5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Biden says U.S. will have enough COVID-19 vaccines for all adults by May

  • Texas, Mississippi to lift mask mandates, allow all businesses to fully reopen next week

  • Watchdog: Ex-White House doctor Ronny Jackson harassed subordinates, drank on duty

  • White House withdraws nomination of Neera Tanden as OMB chief

  • Senate confirms Gina Raimondo as commerce secretary

President Biden announced on Tuesday that he anticipates the U.S. will have enough supply of COVID-19 vaccine to inoculate every American adult by the end of May. The timeline is shortened from the administration's previous pledge to have enough doses for every adult by the end of July. However, it's not clear that every U.S. adult who wants a coronavirus vaccine will be able to actually get a shot that soon — in addition to supply, the vaccine rollout has also suffered from a lack of resources to increase the number of vaccinators and vaccination sites. Biden directed states to start vaccinating all teachers and school employees by the end of March. The increased supply comes as a result of an agreement by drug maker Merck to produce the newly-authorized Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Source: Stat News

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced Tuesday that effective next Wednesday, "all businesses of any type" in the state will be allowed to fully reopen. Additionally, he's ending the statewide mask mandate. Coronavirus cases have receded across the country over the last several weeks, but it's unclear if that decline is now plateauing. Relatedly, Houston, Texas is the one city in the United States to have reported finding at least one case of every known variant of the coronavirus, which are believed to be more transmissible. Texas is also lagging behind in vaccinating its population, which is the second largest in the nation. Only Utah and Georgia have slower per capita vaccination rates. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) also announced Tuesday that businesses can operate at full capacity and county mask mandates will be lifted starting Wednesday.

Source: The Recount

The Department of Defense inspector general has issued a review of the time Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) spent as physician to the president, finding that Jackson made inappropriate comments about a female subordinate and drank alcohol while on trips with the president, violating policy. CNN obtained a copy of the report on Tuesday, a day before its expected release. The investigation into Jackson, who served as the top White House doctor during the Obama and Trump administrations, began in 2018, before he was elected to Congress. A majority of the witnesses who worked with Jackson said they "personally experienced, saw, or heard about him yelling, screaming, cursing, or belittling subordinates," the report says, and several said he drank alcohol while on two overseas trips with former President Barack Obama. On one trip, witnesses said Jackson was intoxicated and made lewd comments about a female subordinate. Jackson told CNN the report is politically motivated and he denied "any allegation that I consumed alcohol while on duty."

Source: CNN

The White House announced on Tuesday evening it withdrew the nomination of Neera Tanden as director of the Office of Management and Budget. In a statement, President Biden said he accepted Tanden's request to have her name withdrawn, adding that he has "the utmost respect for her record of accomplishment, her experience, and her counsel, and I look forward to having her serve in a role in my administration. She will bring valuable perspective and insight to our work." Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, faced criticism from Republican senators who accused her of having made "thousands of negative public statements" about people like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.). After Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) announced last month that he would not vote to confirm Tanden, she needed the support of at least one Republican in order to win confirmation.

Source: The Washington Post

The Senate on Tuesday voted 84-15 to confirm Gina Raimondo as secretary of commerce. In this role, Raimondo will work to promote American business and industries and ensure fair trade. The Commerce Department is also home to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Raimondo could play a big role in crafting the Biden administration's response to climate change. Raimondo was the first woman to serve as the governor of Rhode Island, and after the confirmation vote, sent her letter of resignation to Lt. Gov. Daniel McKee (D), who will be sworn in on Tuesday evening as the state's 76th governor. Being governor was "the honor of my lifetime," Raimondo said, and it was "the people of Rhode Island that inspired me and kept me going."

Source: Politico