Good morning! Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox each day.
Here’s what you need to know:
- The House passed Biden’s historic $US1.9 ($2) trillion relief plan.
- These are the leading candidates that could be Trump’s 2024 running mate.
- Gov. Andrew Cuomo is facing the most serious allegation yet. He’s accused of groping a staffer.
1. IS THAT THE TICKET?: Former President Trump’s popularity in the Republican Party means potential 2024 hopefuls may be jockeying for second place. Advisors say former Vice President Pence won’t be back, but a reunion tour is not completely impossible.
Here are some highlights from our exclusive story:
MAGAwunderkind: Trump’s advisors in 2016 told him not to pick former House Speaker Newt Gingrich or New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, because “You already got one pirate on the ship. You don’t need two.”
- “Straight from central casting”?: The former president’s love of TV and loyalty is indisputable. That means someone like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, who has expressed support for the QAnon conspiracy theory, could be considered.
Republican governors: Trump loved touting Pence’s experience running Indiana. His endorsements helped propel a new generation of GOP leadership at the state level, including Govs. Ron DeSantis of Florida and Kristi Noem of South Dakota.
Not so fast my friend?: Trump still has to reach 2024. He faces significant legal exposure, which seems to grow more complex by the week.
- The latest: On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported new information about Trump’s efforts to pressure Georgia officials after the election. A Fulton County prosecutor already has opened a criminal investigation into Trump’s efforts.
2. House passes Biden’s $US1.9 ($2) trillion relief plan. He’ll sign it on Friday: Biden now has his first major legislative achievement in his first 50 days in office, a historically large stimulus package that will help millions of families, could drastically reduce poverty, reorients federal policy toward families, and even includes potential help for Americans with student loan debt.
Biden and Vice President Harris watched the vote at the White House. Here they are celebrating after its passage in a story on Biden’s Instagram.
- There are some provisions the GOP likes too: Republican Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi praised the bill’s inclusion of $US28.6 ($37) billion in relief for restaurants. He later told reporters, per a pool report, that it was a “stupid question” to ask why he then voted against the overall bill.
3. What Biden will talk about tonight: During his first prime-time address, Biden will talk about the sacrifices Americans made during the pandemic and what they need to do going forward as the nation marks one year of lockdowns. The White House says his speech will come in under 20 minutes. The Washington Post reports Biden will travel to Pennsylvania next week as he begins touting his relief plan.
4. Democrats could lower drug prices and use the money to pay for a multi-trillion dollar infrastructure plan: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and other top lawmakers told Insider that they are considering legislation that gives the federal government a greater role in controlling drug prices. These savings could then be used to help cover a potential $US2 ($3) trillion-plus infrastructure plan, which is expected to be Biden’s next legislative priority. Read our exclusive report on how this would work.
- Key quote: “Shh, not so loud. We’ll think about it,” Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont told my colleague Kimberly Leonard when she asked about it.
5. Biden now has an attorney general and another historic Cabinet member: The Senate, including 20 GOP lawmakers, voted to confirmed Merrick Garland as attorney general. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was among the Republican lawmakers who voted in Garland’s favor, years after leading the blockade of Garland’s Supreme Court nomination. (Here’s Insider’s exclusive look at Garland’s budding inner circle.)
History was also made by Michael Regan’s confirmation to lead the EPA. He’s the first Black man to run the powerful environmental agency.
- Marcia Fudge was also confirmed to be Housing and Urban Development secretary, she is the first Black woman to lead the agency in decades.
6. The top things for your calendar, all times Eastern:
- 10:45 a.m.: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds her weekly news conference.
- 11:30 a.m.: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy holds his weekly news conference.
- 12:30 p.m.: Jen Psaki holds the White House’s daily news briefing.
- 8:00 p.m.: Biden addresses the nation.
7. A staffer says Gov. Andrew Cuomo “aggressively groped” her last year: A person with knowledge of the unnamed woman’s claims, the Albany Times Union reports, said the staff member was summoned to the executive mansion last year. Once alone, Cuomo “allegedly reached under her blouse and began to fondle her.” She is the sixth woman to accuse Cuomo of sexual harassment. This is the most serious allegation raised yet. Cuomo denied doing “anything like this.”
8. Meet 8 former Biden aides with top jobs at Amazon, Facebook, Walgreens, Fox, and other huge companies: Watchdogs are monitoring how corporations that former Biden staffers work for are trying to shape the administration’s policies on everything from stimulus spending to Big Tech regulations. More on the new gigs for Bidenworld in our exclusive report.
9. How QAnon turned Ashli Babbitt, an Iraq veteran, into a domestic “terrorist”: “Babbitt, a petite brunette with a big, toothy grin, has become one of the country’s most controversial figures, her death encapsulating the divide that has plagued the nation for the past four years … But former classmates, friends, and service members who spoke with Insider said Babbitt’s transformation from Obama-voting soldier to red-faced Trump supporter was complicated.” More from our in-depth profile.
10. The “BBC dad” was a preview of our life to come: Four years ago, Professor Robert Kelly went on BBC to talk about the impeachment of South Korea’s president. His kids burst into the room during the interview, birthing a slew of memes and a moment we’ll never forget. Thanks to the pandemic, many parents can now relate to it too.
Kelly talked about how the moment has changed his life: Here’s part of what he wrote in a Twitter thread last night.
One last thing.
Today’s trivia question: NASA is back in the news, thanks to the Mars rover’s SoundCloud (yes, everyone has one). With that in mind, today’s question comes from Kristy Aldridge. Do you know what former Republican presidential candidate’s pocket change helped make history on the first mission to Pluto? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at [email protected].
- Yesterday’s answer: King George VI, Queen Elizabeth II’s father, was the first sitting royal to visit the US in 1939.