A Week in Politics: February 1-7, 2021

As we all know, this past week has been monumental in the political aspect, with the Senate Democrats passing the $1.9 trillion stimulus check for COVID-19 fallout, and the development of the Biden administration’s agenda as COVID-19 cases and the presence of its variants continue to rise despite the release and nationwide administration of the vaccine. 

Monday, February 1, 2021

  • A group of 10 GOP senators, including Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romeny, meet with President Biden to negotiate the size of the sixth COVID-19 stimulus package. No concrete resolution is reached, but the senators praise President Biden on a cordial and thoughtful meeting. 
  • Biden continues to support his $1.9 trillion COVID stimulus package. The administration and House and Senate Democrats believe that the GOP’s counterproposal of a $600 billion package is too small.
  • After the collapse of his impeachment legal defense team, the office of Former President Trump announces Bruce L. Castor Jr. and David Schoen as the new heads of the team. The breakdown of Trump’s former legal team is attributed to the difference in defense strategy between Trump and his lawyers. Trump wants to focus the defense on the election fraud allegations, while his former lawyers wanted to focus on the constitutionality of impeaching a president no longer in office.
  • The National League of Democracy in Myanmar is deposed by a military coup d’etat, with the Myanmar military Tatmadaw taking control of the nation after declaring the 2020 Myanmar general elections as fraudulent. They detain Aung San Suu Kyi, the elected State Counsellor of Myanmar. This marks the end of a brief transitionary but hopeful period of democracy in Myanmar from 2015-2021.
  • More than 5,450 Russians protesting the detainment of politician, Putin critic, and activist Alexei Navalny continue to be detained all over Russia. 1,450 people are detained in Moscow alone.
  • 39,000 new COVID cases are diagnosed in Texas, a drastic jump from the 12,400 new cases on January 31.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

  • President Biden signs three executive orders to disassemble Former President Trump’s anti-immigration agenda. His orders will create a task force headed by the the DoHS (Department of Homeland Security) secretary to reunite families separated due to Trump’s policies. They will provide support to Central and Latin America to reduce corruption and reinvent the immigration process to ease the clot of migrants at the US-Mexico border. The immigration integration system will also be changed in order to promote inclusion and make it easier for immigrants to get legal status.
  • The Biden administration also makes plans to reactivate a Carrizo Springs, Texas facility that will be used to house immigrant children who have been separated from their families.
  • Vice President Kamala Harris swears in Alejandro Mayorkas as the Secretary of Homeland Security after a 56-43 vote in the Senate for his confirmation. He makes history as the first Latino and immigrant to hold this position.
  • The Biden administration releases $1.3 billion to Puerto Rico for Hurricane Maria, a natural disaster that devastated Puerto Rico in late 2017.
  • Alexei Navalny, Russian politician, Putin critic, activist, and opposition leader is charged for 2 years in prison for violation of his parole.
  • Captain Tom Moore, the British WWII veteran who fundraised almost $45 million for COVID-19 relief, passes away from COVID-19.
  • The State Department of the United States formally declares the situation in Myanmar, which began February 1, as a coup.
  • Two FBI agents are killed and three are injured while they investigate violent crimes against children in Sunrise, Florida.
  • Just over 18,000 new COVID cases are discovered in Texas, a steep drop from yesterday’s 39,000.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

  • Vice President Kamala Harris swears in Pete Buttigieg, former Democratic presidential candidate and former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, as the Secretary of Transportation after he was confirmed by the Senate on February 2. He makes history as the first out LGBTQ+ Cabinet secretary.
  • Officer Brian Sicknick, who passed away on January 7 from injuries sustained at the U.S. Capitol mob storming on January 6, is honored at the White House in a ceremony.
  • The United States Justice Department charges 3 people involved in the U.S. Capitol mob storming with conspiracy and mob leading.
  • In Ohio, Adam Coy, a former police officer, is charged by the attorney general of Ohio for the December shooting of Andre Hill, an African-American man.
  • Just over 18,000 new COVID cases are diagnosed in Texas, slightly less than yesterday’s new case count.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

  • President Biden announces that Trump-era troop withdrawals in Germany will be stopped and that the U.S. will put more diplomatic effort into ending the ongoing Yemeni Civil War.
  • New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader, and Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader, negotiate a deal to share power in the Senate following the 2020 elections.
  • President Biden freezes funding for Saudi-led offensive operations in Yemen.
  • Johnson & Johnson asks for federal emergency approval of their COVID-19 vaccine. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is a single shot, with a 66% effectiveness rate.
  • Canada declares the U.S. far-right, neo-fascist, chauvinist, white nationalist group the Proud Boys as a terrorist organization.
  • Myanmar’s military orders telecom providers in Myanmar to temporarily block Facebook in the country.
  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pushes President Biden to approve the proposal for forgiveness of $50,000 worth of student loan debt.
  • Smartmatic, an election technology company, sues Fox News, three Fox News anchors, Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs, and Jeanine Pirro, as well as Rudolph Giuliani and Sidney Powell. Smartmatic seeks about $2.7 billion in damages against the aforementioned people for defamation and for promoting the narrative that the 2020 elections were fraudulent.
  • The United States exceeds 450K in COVID-19 deaths.
  • 13,600 new COVID cases are diagnosed in Texas, a slight decrease from yesterday’s just over 18,000.

Friday, February 5, 2021

  • The Senate passes a resolution to fast-track Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package by 51-50, followed by the House passage of the resolution with 219-209.
  • The House votes to remove Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee assignments, the education and budget committees. Rep. Greene has previously promoted unfounded QAnon conspiracy theories and encouraged violence against Democrats on her social media, which the House has believed to propagate the Capitol attacks on January 6, 2021. 
  • President Biden promises to raise the U.S. refugee cap to 125,000 refugees annually from the historic low of 15,000 that Former President Trump left office with.
  • 14,000 new COVID cases are diagnosed in Texas, a slight decrease from yesterday’s just over 18,000.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

  • In response to the Smartmatic claims, Lou Dobbs’ show on Fox Business is canceled because of Dobbs’ continued false promotion that the 2020 presidential elections were fraudulent. 
  • The B.1.1.7 variant of the coronavirus continues to spread across the nation, doubling in cases every week and a half, with 610 cases already in the U.S. It is estimated that this variant is 35-45% more transmissible than the original COVID-19 strain that emerged in Wuhan, China in late 2019.
  • Thousands of people in Yangon, Myanmar, protest the military coup as the military government places a blockade on internet access.