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The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC – Calls mount to start transition as Biden readies Cabinet picks

                Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC

 

 

Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Monday! We get you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver are the co-creators, and readers can find us on Twitter @asimendinger and @alweaver22. Please recommend the Morning Report to friends and let us know what you think. CLICK HERE to subscribe!

Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported this morning: 256,783.

President-elect has amassed an election victory with decisive electoral and popular vote totals, even as clings to legal challenges repeatedly rejected in state courts while prominent GOP voices urge the president to launch a transition handoff immediately.

 

Biden’s standing in the Electoral College is 306 to Trump’s 232 in advance of electors’ votes in each state on Dec. 14. Ballots in all states have been counted, although Trump asked for a second recount in Georgia (The Associated Press), which Biden captured, making him the first Democrat to win Georgia since 1992. Trump’s campaign also filed a narrow appeal late on Sunday in Pennsylvania tied to a judge’s rejection of his earlier challenge in the state (Politico). And the partial recount in Wisconsin that Trump’s campaign is paying for is now underway as the team seeks to disqualify batches of ballots (The Washington Post). 

 

The Hill: Pressure grows from GOP for Trump to recognize Biden’s election win.

 

The Hill: Sen. (R-Pa.), who is retiring from the Senate in 2022, congratulated Biden as president-elect. “President Trump has exhausted all plausible legal options to challenge the result of the presidential race in Pennsylvania,” said Toomey, one of a handful of Republican senators who has wished Biden well as the incoming president.

 

NBC News: Sen. (R-N.D.) said on Sunday that the transition assistance for Biden should begin immediately: “It’s past time to start a transition, to at least cooperate with the transition. I’d rather have a president that has more than one day to prepare.”

 

The Hill: Sen. (R-Alaska) on Sunday called on Trump to begin the transition process and decried “a pressure campaign on state legislators.”

 

Biden is expected on Tuesday to name his first Cabinet picks, beginning a process to shape the government, which will set to work on Jan. 20 (The Washington Post and Reuters). The transition period, which Trump and the General Services Administration refuse to initiate, is intended by law to give presidents-elect time to vet candidates, send nomination paperwork to the Senate, and work with senators to vote to confirm as many heads of agencies and departments as possible in January and early February.

 

Biden is reported to be ready to nominate longtime adviser and National Security Council veteran Antony Blinken as secretary of State (The Associated Press), and to appoint Jake Sullivan, a former top adviser to at the State Department and subsequently to Biden when he was vice president and as a candidate, to become White House national security adviser in January (The New York Times).

 

The president-elect last week said he’d settled on a nominee to be Treasury secretary (and several possible candidates surfaced in headlines). Appearing to rise to the top of his list: former Federal Reserve Chair (Bloomberg News). Candidates mentioned to lead the Justice Department include , , Tony West, outgoing Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) and (NPR). Also mentioned: Judge (NPR). For the United Nations, Biden is reportedly prepared to nominate as U.S. ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, former assistant secretary of State for Africa during the second term of the Obama administration, who served in the Foreign Service for more than three decades (Axios).

 

As The Hill’s Jordain Carney reports, Senate Democrats are brushing off calls from some progressives for Biden to play hardball with Republicans over his Cabinet picks.

 

Some Republicans, who need to win at least one of two Senate runoff elections in Georgia on Jan. 5 to hold their slim majority, have already made clear they are reluctant to give ground to Biden when it comes to nominees, Carl Hulse reports for The New York Times. Should Republicans retain their Senate majority next year, Biden would be the first president since George Bush in 1989 to enter office without his party controlling the chamber and managing the confirmation process. That process has become increasingly toxic.

 

The Hill: Biden and Vice President-elect , who as a ticket captured the White House with notable support among women, are leaning heavily on female appointees to the incoming administration.

 

 

 

 

Trump’s refusal to concede the election has Washington pondering his imagined endgame. A lot will depend on whether Republican lawmakers speak up between now and mid-December. So far, most GOP senators and House members have remained silent as Trump contests the Nov. 3 election for weeks on end, with no evidence he will succeed in overturning tens of thousands of votes in Biden’s column (The Hill).

