Presidential Transition Live Updates: 117th Congress Is Set to Convene for First Time

Credit score…Al Drago for The New York Instances

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers of the 117th Congress will take the oath of workplace on Sunday, formally convening for the primary time because the capital prepares for a brand new president, feuds over the mendacious claims of victory by the departing one and continues to battle a lethal pandemic.

Within the Home, Democrats are poised to re-elect Nancy Pelosi of California as speaker, handing her management of an exceedingly slender majority for what could also be her last time period. After two years as President Trump’s most outspoken Democratic antagonist, she is going to quickly be liable for attempting to shepherd by way of Congress as a lot of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s agenda as attainable.

It’s no simple job. Along with her occasion in charge of simply 222 of 435 seats, Ms. Pelosi can afford to lose solely a handful of Democrats on any given vote. She may also need to deal with a well being disaster that may sideline lawmakers at any second, starting with a couple of who had been anticipated to overlook Sunday’s session.

“I’m assured that the Speaker’s election in the present day will present a united Democratic Caucus prepared to fulfill the challenges forward, and that we’re ready to set our nation on a brand new course,” Ms. Pelosi wrote Sunday morning in a letter to colleagues.

On the opposite aspect of the Capitol, the Senate is making ready for a extra subdued opening day as each events await a pair of runoff elections in Georgia on Tuesday that can decide which ones begins the yr in management. The end result might decide the destiny of Mr. Biden’s legislative objectives on local weather change, taxes and well being care; his response to the coronavirus pandemic; and his capacity to fill his cupboard and influential federal judgeships.

Republicans presently have an edge, with 50 seats to Democrats’ 48. Democrats must sweep each races to attract the chamber to a tie and successfully take management when Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, who would solid tiebreaking votes when wanted, is sworn in with Mr. Biden on Jan. 20.

With the coronavirus circulating rampantly, members-elect anticipated little of the standard pomp that often accompanies Congress’s preliminary convening. Home leaders had been making ready for a drawn-out, socially distant affair, with lawmakers taking the oath of workplace and voting for speaker in small teams, relatively than all collectively within the usually boisterous corridor of the Home.

Nor was there a lot promise that the partisan warfare that has seized the capital lately would quickly subside with the brand new session. After they’re sworn in, a rising cohort of Republican senators and Home members plan to provoke a long-shot try on Wednesday to attempt to overturn Mr. Biden’s victory and ship a second time period to Mr. Trump. The try will fail, however solely after it cleaves the Republican Celebration in two and additional erodes confidence in Mr. Biden’s legitimacy among the many president’s most ardent supporters.

Eleven Republican senators and senators-elect said they would join Senator Josh Hawley this week in challenging the results of the presidential election.
Credit score…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Instances

WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence signaled help on Saturday for a futile Republican bid to overturn the election in Congress this week, after 11 Republican senators and senators-elect mentioned that they’d vote to reject President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory when the Home and the Senate meet to formally certify it.

The announcement by the senators — and Mr. Pence’s transfer to endorse it — mirrored a groundswell amongst Republicans to defy the unambiguous outcomes of the election and indulge President Trump’s makes an attempt to stay in energy with false claims of voting fraud.

Each state within the nation has licensed the election outcomes after verifying their accuracy, many following postelection audits or hand counts. Judges throughout the nation, and a Supreme Courtroom with a conservative majority, have rejected nearly 60 attempts by Mr. Trump and his allies to problem the outcomes.

And neither Mr. Pence nor any of the senators who mentioned they’d vote to invalidate the election has made a selected allegation of fraud, as a substitute providing obscure solutions that some wrongdoing might need occurred and asserting that lots of their supporters imagine that it has.

The senators’ opposition to certifying Mr. Biden’s election won’t change the end result. But it surely ensures that an in any other case perfunctory session on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to ratify the outcomes of the presidential election will as a substitute change into a partisan brawl, wherein Republicans amplify specious claims of widespread election rigging which were debunked for weeks at the same time as Mr. Trump has stoked them.

The spectacle guarantees to set a caustic backdrop for Mr. Biden’s inauguration and displays the polarized politics on Capitol Hill that might be amongst his biggest challenges.

It’s going to additionally pose a political dilemma for Republicans, forcing them to decide on between accepting the outcomes of a democratic election — even when it means angering supporters who dislike the end result and will punish them on the polls — and becoming a member of their colleagues in displaying unflinching loyalty to Mr. Trump, who has demanded that they again his bid to cling to the presidency.

Thousands of protesters in downtown Atlanta demonstrating for racial justice.
Credit score…Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Instances

For generations, the prevailing mythology of Atlanta has been that it’s an undeniably Southern metropolis that can be not like the remainder of the South, a spot the place the relentless pursuit of financial and social development meant casting apart a lot of the racial division and bitter historical past which have lengthy dogged the area.

However currently, that notion has been examined — by the pandemic; by violent encounters between African-Individuals and the police; and by the fluctuating divide between metropolitan Atlanta and the far more conservative and conventional state surrounding it.

The pandemic has laid naked gaps in entry to alternative and well being care, because the virus has hit the African-American group particularly arduous. It has additionally galvanized ideological divides between the town and the state, because the mayor and governor sparred over adopting strict measures to curb the virus’s unfold. Protests pressured many to look at the stubbornness of institutional racism.

