Here’s what you need to know:Miguel A. Cardona during his confirmation hearing to be education secretary last month.Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times
The Senate on Monday easily confirmed Miguel A. Cardona, a career educator who rose through Connecticut’s education system to become a leader in the effort to reopen pandemic-shuttered schools, as the next education secretary.
His nomination was approved in a vote of 64 to 33.
Dr. Cardona, who was tapped by President Biden to lead the Education Department from his post as Connecticut’s education commissioner, had sailed through a confirmation hearing last month. He drew bipartisan support for his success in reopening a majority of Connecticut’s schools and for his conciliatory positions on divisive education issues.
Dr. Cardona’s personal background and career — a sharp contrast to that of his predecessor Betsy DeVos, a billionaire private-school champion — drew widespread praise.
The son of Puerto Rican parents, he grew up in public housing in Meriden, Conn., and attended public schools throughout his life. He started as a struggling English-language learner and went on to become an elementary-school teacher, an award-winning principal, an assistant superintendent in that school system and Connecticut’s first Latino commissioner of education.
Throughout his confirmation process, Dr. Cardona has elevated his identity, often switching between English and Spanish during public appearances.
“I, being bilingual and bicultural, am as American as apple pie and rice and beans,” he said during his December nomination speech when he was introduced by Mr. Biden. A group from his hometown put the quote on mugs, and it has become a fund-raiser for a local scholarship fund.
Dr. Cardona promised to help guide public schools through the worst public health crisis in a century, which has left millions of students with haphazard schooling for nearly a year and school districts reeling from academic, mental health and budgetary setbacks.
Dr. Cardona told senators last month that he would “do everything in my power to make sure that our rollout strategy for reopening schools includes communication on how to safely reopen.”
He also strongly endorsed the billions of dollars that the Biden administration is pushing to ensure schools have enough safety measures and staffing to do so. “If we really want to recover, we need to invest now or we’re going to pay later,” he said.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee advanced Dr. Cardona’s nomination on Feb. 11, with leaders of both parties expressing confidence in two areas that were challenges for Ms. DeVos: his qualifications and his willingness to work with Congress. During the hearing, he demonstrated knowledge of federal policy and the intricacies of class sizes. He also walked a fine line on issues that are dicey for both parties, including charter schools and standardized testing.
Judge Merrick B. Garland testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee at his confirmation hearing last month.Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted on Monday to recommend that the full Senate confirm Judge Merrick B. Garland as attorney general, moving forward with what is expected to be a bipartisan confirmation.
The committee voted 15 to 7 to advance Judge Garland’s nomination, with four Republicans — John Cornyn of Texas, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Charles E. Grassley of Iowa and Thom Tillis of North Carolina — joining all 11 Democrats in favor of it. (An earlier version of this post listed the incorrect state for Mr. Tillis.)
Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois and the committee’s chairman, said on Monday that Judge Garland was “dedicated to public service and advancing values that are vital to the Justice Department’s functioning: integrity, independence, fidelity to the rule of law and commitment to equal justice for all.”
Current and former department officials have expressed hope that Judge Garland, 68, can put four years of partisan rancor behind the Justice Department and lift up a demoralized work force at a time when the country faces significant domestic extremist threats and a national reckoning over civil rights. Judge Garland has vowed to restore the department’s reputation for fairness and honor its mission to bring equal justice under the law.
The department has been recovering from four years of attacks by former President Donald J. Trump, who pushed his attorneys general to serve his political and personal interests. He lavishly praised them when he felt they had done his bidding, particularly William P. Barr, who helped blunt the most serious findings of the Russia investigation and undo charges brought against Mr. Trump’s allies.
But a majority of Republicans on the committee voted against Judge Garland’s nomination, including Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ted Cruz of Texas, Josh Hawley of Missouri, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Mike Lee of Utah and Ben Sasse of Nebraska.
