There was some … tension at House Republicans’ press conference on Capitol Hill this morning.
House minority leader Kevin McCarthy was asked whether he believed Donald Trump should be speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference this weekend.
“Yes, he should,” McCarthy replied.
But a reporter then asked the same question to congresswoman Liz Cheney, the chairwoman of the House Republican conference.
Cheney has been a vocal critic of Trump over his role in inciting the Capitol insurrection, and she voted in favor of his impeachment last month.
“That’s up to CPAC,” Cheney told reporters. She added, “I don’t believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country.”
Cheney’s comments were met with a shake of the head from House minority whip Steve Scalise. After a noticeable pause, McCarthy told reporters, “On that high note, thank you very much.”
The Guardian’s Sam Levine reports:
Louis DeJoy, the embattled postmaster general, apologized for delays in service over the holiday season during testimony before the House oversight committee on Wednesday.
“We fell far short of meeting our service targets. Too many Americans were left waiting weeks for important deliveries of mail and packages,” he said in his opening statement.
“This is unacceptable, and I apologize to those customers who felt the impact of our delays.”
DeJoy, a logistics executive without any prior USPS experience, has come under heavy scrutiny since taking control of the postal service last year. There were severe mail delays across the United States last year, a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and poorly-executed changes implemented by DeJoy, including an effort to get trucks to leave on time.
Joe Biden cannot fire DeJoy directly, but can fill a majority of the vacancies on the USPS board of governors, the body that could fire DeJoy. Democrats are calling on Biden to move swiftly to do that.
The post office has long been in financial peril and DeJoy is considering a plan to slow down some types of first class mail and raise rates, according to the Washington Post. Democrats in Congress are proposing legislation that would eliminate a requirement that USPS pre-fund pension obligations, which has been a severe financial burden on the agency, and offer other financial assistance, the Washington Post reports.
Jeff Zients said it will cost the federal government $86m to distribute more than 25m masks to vulnerable communities.
The coordinator of the White House coronavirus response team said the Biden administration considered this initiative so crucial because many Americans still do not have access to masks, and this will help ensure a more equitable pandemic response.
Dr Anthony Fauci delivered a presentation on long-term symptoms among coronavirus patients during the press conference today.
Fauci noted that studies have indicated some hospitalized coronavirus patients have reported symptoms – including fatigue, “brain fog” and gastrointestinal issues – for up to nine months after they returned home.
The National Institutes of Health has received funding to study what has come to be known as “long-haul syndrome”. Yesterday, the NIH made the first in a series of research opportunity announcements related to long-term coronavirus symptoms.
At the press briefing, Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response team…