Here is a summary of the top 5 political issues making headlines today.
1. Biden calls Trump’s resistance to results an embarrassment
Calling U.S. President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede the November 3rd election an embarrassment, President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday said that Trump’s behavior had no bearing on his transition preparations.
“I just think it’s an embarrassment, quite frankly,” Biden said. “How can I say this tactfully? I think it will not help the president’s legacy.”
Biden won all four states on his way to beating Trump by nearly five million votes in the national count and picking up more than the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency.
On Tuesday, Biden spoke to leaders of the United Kingdom, Germany, France and other European nations who congratulated him on his victory.
“I know from my discussions with foreign leaders thus far that they are hopeful that the United States’ democratic institutions are viewed once again as being strong and enduring,” Biden said. “But I think at the end of the day, it’s going to all come to fruition on January 20 and between now and then, the hope and expectation is that the American people do understand that there has been a transition, even among the people who voted for the president.”
b. No modern presidential candidate has refused to concede. Here’s why that matters. – National Geographic
2. Biden highlights stakes as court hears Obamacare case
While the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in a case that challenges the Affordable Care Act, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden said to undo the landmark healthcare legislation would be “simply cruel and needlessly divisive.”
The Trump administration is arguing that the law often referred to as Obamacare should be declared unconstitutional.
“Let’s be absolutely clear about what’s at stake: The consequences of the Trump administration’s argument are not academic or an abstraction. For many Americans, they are a matter of life and death, in a literal sense,” Biden said in a speech in Wilmington, Delaware. “This isn’t hyperbole. It’s real — as real as it gets,” he said.
“Two key members of the court — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh — said that Congress’s decision in 2017 to zero-out the penalty for not buying health insurance did not indicate a desire to kill the entire law,” The Washington Post reported.
The justices are expected to take initial votes on the case at their Friday conference though a decision isn’t expected until the first half of 2021.
b. Six ways Trump has sabotaged the Affordable Care Act – Brookings
3. McConnell, Schumer to continue as party leaders in Senate
The next Congress will see no changes at the top in the U.S. Senate as both Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York were reelected Tuesday by their fellow party members to be their leaders.
The question still in doubt is which man will be the majority leader and wield the most power and set the agenda.
And a contested seat in Alaska is likely to go to the Republican candidate but votes are still being counted. A win there would give the Republicans 50 seats in the chamber.
The two Senate races in Georgia are headed for a January 5 runoff.
No Georgian Democrat has been elected senator in 20 years. As much as $500 million could be spent on the two races, one strategist said.
With the Senate’s two independents caucusing with the Democrats, if they win both Georgia seats, there could be a 50-50 split in the Senate.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would then cast the deciding vote on any legislation.
“Now we take Georgia, and then we change America,” Schumer told a crowd celebrating Joe Biden’s victory on Saturday in Brooklyn.
4. Even White House budget office behaving as if Biden won
Other than U.S. President Donald Trump falsely claiming he won reelection, the biggest non-believer at this point of Joe Biden’s win in terms of what it deals with — trillions of dollars — might just be the White House budget office,
It has instructed federal agencies to continue preparing the administration’s budget proposal for the next fiscal year — from Oct. 1, 2021, through Sept. 30, 2022 — according to a report by The Washington Post.
President-elect Joe Biden will be in office during that time.
One administration official involved in the new budget process told The Post: “They’re pretending nothing happened, we’re all supposed to pretend this is normal, and do all this work, while we know we’re just going to have to throw it away.”
On Monday, the White House had told senior government officials to block cooperation with Biden’s transition team.
5. Champ, Major making a move to the White House
Expect to hear the names Champ and Major expressed with much affection in a Biden White House.
President-elect Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will be bringing along their two German Shepherds when they move in.
Champ has been part of the Biden family since late 2008, when he was bought in Pennsylvania as a three-month-old pup.
The Bidens adopted Major in November 2018 from the Delaware Humane Association after fostering him for about eight months, London’s The Guardian reported.
During the presidential campaign, The Union Leader of New Hampshire asked the Democratic candidates why their pets were important to them.
“Dogs remind you to live in the present,” Biden said. “They love unconditionally and they savor every moment with you. When I’m with Champ and Major, I get to live in the ‘now’ for a moment with them, enjoy the simple act of throwing a ball around or taking a walk.”
Donald Trump was the first president since 1897 to not have a pet while in office.
b. Presidential pets, ranked – Mashable