Mr. Cruz said that he was disappointed by the way that Judge Garland answered questions during his hearing and in his questionnaire and disapproved of the fact that he would not meet in person. Other senators were willing to meet with the judge via video to accommodate pandemic-related considerations including the judge’s age, which puts him into a higher-risk category for Covid-related health risks.
Judge Garland would take over as prosecutors and F.B.I. agents across the country are investigating the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6 by a pro-Trump mob.
Though the pace of arrests has begun to slow, the investigation has continued to reveal the depth of the extremist threat facing the country and taken on ever more thorny political dimensions. The investigation has grown closer to one of Mr. Trump’s key allies, Roger J. Stone Jr., and some rioters have said that they acted at the behest of the former president.
Judge Garland, who led the department’s investigation into the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, has vowed to confront the threat. He also made explicit the link between domestic extremism and systemic racism, noting that white supremacists have historically been the nation’s top domestic terrorist threat and continue to be.
Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat of W.Va., and Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, on their way to confirmation hearings last week.Credit…Al Drago/Getty Images
Neera Tanden, President Biden’s embattled nominee to lead the White House Office of Management and Budget, clung to her hopes of being confirmed on Monday after making what could be her last-chance appeal to win the lone Republican vote she needs to clear the Senate.
Ms. Tanden, an Obama administration veteran who heads the liberal Center for American Progress think tank, met in the afternoon at the Capitol with Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who appears to be the last potential Republican who could vote for her confirmation. After the meeting, Ms. Murkowski said she remained undecided on the nomination.
“I have some more follow-up questions,” Ms. Murkowski said, “but we had a good conversation.”
Ms. Murkowski said that she and Ms. Tanden “had a sit-down meeting, which was good. I hadn’t had a sit-down meeting in quite a while. But she was in a meeting and asked if she could come in person. So I said sure.”
Ms. Tanden has already lost the support of one Senate Democrat, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, over concerns about her past attacks on lawmakers in Twitter posts. Because the Senate is divided 50-50, she would need at least one Republican to support her nomination. But in recent days several potential swing votes have announced they would oppose her, including Senators Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine.
White House officials reiterated their support for Ms. Tanden on Monday.
“She is qualified,” Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, told reporters at a briefing. “She is prepared to lead the budget team, and we’re continuing, of course, to fight for the confirmation of every nominee that the president puts forward. We’ll see if we have 50 votes.”
Former President Donald Trump and former First Lady Melania Trump before boarding Air Force One for his last time as President on January 20, 2021.Credit…Pete Marovich for The New York Times
Former President Donald J. Trump and his wife, Melania, quietly received coronavirus vaccinations in January before leaving the White House, an adviser said on Monday.
The news came a day after Mr. Trump appeared at the CPAC political conference in Orlando, Fla., where for the first time he encouraged people to go get vaccinated.
“Everyone should go get your shot,” Mr. Trump said during the speech. When The Times asked an adviser to the former president whether he had received his, the answer was that he had, in private, a month earlier.
The secret approach by Mr. Trump came as a number of his supporters have expressed resistance to the vaccine, and as other officials have tried setting an example by getting the shot in public.
President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and former Vice President Mike Pence received vaccine shots in front of television cameras.
Mr. Trump’s concern about the vaccine has generally been about whether he is getting credit for its development while he was president. He never publicly encouraged people to take it while he was in office; the first vaccines were approved shortly after Election Day.
The adviser did not say whether Mr. Trump received both his first and second shots of the vaccine in January, or if the second one was at another time.
Mr. and Mrs. Trump were both infected with the coronavirus in the fall, and the former president was hospitalized with a severe case.
Mayorkas Vows to Replace Trump-Era Immigration PoliciesOn Monday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas discussed efforts to revert immigration policies laid out by the Trump administration, including those involving children.
