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A hopeful sign for Covid-19 stimulus relief


What changed? A vaccine and President-elect Joe Biden, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put it to reporters on Friday morning, another signal that she is now willing to negotiate over a stimulus bill previously too small to be considered.

With the pandemic tightening its grip and a bleak winter on the horizon, the progress has happened not a moment too soon.

Largely silent on the pandemic, President Donald Trump continues to falsely undermine the results of November’s election. Those claims have also helped him raise more than $200 million since Election Day for his newly created leadership PAC.
Yet Trump has proceeded with a hallmark of outgoing presidents: pardon conversations. Trump has also discussed preemptive pardons for his children and close advisers in an effort to insulate them from legal pursuits by the Biden Justice Department.

Biden has yet to name a pick for the Justice Department but he has spent the week announcing other Cabinet officials for his incoming administration. He’s feeling pressure from groups looking for representation from those typically underrepresented in the highest echelons of government — after all, Biden promised Cabinet picks that “look like the country.”

As more Trump officials acknowledge the reality that Biden is the President-elect (even if they don’t do so publicly), Trump is turning to another race. Georgia’s US Senate runoffs will affect control of the Senate, and after his VP Mike Pence’s visit Friday, Trump himself is headed there Saturday to stump for the Republicans on the ballot. But that’s not without its own set of headaches for local officials.

The Point: It’s looking more likely than ever that Congress could deliver a year-end deal on coronavirus relief.


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