A meltdown during the summer primaries, with lengthy traces and malfunctioning voting machines, stoked considerations over suppression.

These points are definitely not Atlanta’s alone. However many times in latest months, the town emerged as an area wherein these tensions performed out in vivid and revelatory methods.

When Georgia votes on Tuesday, representatives of very completely different segments of Atlanta will play main roles on this chapter of the town’s historical past: the Rev. Raphael Warnock, the pastor of Dr. King’s famed Ebenezer Baptist Church; and Jon Ossoff, a younger media govt from the Atlanta suburbs, are the Democratic candidates. Kelly Loeffler, one of many Republican senators pushed into the runoff, is a rich businesswoman who’s an proprietor of the town’s skilled ladies’s basketball crew and has an property within the prosperous Buckhead part of the town.

The context of latest occasions has injected vitality into the runoffs, which have already drawn enormous turnout. The election comes after Joseph R. Biden Jr. grew to become the primary Democratic presidential candidate to win Georgia in 28 years, a mirrored image of the occasion’s rising power within the state, pushed overwhelmingly by voters in Atlanta and its suburbs, which collectively make up almost half the state vote. It additionally follows the protracted marketing campaign by President Trump to overturn his loss by way of recounts, authorized challenges and a barrage of baseless allegations of fraud.

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s nominee for Treasury secretary, Janet L. Yellen, started giving paid speeches in February 2018.
Credit score…Kriston Jae Bethel for The New York Instances

WASHINGTON — President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s selection for Treasury secretary, Janet L. Yellen, collected more than $7 million in talking charges over the previous two years from main companies and Wall Avenue banks which have a eager curiosity within the monetary insurance policies she is going to oversee after her anticipated affirmation to steer the Treasury Division.

Ms. Yellen’s paid talking appearances — which included $992,000 from the funding financial institution Citi for 9 appearances — had been among the many profitable funds from a variety of Wall Avenue, Huge Tech and company pursuits to a few distinguished potential members of the incoming Biden administration.

The funds, revealed in disclosure statements masking the earlier two years and launched in latest days, have brought about consternation amongst progressive activists concerned about the influence of special interests round Mr. Biden, who they see as a part of a Democratic institution that has not sufficiently embraced liberal priorities.

Mr. Biden’s selection for secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, was paid nearly $1.2 million by a consulting agency he helped discovered, WestExec Advisors, the place he suggested a variety of companies together with Fb, Boeing, the non-public fairness large Blackstone and the asset administration firm Lazard.

Mr. Biden’s selection for director of nationwide intelligence, Avril Haines, was paid $180,000 to seek the advice of for the data-mining firm Palantir, which has raised liberal hackles for offering data and surveillance services to regulation enforcement, together with the USA Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Together with their disclosure statements, Ms. Yellen, Mr. Blinken and Ms. Haines every filed ethics agreements pledging to keep away from involvement in particular issues that might have an effect on any holding they nonetheless personal, or with which they’d labored up to now yr, except they obtain a written waiver from ethics officers.

China’s leader, Xi Jinping, made a video appearance on Wednesday with European leaders to approve the investment deal.
Credit score…Pool photograph by Johanna Geron

A commerce pact with 14 different Asian nations. A pledge to hitch different nations in lowering carbon emissions to struggle international warming. Now, an funding settlement with the European Union.

China’s chief, Xi Jinping, has in latest weeks made offers and pledges that he hopes will place his nation as an indispensable international chief, even after its dealing with of the coronavirus and elevated belligerence at house and overseas have broken its worldwide standing.

In doing so, he has underlined how troublesome it will likely be for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. to forge a united entrance with allies in opposition to China’s authoritarian insurance policies and commerce practices, a central focus of the brand new administration’s plan to compete with Beijing and examine its rising energy. The picture of Mr. Xi becoming a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, President Emmanuel Macron of France and different European leaders in a convention name on Wednesday to seal the deal with the European Union additionally amounted to a stinging rebuke of the Trump administration’s efforts to isolate China’s Communist Celebration state.

The offers present the leverage Mr. Xi has due to the power of the Chinese language financial system, which is now the fastest-growing amongst main nations because the world continues to wrestle with the pandemic.

It was additionally one more demonstration of how China pays little or no diplomatic value for abuses that violate European values. The Europeans finalized the funding settlement, for instance, a day after the European Union publicly criticized the harsh prison sentence handed all the way down to a Chinese language lawyer who reported on the preliminary coronavirus outbreak within the metropolis of Wuhan.

China needed to make solely modest concessions to beat more and more vocal considerations about China’s harshest insurance policies, together with the crackdown on Hong Kong and the mass detentions and compelled labor of Uighurs in Xinjiang, the western Chinese language area.

China’s huge financial and diplomatic affect, particularly right now of world disaster, implies that nations really feel they’ve little choice but to engage with it, no matter their unease over the character of Mr. Xi’s hard-line rule.

The funding settlement should be ratified by the European Parliament earlier than it could take impact, and it faces signification opposition that might derail it.

Claire Fu contributed analysis.

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