We are dedicated to achieving and quite frankly, are working around the clock, to replace the cruelty of the past administration with an orderly, humane and safe immigration process. It is hard and it will take time. We are obligated to, in the service of public health, including the health of the very people who are thinking of coming, to impose the travel restrictions under the C.D.C.’s Title 42 authorities, and return them to Mexico. And we have done that. We need individuals to wait, and I will say that they will wait with a goal in mind, and that is our ability to rebuild as quickly as possible a system so that they don’t have to take the dangerous journey, and we can enable them to access humanitarian relief from their countries of origin. We are not apprehending a 9-year-old child who’s come alone, who has traversed Mexico, whose parents — whose loving parents — had sent that child alone. We’re not expelling that 9-year-old child to Mexico when that child’s origin, country of origin was Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador.
On Monday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas discussed efforts to revert immigration policies laid out by the Trump administration, including those involving children.CreditCredit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times
President Biden’s top immigration official on Monday said the government will consider allowing migrant families separated at the border under former President Donald J. Trump to remain in the United States permanently, but he stopped short of promising to give them a chance to become U.S. citizens.
“We will explore lawful pathways for them to remain in the United States, and to address the family needs,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told reporters at the White House. “We are acting as restoratively as possible.”
The statement did not satisfy lawyers for separated families who have been waging a legal battle to reunite them. Anthony D. Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, praised Mr. Mayorkas but said he did not go far enough.
“Secretary Mayorkas has to shed all the caveats and qualifications around his announcement and follow through with everything that’s necessary to right the wrong,” Mr. Romero said. “We owe them restitution. This includes a permanent pathway to citizenship, care, and resources to help them.”
The comments by Mr. Mayorkas came as Mr. Biden prepared to speak by video conference on Monday with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico, one of the unexpected, yet pivotal, drivers of Trump-era policies to seal the borders of the United States to migrants that Mr. Biden is trying to unwind.
Mr. Biden is expected to discuss the coronavirus pandemic, cracking down on drug trafficking and collaborating on economic opportunities with one of Washington’s largest trading partners, according to a senior administration official.
U.S. and Mexico ‘Are Stronger When We Stand Together,’ Biden SaysPresident Biden and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico spoke on Monday about the shared challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and immigration, noting the nations’ history of cooperation.
“Mr. President, this is what I know: The United States and Mexico are stronger when we stand together. There is a long and complicated history between our nations that haven’t always been perfect neighbors with one another. But we have seen over and over again the power and the purpose when we cooperate. And we’re safer when we work together, whether it’s addressing the challenges of our shared border or getting this pandemic under control. In the Obama-Biden administration, we made a commitment that we look at Mexico as an equal, not as somebody who is south of our border. You are our equal. And what you do in Mexico and how you succeed impacts dramatically on what the rest of the hemisphere will look like.” “It is a pleasure to greet you. It is important that we base our good relationships on constant dialogue, periodic dialogue. I know our relations in the future will be even better. We are united by 3,180 kilometers of border. But we are not only united by geography, we are also united by our economies, our trade, our culture, our history and our friendship. I would like to also thank you after the call that we have had for wanting to base our relations on respect and equality. It is important for Mexico and we must keep on cooperating for further development based on independence and autonomy, potentializing what our peoples mean to us.
President Biden and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico spoke on Monday about the shared challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and immigration, noting the nations’ history of cooperation.CreditCredit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times
The discussion, coming just days after Mr. Biden sought to repair relations in a virtual meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, will also center on efforts to control migration as the Biden administration contends with rising numbers of unaccompanied children at the southwestern border.
Mr. López Obrador is a critical partner as Mr. Biden seeks to reverse former President Donald J. Trump’s border policies and make an immigration overhaul a centerpiece of his agenda. In his remarks, Mr. Mayorkas denounced what he called “the depths of cruelty” imposed by Mr. Trump’s administration on migrants.
He said the separation of families at the border was “the most powerful and heartbreaking example of the cruelty that preceded this administration,” and he named a longtime human rights activist as the executive director of a task force aimed at making sure children are reunited with their parents.
In Mr. López Obrador, however, Mr. Biden is not dealing with yet another relieved world leader eager to rebuild relations and move on from his abrasive predecessor.
