USA TODAY’s coverage of the 2020 election and President-elect Joe Biden’s transition continues this week as he rolls out his picks for top jobs in his administration and states continue to certify their vote counts.
President Donald Trump has cleared the way for Biden’s team to use federal resources and get briefings during the transition, although Trump has yet to formally concede the race.
Be sure to refresh this page often to get the latest information on the election and the transition.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was backing down from months-long demands for trillions in new coronavirus relief to support a $900 billion bipartisan deal because of two things: Joe Biden was elected president and a COVID-19 vaccine is on the way.
“That is a total game changer. A new president and a vaccine,” Pelosi said, adding that some of her objections to the bill are OK because another batch of relief will come once Biden takes office. “We have a new president, a president who recognizes that we need to depend on science to stop the virus.”
The California Democrat added that she and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have had discussions and both support adding a relief package to a must-pass government spending bill, though she noted work needs to be done to come to agreements on both COVID-19 relief and certain provisions in a spending bill.
Time is of the essence, though. The government is set to shut down Dec. 11 if Congress does not pass a spending bill that President Donald Trump will sign and the House is only scheduled to be in session for one more week.
“There is momentum,” Pelosi said, adding that Congress must pass more aid. “We need to do it to save lives and livelihood with the hope that much more help is on the way.”
– Christal Hayes
President-elect Joe Biden on Friday said his administration would be “the most pro-equality administration in history” as he called for a “new era of LGBTQ rights.”
Biden’s comments to the 2020 International LGBTQ Leaders Conference came while honoring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for receiving the LGBTQ Victory Institute’s History Maker Award. He recorded his statement for a panel marking the 10-year anniversary of repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy about sexual orientation for serving in the U.S. military.
Biden called it an honor for him and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to have campaigned with a record number of LGBTQ candidates.
“It’s an honor to be an ally,” Biden said. “Vice President-elect Harris and I are committed to being the most pro-equality administration in history. But we can’t do it without you and we can’t do it without my dear friend Nancy Pelosi.”
Biden caused a stir as vice president when he supported same-sex marriage in May 2012 before President Barack Obama. The Supreme Court later decided in June 2015 that states must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and recognize marriages from other jurisdictions.
“I can’t wait to work together again to continue to fight for full equality and to usher in a new era of LGBTQ rights,” Biden told the group Friday.
– Bart Jansen
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and a leader in the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, will join President-elect Joe Biden’s administration.
Biden told CNN on Thursday that he asked Fauci to become his chief medical adviser and part of his COVID-19 response team.
“I asked him to stay on the exact same role he’s had for the past several presidents, and I asked him to be a chief medical adviser for me as well, and be part of the COVID team,” Biden said.
“Oh, absolutely. I said yes right on the spot,” Fauci told NBC’s “Today” on Friday when asked if he’d taken the role.
Ron Klain, Biden’s incoming White House chief of staff, praised Fauci in a tweet.
“There are few public servants in our history who have served as long and as well and with as much distinction at (sic) Dr. Tony Fauci. It will be a great honor to work with him again,” he wrote.
– Bart Jansen and Sean Rossman
The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives is set to vote on marijuana legalization at the federal level Friday, the first time either chamber of Congress has voted on the matter.
The bill is likely to pass the chamber, but the Republican-controlled Senate is unlikely to take up the legislation in the last two weeks Congress is in session this year.
The measure, sponsored by Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., would remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances and expunge some marijuana-related criminal records. It would still be up to states to pass their own regulations on the sale of marijuana.
Nadler told USA TODAY in September the vote on the bill would be a “historic vote” as the federal government put an end to its “40-year, very misguided crusade” against marijuana.
– Nicholas Wu
Vice President Mike Pence returns Friday to Georgia, when he’ll stump for Republicans seeking reelection in the highly watched Senate run-off races there.
Pence will participate in a 3 p.m. EST rally in Savannah. The vice president has campaigned for Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, who face Democratic opponents Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff on Jan. 5. The races have national significance because if Democrats manage to flip both seats, the Senate would then be split 50-50, giving Vice President-elect Kamala Harris the deciding vote in the chamber.
Pence also will visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta to lead a roundtable on the COVID-19 vaccine.
– Sean Rossman
President-elect Joe Biden had a big Election Day in New York. In the final tally, his victory got even larger over President Donald Trump.
The former Democratic vice president picked up 1.5 million additional votes when all the absentee ballots were tallied and final counting was finished.
It ended with Biden getting about 5.2 million votes to 3.2 million votes for Trump, a victory of 60.4% to 37.5%, according to the certified tally approved Thursday by the state Board of Elections.
Biden’s victory in New York bested the nearly 60% of the vote that Democrat Hillary Clinton garnered four years ago against Trump, the native New Yorker, and helped Democrats down ballot in key state Senate races.
Due to a surge in absentee voting because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Biden’s lead swelled in New York, as it had in many states. Biden won the popular vote by more than 7 million votes, according to national totals updated Thursday.
– Joseph Spector (New York State Team – USA TODAY Network)