US Domestic News Roundup: Rejecting Trump veto, Republican-led Senate; US distributes over 13.07 million doses and more
U.S. Senator Cruz leads long-shot Republican bid to overturn Biden's victory U.S. Senator Ted Cruz on Saturday said he will spearhead a drive by nearly a dozen Republican senators to challenge President-elect Joe Biden’s victory when Electoral College results are tallied in Congress on Jan. 6 – a largely symbolic move that has virtually no chance of preventing Biden from taking office.Devdiscourse News Desk | Washington DC | Updated: 03-01-2021 18:43 IST | Created: 03-01-2021 18:30 IST
Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.
Rejecting Trump veto, Republican-led Senate backs defense bill
President Donald Trump suffered a stinging rebuke in the U.S. Senate on Friday when fellow Republicans joined Democrats to override a presidential veto for the first time in his tenure, pushing through a defense policy bill he opposed just weeks before he leaves office. Meeting in a rare New Year's Day session, senators voted 81-13 to secure the two-thirds majority needed to override the veto.
U.S. distributes over 13.07 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines; 4.2 million administered -CDC
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it had administered 4,225,756 first doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Saturday morning and distributed 13,071,925 doses. The tally of vaccine doses distributed and the number of people who received the first dose are for both Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, vaccines as of 9:00 a.m. ET on Saturday, the agency said.
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz on Saturday said he will spearhead a drive by nearly a dozen Republican senators to challenge President-elect Joe Biden's victory when Electoral College results are tallied in Congress on Jan. 6 – a largely symbolic move that has virtually no chance of preventing Biden from taking office. Cruz's effort is in defiance of Senate Republican leaders, who have argued that the Senate's role in certifying the election is largely ceremonial and had been looking to avoid an extended debate on the floor about the outcome.
U.S. Senate control, and Biden's agenda, at stake as Georgia runoff elections loom
Control of the U.S. Senate – and with it, the likely fate of President-elect Joe Biden's legislative agenda – will be on the ballot on Tuesday when voters in Georgia decide twin runoff elections. The high-stakes campaign that has unfolded since Nov. 3, when Biden defeated President Donald Trump in the presidential election, has obliterated spending records and spurred unprecedented turnout. Political groups have flooded the southern state with a tsunami of television advertising.
Romney urges sweeping vaccine plan as U.S. surpasses 20 million COVID-19 cases
U.S. Senator Mitt Romney on Friday urged the U.S. government to immediately enlist veterinarians, combat medics and others in an all-out national campaign to administer coronavirus vaccinations and slow a surging rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths. The Utah Republican, who ran unsuccessfully for president as his party's nominee in 2012, called for greater action as the Trump administration fell far short of its goal of vaccinating 20 million Americans with a first of two required doses by the end of 2020.
A record three million early votes cast in Georgia's U.S. Senate runoff races
A record 3 million early votes have been cast in the two Georgia runoff elections that next week will decide which party controls the U.S. Senate, according to a final tally released on Friday. The turnout figures, compiled by the University of Florida's U.S. Elections Project, indicate strong voter interest in Tuesday's elections that pit incumbent Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler against Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.
Pfizer and BioNTech to offer COVID vaccine to volunteers who got placebo
Pfizer Inc and its partner BioNTech Se plan to give volunteers who received a placebo in its COVID-19 vaccine trial an option to receive a first dose of the vaccine by March 1, 2021, while staying within the study. The trial's Vaccine Transition Option allows all participants aged 16 or older the choice to discover whether they were given the placebo, "and for participants who learn they received the placebo, to have the option to receive the investigational vaccine while staying in the study," the companies said on their website https://www.covidvaccinestudy.com/participants for trial participants.
U.S. COVID-19 cases surpass 20 million as deaths mount
U.S. coronavirus cases crossed the 20 million mark on Friday as officials seek to speed up vaccinations and a more infectious variant surfaces in Colorado, California and Florida. The United States has seen a spike in number of daily COVID-19 fatalities since Thanksgiving with 78,000 lives lost in December. A total of 345,000 have died of COVID-19, or one out of every 950 U.S. residents, since the virus first emerged in China late in 2019. (Graphic: https://tmsnrt.rs/34pvUyi)
U.S. appeals court rejects lawmaker's bid to have Pence overturn Biden's win
A federal appeals court on Saturday rejected a Republican congressman's bid to allow Vice President Mike Pence to overturn President-elect Joe Biden's Nov. 3 election victory in favor of President Donald Trump. In a brief order, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal judge's decision on Friday to toss U.S. Representative Louie Gohmert's lawsuit, which had argued that Pence had the power to invalidate Biden's win when Congress meets to certify the results on Wednesday.
U.S. cities, left behind in COVID-19 aid, look for lifeline in
Biden era In Washington's months-long political slugfest over who should get aid to counter the financial damage from the COVID-19 pandemic, there was at least one clear loser: local government.
In the midst of cutbacks in workforce and emergency services and growing poverty, U.S. cities, especially the smaller ones, are hoping the next round of stimulus includes them and that President-elect Joe Biden advocates for them when he takes office on Jan. 20.
(With inputs from agencies.)