The Mexican president won the admiration of Mr. Trump for cooperating on his hard-line immigration agenda, a reversal of a campaign promise to protect migrants, made in part to avoid tariffs Mr. Trump threatened to impose. Mr. López Obrador came to appreciate the Trump administration for its eventual hands-off approach to Mexican domestic policy issues, and he was one of the last global leaders to congratulate Mr. Biden on his election victory.
Mr. Biden will not demand specific actions, according to the senior official who spoke to reporters on the condition of anonymity to discuss the meeting. It is unclear how Mr. Biden will respond to Mr. López Obrador’s recent call to create a new guest worker program for Mexicans and Central Americans in the United States.
Asked about the proposal on Monday, Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said increasing the number of visas available for guest workers would require action from Congress. The Biden administration will also not consider sharing the U.S. vaccine supply with Mexico, Ms. Psaki said.
“We’re moving ahead with a bill that probably will get no Republican votes in the Senate, but will have broad Republican support in the country,” said Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, second from left.Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times
Days after House Democrats passed President Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic stimulus plan without a single Republican vote, Senate Democrats say they are speeding ahead to do the same.
The Senate could take up the sweeping pandemic aid measure — which includes $1,400 checks for many Americans and billions of dollars for unemployment benefits and small businesses — as early as midweek, according to a senior Democratic aide.
Democrats could introduce the updated legislation in the Senate as early as Wednesday and move to proceed to a vote, sparking 20 hours of debate followed by a typically lengthy process in which Republicans will try to amend the bill and force politically difficult votes.
As Democrats rush to deliver the bill to Mr. Biden’s desk before emergency unemployment benefits expire in two weeks, Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware and a close ally of the president’s, acknowledged the lack of Republican support.
“Frankly, we’re moving ahead with a bill that probably will get no Republican votes in the Senate, but will have broad Republican support in the country,” Mr. Coons said Sunday on CNN.
More than seven in 10 Americans back Mr. Biden’s aid package, according to polling from the online research firm SurveyMonkey for The New York Times.
Early Saturday, the House passed the bill 219 to 212. But one of its provisions, an increase of the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, is in peril in the Senate, where the chamber’s top rules enforcer has said that it will need to be removed.
Democrats are debating internally how to respond. The $15 wage is a top priority of progressives but lacks the votes to pass in an evenly split Senate since two centrist Democrats — Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia — are opposed. The caucus must work out its differences quickly, because the bill is needed to extend emergency unemployment insurance programs that expire in mid-March.
Top Democrats over the weekend decided against including an amendment that would penalize corporations that pay workers less than $15 an hour, a move that could have imposed an escalating tax on the payrolls of large corporations, according to a person familiar with the discussion, who disclosed details on the condition of anonymity. The decision was reported earlier by The Washington Post.
It is unclear what other avenues remain for the current legislation, though Democratic leaders in both chambers have vowed to pursue codifying the $15 wage even if it means waiting until after the stimulus bill has passed.
Democrats are still waiting on the Senate parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, to offer guidance on whether a few other provisions, including pension funding and health care subsidies that allow laid-off workers to remain on their former employer’s health plan for some time, violate Senate rules. Republicans could also challenge certain provisions within the plan as extraneous or failing to have a substantial direct impact on the federal budget.
Republicans say they have grown frustrated by a lack of inclusion in the negotiations.
Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, one of 10 Republicans who met with Mr. Biden in January to offer an alternative $600 billion plan, said Republicans “have not been involved” in the talks for weeks.
“I listened to Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaking about how we have been listened to,” Mr. Cassidy said on CNN. “That is such a joke.”
Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced legislation on Monday that would apply a 2 percent tax to individual net worth above $50 million, and an additional 1 percent surcharge above $1 billion.Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times
Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, introduced legislation on Monday that would tax the net worth of the wealthiest people in America, a proposal aimed at persuading President Biden and other Democrats to fund sweeping new federal spending programs by taxing the richest Americans.
