulus checks after signing relief package
President Donald Trump continued to argue for direct payments of $2,000 to Americans after signing a coronavirus relief package that includes a provision for a lower amount.
“As President, I have told Congress that I want far less wasteful spending and more money going to the American people in the form of $2,000 checks per adult and $600 per child,” Trump said in a statement.
The president signed the relief package Sunday just after expanded unemployment benefits for workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic expired Saturday.
The White House had originally agreed to much of the aid package until Trump unexpectedly threatened to veto the deal that congressional leadership had reached with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
The House of Representatives is set to vote on a bill that would expand direct payments to the $2,000 amount. A voice vote to increase the direct payment amount failed last week after some Republican opposition.
— Matthew Brown
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