Joe Biden became president-elect this weekend after he won Pennsylvania’s electoral college votes. President Trump has yet to concede. The Biden-Harris transition team built out its website over the weekend, reiterating its four top priorities: COVID-19 response, economic recovery, racial equity, and climate change.
The Senate is currently tied at 48-48. Races in North Carolina and Alaska are still uncalled, but the Republican incumbents currently hold leads. Democrats would then require flipping both Georgia Senate seats in Jan. 5 runoff elections and using Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris as the chamber’s tie-breaking vote to win control of the Senate. This scenario is seen as unlikely.
COVID-19 Advisory Board
President-elect Joe Biden named 13 health experts to his Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board on Monday.
Dr. David Kessler
Dr. Vivek Murthy
Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith
Dr. Luciana Borio
Dr. Rick Bright
Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel
Dr. Atul Gawande
Dr. Celine Gounder
Dr. Julie Morita
Dr. Michael Osterholm
Ms. Loyce Pace
Dr. Robert Rodriguez
Dr. Eric Goosby
For more information on the members, you can read the Biden-Harris transition announcement.
The Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE prevented more than 90% of symptomatic infections. The findings are based on an interim analysis conducted after 94 participants, split between those who got a placebo and those who were vaccinated, contracted Covid-19. The trial will continue until 164 cases have occurred. If the data hold up and a key safety readout that Pfizer expects in about a week also looks good, they will apply for a quick approval of the vaccine from the FDA.
Senate appropriators will release all 12 of their spending bills tomorrow morning. Lawmakers have to fund the government by Dec. 11 to avoid a shutdown, and Congressional leaders have said they want a full omnibus spending deal, not another stopgap measure.
National Defense Bill
The leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees are planning to meet this week to discuss the annual defense authorization. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith expects Congress to consider a compromise measure between the House and Senate versions sometime at the beginning of December.
COVID-19 Funding Package
Next steps on a COVID-19 response package are still up in the air. President Donald Trump last month pledged a large post-election bill, but he may be more hesitant to act given the outcome of the election. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he wanted to see a targeted bill, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants something more comprehensive. Conversations may pickup with the Senate back this week but could also be delayed until President-elect Biden takes office in January.