Ms. Warren’s wealth tax would apply a 2 percent tax to individual net worth — including the value of stocks, houses, boats and anything else a person owns, after subtracting out any debts — above $50 million. It would add an additional 1 percent surcharge for net worth above $1 billion. It is co-sponsored in the House by two Democratic representatives, Pramila Jayapal of Washington, who leads the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and Brendan F. Boyle of Pennsylvania, a moderate.
The proposal, which mirrors the plan Ms. Warren unveiled while seeking the 2020 presidential nomination, is not among the top revenue-raisers that Democratic leaders are considering to help offset Mr. Biden’s campaign proposals to spend trillions of dollars on infrastructure, education, child care, clean energy deployment, health care and other domestic initiatives. Unlike Ms. Warren, Mr. Biden pointedly did not endorse a wealth tax in the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries.
But Ms. Warren is pushing colleagues to pursue such a plan, which has gained popularity with the public as the richest Americans reap huge gains while 10 million Americans remain out of work as a result of the pandemic.
Polls have consistently shown Ms. Warren’s proposal winning the support of more than three in five Americans, including a majority of Republican voters.
“A wealth tax is popular among voters on both sides for good reason: because they understand the system is rigged to benefit the wealthy and large corporations,” Ms. Warren said. “As Congress develops additional plans to help our economy, the wealth tax should be at the top of the list to help pay for these plans because of the huge amounts of revenue it would generate.”
Mr. Biden did not propose any tax increases to offset the $1.9 trillion economic aid package that he hopes to sign later this month. Mr. Biden has said he will pay for long-term spending — as opposed to a temporary economic jolt — with tax increases on high earners and corporations.
Business groups and Republicans have already begun to raise concerns about Mr. Biden’s tax plans. Those same groups are not fans of Ms. Warren’s plan, which was a centerpiece of her 2020 Democratic presidential campaign.
Critics say the tax would be difficult for the federal government to calculate and enforce, that it would discourage investment and that it could be ruled unconstitutional by courts. Ms. Warren has amassed letters of support from constitutional scholars who say the plan would pass muster.
A memorial service for Jamal Khashoggi in Washington in 2018. A newly declassified report showed that American officials held the Saudi crown prince responsible for ordering his killing.Credit…Jim Watson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
The publisher of The Washington Post is accusing President Biden of giving Saudi Arabia a “one free murder” pass for failing to follow through on a campaign promise to make the country’s ruling royal family a “pariah” for murdering Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
In an op-ed piece published on the paper’s site Monday, Fred Ryan wrote that Mr. Biden is “about to fail” his first big foreign policy test as president by refusing to severely punish the Saudi government following the release of an intelligence report last week that implicated Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other top officials in the assassination.
Mr. Biden has sharply criticized former President Donald J. Trump for refusing to call out Saudi Arabia for the killing, and vowed to make the government “pay the price and make them, in fact, the pariah that they are” during the 2020 presidential campaign.
The Trump administration, which was close to the Saudi government, blocked public release of the report and took little action in response to the 2018 murder of Mr. Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident who campaigned for human rights and free speech.
In the wake of the report, Mr. Biden’s team announced a visa ban against 76 Saudis believed to have been involved in the plot, and imposed penalties on a close aide to Prince Mohammed, Ahmed al-Assiri, the deputy chief of Saudi intelligence.
But Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, speaking to reporters last week, suggested that the royal family, including Mr. Mohammed, would not be personally sanctioned.
“The relationship with Saudi Arabia is bigger than any one individual,” Mr. Blinken said.
The Biden administration “seems ready to move on while proposing some sanctions falling far short of honoring Biden’s campaign promise,” wrote Mr. Ryan, who was once an aide to former President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy.
“It appears as though under the Biden administration, despots who offer momentarily strategic value to the United States might be given a ‘one free murder’ pass,” he added. “Friends and foes around the world are carefully monitoring his actions, judging the strength of his convictions and calculating the circumstances where expedience may cause him to waiver and abandon our values.”