 

Former New Jersey Gov. (R), who supported Trump for president but frequently points out his vulnerabilities, told ABC News on Sunday that the president’s election legal team is an “embarrassment.” 

 

The Hill: Trump lawyer on Sunday attempted to distance the Trump campaign from attorney Sidney Powell after she made baseless allegations about widespread nationwide election fraud. Giuliani said Powell, who appeared with him at a Thursday news conference, is not part of the president’s campaign legal team and does not represent Trump in personal legal matters.

 

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) got under Trump’s skin on Sunday when he said more Republicans must speak up to urge the president to concede to Biden. Hogan said he is no longer confident the president will step down in January without a divisive showdown (The Hill).

  

The New York Times: Trump hopes to use the Republican Party machinery to retain control of the GOP after he leaves office.

 

The Washington Post: The president privately plots his next act, including a potential 2024 run for the White House.

 

> Inauguration: The Jan. 20 U.S. Capitol ceremony and oath of office will accommodate the ongoing coronavirus risks. “I think it’s going to definitely have to be changed,” incoming White House chief of staff Ron Klain said on Sunday. “Obviously, this is not going to be the same kind of inauguration we had in the past.” Biden’s team is consulting with leaders in the House of Representatives and Senate on details and best practices, but no details have been disclosed (Reuters). Traditional inauguration festivities have included mass gatherings stretching from the Capitol across the Mall, a parade past the White House and inaugural balls, all of which are likely to change.

 

> Transition & policies: Biden and his economic team are preparing for the possibility of a double-dip recession next year (The New York Times). The president-elect has pledged to “permanently protect” the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. Law enacted three years ago requires by the end of 2024 two lease sales for the oil and gas industry in the refuge. However, there are some options open to the new administration to slow drilling. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is moving with speed to benefit the industry before January (The Hill). … Biden has promised to rejoin the Iran nuclear agreement if Iran abides by the 2015 deal, but both sides would have to race against the clock and navigate a political minefield to reach that goal. Iran is due to hold elections in June, complicating the maneuvering room for the incoming administration, according to experts (NBC News). In the meantime, representatives of Germany, France and Britain are to meet today to discuss the nuclear deal (Reuters). … Under Trump, the nation is vulnerable to attacks in cyberspace because of the president’s recent decision to fire the top federal cybersecurity official. It’s a national security worry during the transition (The Hill).

 

 

 

LEADING THE DAY

CORONAVIRUS: More promising news about vaccines this morning: AstraZeneca said today that late-stage trials showed that its COVID-19 vaccine developed with Oxford University was up to 90 percent effective in preventing disease. The results are based on interim analysis of trials in the United Kingdom and Brazil (The Associated Press).

 

The first round of any COVID-19 vaccinations available in the United States could arrive as early as the second week of December as the Food and Drug Administration’s advisory committee prepares to meet on Dec. 10. A federal authorization is expected almost immediately.

 

The Dec. 10 meeting will center around the emergency use authorization request by Pfizer for its newly developed vaccine, which is 95 percent effective, according to the company. Officials have said that 20 million people in the U.S. — most of them health care workers — will be immunized in December. 

 

“Our plan is to be able to ship vaccines to the immunization sites within 24 hours from the approval, so I would expect maybe on day two after approval, on the 11th or on the 12th of December, hopefully, the first people will be immunized across the United States, across all states, in all the areas where the state departments of health will have told us where to deliver the vaccine,” Moncef Slaoui, the head of Operation Warp Speed, told CNN on Sunday.

 

The Associated Press: Global stocks rise ahead of US data amid virus unease.

 

As The Hill’s Peter Sullivan reports, the success of Operation Warp Speed in the United States has upped the pressure on the Trump administration’s efforts to ramp up rapid testing while segments of the population wait for inoculations. 

