Biden administration begins push for action on COVID relief
President Biden had a full Monday lifting a ban aimed at transgender troops, imposing a ban centered on COVID-19, and extending a mandate to buy goods made by Americans. White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor reports.
JUDY WOODRUFF: President Biden has had a full day, lifting a ban aimed at transgender troops,
imposing a ban aimed at COVID-19, and expanding a mandate to buy goods made by Americans.
White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor reports on the day's events.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: President Biden's first full week in office, and a flurry of executive
actions. At a morning meeting with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Biden revoked President
Trump's ban on transgender individuals serving in the military.
JOE BIDEN, President of the United States: What I'm doing is enabling all qualified Americans
to serve their country. Transgender personnel, if qualified in every other way, can serve
their government in the United States military.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The president also issued a buy American order. It is aimed at providing
support to U.S. manufacturers. The order raises the threshold for products to qualify under
existing buy American regulations, calls for a review of waivers of buy American requirements,
and appoints an official in the Office of Management and Budget to oversee the order's
The president is reimposing a COVID-19 ban on foreign travelers from the U.K., Brazil
and Ireland, as well as other European countries with open borders. South Africa was also included
on the list over concerns about a coronavirus variant there.
Meanwhile, the Biden White House has begun its push for legislative action on a $1.9
trillion COVID relief package. On Sunday, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese
and other White House officials held a call with a bipartisan group of senators. But Republicans
Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah said they remain concerned about the
size of the package. Many others in the GOP are too.
Vermont independent Bernie Sanders, who caucuses with Democrats, has said he is also skeptical
that a bipartisan deal can be reached. Instead, he is suggesting a process called budget reconciliation.
That would let the bill pass with a simple majority,instead of 60 votes.
For his part today, President Biden again voiced hope for a bipartisan agreement.
JOE BIDEN: Whether we get it all done exactly the way I want it remains to be seen, but
I'm confident that we can work our way through. We have to work our way through, because,
as I have said 100 times, there is no ability in a democracy for it to function without
the ability to reach consensus.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Meanwhile, the looming second impeachment trial of former President Donald
Trump threatens new divisions.
The first step is tonight, with House managers formally delivering the article of impeachment
to the Senate. It accuses Trump of incitement of insurrection. That comes after he urged
supporters to march to the Capitol on January 6 and a mob of them stormed the building.
On Sunday, Florida Senator Marco Rubio was questioned about whether it was unconstitutional
to try a former president. He said this:
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): Yes, the first chance I get to vote to end this trial, I will do
it because I think it's really bad for America. If you want to hold people accountable, there's
other ways to do it, particularly for a president.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Senate Democrats on the other hand say it's important that President
Trump be held accountable.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): It makes no sense whatsoever that a president, or any official,
could commit a heinous crime against our country and then defeat Congress' impeachment powers
by simply resigning, so as to avoid accountability and a vote to disqualify them from future
YAMICHE ALCINDOR: The trial will not begin until February. That gives the former president
more time to mount his defense and the current president more time to confirm his Cabinet
That includes this evening's Senate vote to confirm Janet Yellen as Treasury secretary,
next up, Antony Blinken, the nominee for secretary of state.
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