On Monday, Jen Psaki, Mr. Biden’s spokeswoman, pushed back on criticism of the administration’s response, saying that the relationship between the two countries had been recalibrated, and American officials were now taking a more critical view of the government.
Ms. Psaki did not rule out future actions targeting the royal family, but pointed out that doing so would represent a break in protocol.
“Of course, we reserve the right to take any action at a time and manner of our choosing,” she said, adding: “The United States, through Democratic and Republican presidents, has not typically sanctioned government leaders of countries where we have diplomatic relations.”
A teepee belonging to a Native tribal leader protesting a copper mine in the Oak Flat area of Arizona’s Tonto National Forest.Credit…Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times
After protests and lawsuits from Native American groups and environmentalists, the Biden administration on Monday moved to temporarily block the transfer of 2,422 acres of Forest Service land in Arizona slated to become one of the largest copper mines in the United States.
The decision by the Forest Service to withdraw a so-called environmental impact statement issued on Jan. 15 — five days before the end of the Trump administration — effectively stops the planned transfer of the Oak Flat section of the Tonto National Forest, east of Phoenix, for use as the planned Resolution Copper Mine.
The Interior Department’s own National Register of Historic Places lists the Oak Flat area, which is adjacent to San Carlos Apache Tribe land, as “a holy place and ancestral homeland to the Western Apache Indians” that is also “a venue for ongoing Apache participation in traditional social activities, and is associated with traditions rooted in the history” of the tribe.
But under legislation passed by Congress in 2014, this land was set to automatically transfer to the mining company 60 days after the environmental impact statement was issued, a step the Trump administration rushed to get done before Mr. Trump’s term ended.
Apache Stronghold, a nonprofit group run by Arizona Native American tribal members, had sued the Forest Service to attempt to block the transfer, arguing that the mine would lead to the “irreversible destruction of one of the most sacred Indigenous sites in the country.” A federal court last month denied the request by the Apache group to issue an injunction to stop the land sale although other appeals were still pending.
But on Monday, Tom Torres, the acting forest supervisor at the Tonto National Forest, announced that the Forest Service was withdrawing the environmental impact statement, effectively stopping the 60-day clock on the land transfer, saying that the Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Forest Service, directed him to take the action.
The Biden administration has said it plans to work more closely with Native American groups to get input before decisions are made that impact their land or cultural heritage.
“The department is taking this step to provide an opportunity for the agency to conduct a thorough review based on significant input received from collaborators, partners and the public since these documents were released,” Mr. Torres said in a statement issued on Monday. “The recent presidential memorandum on tribal consultation and strengthening nation-to-nation relationships counsels in favor of ensuring the Forest Service has complied with the environmental, cultural, and archaeological analyses required.”
What happens next with the project remains unclear. Mr. Torres said that the delay will last at least several months and noted that it would take an act of Congress, reversing the mandatory land sale, for the area to be permanently protected.
Under the current plan, the mine — proposed by Rio Tinto and BHP, the global mining giants based in Britain and Australia — was eventually going to cave in, as the extraction of copper would create a crater nearly two miles wide and as much as 1,100 feet deep, according to federal estimates.
Activists on Monday celebrated the decision. “This underscores yet again that the Resolution Copper project is a fatally flawed, failed experiment,” said Roger Featherstone, director of the Arizona Mining Reform Coalition, which joined in the protest effort. “It is heartening that the Forest Service has listened to the overwhelming outcry from the public.”
A spokesman for Resolution Copper, the mining company, said it was still studying the action.
“We will continue to engage in the process determined by the U.S. government and are committed to ongoing consultation with Native American Tribes and local communities,” the company said in a statement Monday.
A Capitol Police officer guarding the corridor near Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office in the Capitol.Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times
The Capitol Police union on Monday endorsed an array of security enhancements that are being recommended by retired Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré in response to the Jan. 6 assault at the Capitol, including hiring 1,000 more officers, establishing a quick reaction force for emergencies and considering options for different types of security fencing around the complex.