 

Experts say tests that people could take in their homes and deliver results in minutes would go a long way to slowing the pandemic. However, they want the Trump administration to be more aggressive in ramping up the manufacture of rapid tests and clearing regulatory barriers to their approval. It is one area the Biden transition team is prioritizing.

 

The Wall Street Journal: U.S. hospitalizations set a record for the 13th day in a row.

 

Politico: Trump tells G-20 leaders he wants U.S. citizens to get the world’s first vaccines.

 

Austin American-Statesman: Rep. (R-Texas) takes part in Moderna’s clinical trial for a vaccine.

 

Treatments for the novel coronavirus also received a boost on Sunday as an antibody therapy by Regeneron was granted emergency use authorization. The antibody was given to the president at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center when he was recovering from COVID-19. 

 

The treatment is suggested for mild to moderate symptoms of the virus, and those who are at high risk for developing severe symptoms, especially individuals 65 and older with chronic issues (Reuters). 

 

The vaccine and treatment developments come at a dark time for the U.S. as the virus continues to wreak havoc across the country. Of the 12.2 million confirmed cases in the country, more than 3 million were reported between Nov. 1 and Nov. 22 — representing 25 percent of all infections (CNN). The United States has reported at least 100,000 new confirmed cases daily for 19 consecutive days, including Friday’s single-day high of 196,000 infections.

 

The Washington Post: Coronavirus cases are soaring in the D.C. region. Experts say the worst is yet to come.

 

 

 

 

At the state level, GOP governors are relenting in their opposition to mandates for individuals to wear masks. According to The Hill’s Nathaniel Weixel, governors in states such as Utah, Iowa, North Dakota and Ohio — after watching COVID-19 case counts rise at record rates and hospitals filling up — changed course despite resisting such measures for eight months.

 

For months, Trump has wavered about wearing a mask and about urging others to do so, but the prospect of the incoming Biden administration has given governors political cover for what was previously considered politically dicey. Some states remain opposed to calling for masks, including South Dakota, Oklahoma and Nebraska.

 

The Hill: Pentagon struggles to contain coronavirus outbreaks.

 

The Hill: The U.S. economy hurtles toward a “COVID cliff” with assistance programs set to expire in December.

 

More coronavirus (international edition): Group of 20 countries said on Sunday that they will ensure COVID-19 drugs, tests and vaccines will be equally distributed to countries rich and poor amid concerns that the richest nations could take priority (Reuters).In Hong Kong, Health Secretary Sophia Chan announced that any resident of the territory who tests positive for the virus will receive $645 in a push to encourage Hong Kongers to get tested (The Hill). … British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday that the lockdown across the United Kingdom will end on Dec. 2 (The Associated Press). … In China, authorities imposed new lockdowns and shut down schools in three major cities, including Shanghai, due to a sudden rise of virus cases. The Chinese also tested millions for the virus in an attempted crackdown of cases (The Associated Press).

IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

MORE POLITICS: House Democrats are gearing up for what could be their final investigatory showdown with the Trump administration: forcing Trump to admit that he lost the election. 

 

Having followed the former vice president’s lead to dismiss Trump’s myriad legal challenges, House Democrats are turning to their oversight abilities. As The Hill’s Cristina Marcos notes, the chairs of the House Oversight and Appropriations committees demanded that the General Services Administration, which has yet to officially allow the transition to begin, provide a briefing and threatened to haul officials in for a public hearing.

 

The Hill: Biden faces politically thorny decision on Trump prosecutions. 

 

> 2022 midterms: Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), who represents a district Trump won in 2016, has warned House Democrats as they ponder a political reset after 13 seats change from blue to red as a result of the elections. Democrats worry about maintaining control of the House in the looming 2022 midterms. 

 

According to Maloney, who is vying to lead the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the party faces financial, digital and diversity problems. He argues Democrats must adapt rather than remain mired in the past. 

 

“The success of our next DCCC chair will determine whether we can support this new president,” Maloney, a four-term lawmaker, told The Hill’s Scott Wong and Mike Lillis in a lengthy telephone interview. “There are solutions all around us that we are not taking advantage of, because we are stuck in the past.”