“I look forward to reviewing Lt. Gen. Honoré’s full recommendations when they are made available,” Gus Papathanasiou, the union’s chairman, said in a statement. “The fact we were understaffed was no secret.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi tapped General Honoré to conduct the security review in the aftermath of the mob attack. A person familiar with his recommendations said they included hiring 1,000 new officers to help provide security for members of Congress. General Honoré is also calling for more fencing for the Capitol, though it may not be permanent, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the conclusions were not finalized.
There are more than 200 vacancies on the Capitol Police force.
General Honoré also wants to establish a quick response team, most likely involving National Guard troops, to assist the Capitol Police with future emergencies.
“One of the primary challenges on Jan. 6 is that we did not have a fixed perimeter that we could easily defend,” Mr. Papathanasiou said. “The bicycle racks that were put in place did not stop anyone, and they were actually used as weapons against the officers by the insurrectionists.”
Mr. Papathanasiou said the agency needed a fixed boundary for future protests. “Whether it’s a permanent fence or temporary that can quickly be deployed is open for discussion,” he said. “However, we definitely need a solution so that Jan. 6 never happens again.”
General Honoré, who won widespread applause for his response to Hurricane Katrina, has clashed in recent weeks with Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, who has been widely criticized for leading objections about America’s elections that helped further former President Donald J. Trump’s false claims of widespread election fraud.
General Honoré wrote on Twitter on Jan. 11 that Mr. Hawley should be “run out of DC and Disbarred ASAP.” That tweet was later deleted.
Union organizers tried to talk to Amazon workers at a traffic light outside a company warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., last month. Credit…Bob Miller for The New York Times
President Biden expressed solidarity with workers attempting to unionize an Amazon facility in Alabama in a video released Sunday that emphasized his broad support of the labor movement — without explicitly backing their cause or naming the company itself.
Around 6,000 workers at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, a former steel town outside of Birmingham, are voting over the next week on whether they want to be represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.
If successful, they would be the first of Amazon’s 400,000 American workers to join a union — a landmark undertaking and early test of Mr. Biden’s campaign claim that he will be the “most pro-union president” ever.
“Workers in Alabama, and all across America, are voting on whether to organize a union in their workplace,” Mr. Biden said in a direct-to-camera address posted on the White House Twitter page, after a recent pressure campaign by pro-union groups pushing him to weigh in on the drive.
“Let me be really clear: It’s not up to me to decide whether anyone should join a union,” he said. “But let me be even more clear: It’s not up to an employer to decide that either.”
It is unusual for a president to weigh in on a labor dispute, and Mr. Biden was careful to skirt an all-out endorsement of the drive in his two-minute address. But he warned Amazon and its supporters that “there should be no intimidation, no coercion, no threats, no anti-union propaganda.”
Amazon, which has fought off attempts to unionize its American work force, has been working against the effort, summoning workers to mandatory meetings — and placing anti-union fliers in the stalls in the facility’s bathrooms.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Amazon’s chief spokesman, Jay Carney, was Mr. Biden’s press secretary during his early years as vice president and went on to become President Barack Obama’s press secretary.
More than 2,000 of the warehouse’s workers signed cards indicating interest in joining the union, meeting the threshold to hold a vote under National Labor Relations Board rules.
The site of the unionization drive is not insignificant. Alabama was a key battleground for the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, and many of the workers at the Bessemer facility are Black, a fact that Mr. Biden noted on Sunday. But Alabama is now a right-to-work state, making it harder for unions to organize or negotiate with employers — which has made it a draw for big companies, especially auto manufacturers.
The unionization drive takes place at a time of “reckoning on race,” Mr. Biden said, adding, “It reveals the deep disparities that still exist in our country.”
Former President Donald J. Trump speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Sunday in Orlando, Fla.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times
Former President Donald J. Trump, in his first public appearance since leaving the White House, mounted inaccurate attacks against his successor and revived familiar falsehoods in a speech on Sunday at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
Here’s a fact check.
WHAT MR. TRUMP SAID
“We brought illegal crossings to historic lows.”
False. Under Mr. Trump, there were 200,000 apprehensions at the southern border in the 2020 fiscal year; just over 850,000 in 2019; just under 400,000 in 2018; and about 300,000 in 2017. None of those numbers are unprecedented.
The figures for Mr. Trump’s first two years in office were on par with the numbers under President Barack Obama.
WHAT MR. TRUMP SAID
“First Fauci said you don’t need masks, no masks, no good. Then all of a sudden, now he wants double masks.”
This is misleading/exaggerated. Initial government guidance on mask-wearing was muddled.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in the early days of the pandemic that it did not recommend that the general public wear masks. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease specialist, said last March widespread mask usage could lead to shortages for health care workers, but he was “not against” the practice.
By April, Dr. Fauci and the C.D.C. had begun to encourage wearing cloth masks.
WHAT MR. TRUMP SAID
“He has effectively ordered a shutdown of ICE, halting virtually all deportations. Everyone, murderers, everybody.”
False. The Biden administration ordered a 100-day pause on deportations. It did not apply to “murderers” and everybody. In a memo in February, Immigration and Customs Enforcement said it would “focus the agency’s civil immigration enforcement and removal resources on threats to national security, border security and public safety.”
That would include anyone convicted of an aggravated felony, such as murder.
WHAT MR. TRUMP SAID
“With me at the top of the ticket, not a single Republican member of Congress lost their race for the first time in decades.”
False. While no Republican incumbent in the House lost their race to a Democrat, Republican incumbents lost two Senate seats in November while Mr. Trump was a candidate. Martha McSally of Arizona and Cory Gardner of Colorado lost their re-election bids.
Mr. Trump repeated many claims The New York Times has previously debunked:
At 1:51 p.m. on Jan. 6, a right-wing radio host named Michael D. Brown wrote on Twitter that rioters had breached the United States Capitol — and immediately speculated about who was really to blame. “Antifa or BLM or other insurgents could be doing it disguised as Trump supporters,” Mr. Brown wrote, using shorthand for Black Lives Matter. “Come on, man, have you never heard of psyops?”
Only 13,000 people follow Mr. Brown on Twitter, but his tweet caught the attention of another conservative pundit: Todd Herman, who was guest-hosting Rush Limbaugh’s national radio program. Minutes later, he repeated Mr. Brown’s baseless claim to Mr. Limbaugh’s throngs of listeners: “It’s probably not Trump supporters who would do that. Antifa, BLM, that’s what they do. Right?”
What happened over the next 12 hours illustrated the speed and the scale of a right-wing disinformation machine primed to seize on a lie that served its political interests and quickly spread it as truth to a receptive audience. The weekslong fiction about a stolen election that President Donald J. Trump pushed to his millions of supporters had set the stage for a new and equally false iteration: that left-wing agitators were responsible for the attack on the Capitol.
In fact, the rioters breaking into the citadel of American democracy that day were acolytes of Mr. Trump, intent on stopping Congress from certifying his electoral defeat. Subsequent arrests and investigations have found no evidence that people who identify with antifa, a loose collective of antifascist activists, were involved in the insurrection.
But the false claim has hardened into gospel among hard-line Trump supporters. More than half of Trump voters in a Suffolk University/USA Today poll said that the riot was “mostly an antifa-inspired attack.” At Senate hearings last week focused on the security breakdown at the Capitol, Senator Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, repeated the falsehood that “fake Trump protesters” fomented the violence.
For those who hoped Mr. Trump’s don’t-believe-your-eyes tactics might fade after his defeat, the mainstreaming of the antifa conspiracy is a sign that truth remains a fungible concept among his most ardent followers. Buoyed by a powerful right-wing media network that had just spent eight weeks advancing Mr. Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud, pro-Trump Republicans have succeeded in warping their voters’ realities, exhibiting sheer gall as they seek to minimize a violent riot perpetrated by their own supporters.