 

Reid Wilson, The Hill: Young voters set turnout record, aiding Biden win.

 

The New York Times: Georgia is a purple state, but don’t expect centrist politicians.

 

The Hill: Celebrities turn to Georgia Senate runoffs in wake of 2020 election.

 

Politico: Republicans dash to defend perilous 2022 Senate map.

The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: [email protected] and [email protected] We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE! 

OPINION

A federal judge halts another inhumane Trump administration practice at the border, by The Washington Post editorial board. https://wapo.st/2IZ8aJa 

 

The dividend tax canary, by The Wall Street Journal editorial board. https://on.wsj.com/3nGUOjM

WHERE AND WHEN

The House will meet at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

 

The Senate will resume legislative business at 3 p.m. on Nov. 30.

 

The president and Vice President Pence have no public events scheduled.

 

Biden and Harris will meet virtually with the United States Conference of Mayors.

 

Washington Post Live will host a live streamed conversation with former President Obama at 11:30 a.m. Information is HERE.

 

Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features news and interviews at http://thehill.com/hilltv or on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. EST at Rising on YouTube

ELSEWHERE

HOLIDAYS, TRAVEL & ADMINISTRATION: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dealt a blow to airlines and the broader travel industry on Thursday by recommending Americans stay home for Thanksgiving. Airlines are countering that passengers are safe from COVID-19 on planes because of precautionary measures. The Transportation Security Administration says people should be free to make up their minds about whether to visit family and friends during what’s typically the busiest travel holiday of the year (The Hill). … The White House has made little effort to offer unified and clear guidance about how Americans should safely approach the Thanksgiving holiday during the pandemic, leaving the topic largely to states and individuals (The Hill). … , the government’s leading infectious disease expert, warned on Sunday about crowded airports as a hazard for COVID-19 spread among Thanksgiving travelers (The Associated Press). … Millions of Americans appear eager to gather with friends and families for Thanksgiving despite warnings about rising COVID-19 infections and worries there will be yet another surge in nationwide spread following the holiday. “People have to realize we’re nearly at the end. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. It would be a real shame if someone got sick now before a vaccine… and didn’t make it to the next Thanksgiving,” said Aaron Glatt, chief infectious diseases and hospital epidemiologist at Mount Sinai South Nassau (The Hill). … The White House last week was planning a Hanukkah reception in December, even as coronavirus infections climb. An invitation to the indoor event includes no special coronavirus instructions (Jewish Telegraphic Agency). The White House is also planning in-person, indoor Christmas parties despite its recent experience with the spread of COVID-19 during September events held at the White House and infection among staff members and the president’s own family (HuffPost).

 

RUSSIA: The Trump administration withdrew the United States from the Open Skies treaty with Russia, officials announced on Sunday (The Hill). Russian President is holding off on congratulating Biden on his election victory (The Associated Press).

 

➔ FEDERAL RESERVE: Judy Shelton‘s bumpy ride as a nominee to the Federal Reserve Board appears to have run out of roadway. The Senate GOP’s inability to confirm her last week leaves Trump’s controversial choice with few paths to a seat at the central bank (The Hill).

THE CLOSER

And finally … With three newsletter days left until Thanksgiving, Morning Report readers have stumbled upon a slice of the holiday. Today, pies are in the news. 

 

Radical: Pies with crusts don’t belong at Thanksgiving meals (Los Angeles Times). 

 

Nonsense, say foodies. Great pie recipes with crusts abound for the holiday, such as “90 absolutely incredible Thanksgiving desserts you need to make” (Good Housekeeping).

 

How about Ina Garten’s “Ultimate Pumpkin Pie with Rum Whipped Cream”? She shared her boozy recipe with Williams Sonoma to help sell her latest book, “Modern Comfort Food.”  

 

During a pandemic, no-touch sharing is indeed sweet. The New York Times delivers dessert recipes in serving sizes that live large in miniature.

 

 

 



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