Political Updates


By Karlee Van De Venter, Arts and Features Editor

With roughly a month between the end of fall quarter and the beginning of winter quarter, a lot has gone on in the U.S. since The Easterner’s last edition. Here’s a list of news updates by day from over the break: 

December 1

  • Dr. Scott Atlas, from the White House’s COVID-19 task force, resigned from his position on the Trump administration. 
  • Attorney General William Barr said that no widespread election fraud has been found by investigations by the U.S. Justice Department. 
  • President-elect Joe Biden introduced the following six members to his economic team: Janet Yellen, Neera Tanden, Adewale Adeyemo, Cecilia Rouse and Heather Boushey. 

December 3

  • Biden appointed Brian Deese as his top economic advisor. 

December 5

  • Trump held a rally in Georgia encouraging supporters to vote in the upcoming runoff and disputing election results. He endorsed Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.

December 7

  • Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s attorney, tested positive for covid. 
  • Biden appointed Xavier Becerra to head the Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Rochelle Walensky to head the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr. Vivek Murthy as Surgeon General.

December 8

  • The House passed a $740 billion defense bill with a bipartisan majority, which includes removing the names of Confederate leaders from U.S. military bases. 
  • Biden appointed Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense, but still needs a waiver from Congress because he has not been out of service for the minimum seven years. 
  • Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, with the support of hundreds of GOP members, sued Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin for violating federal law and enabling voter fraud, and that their election results should be adjusted. 
Georgia began early voting for their election runoff and saw higher turnout than the general election.

December 9

  • Biden appoints Marcia Fudge as head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Tom Vilsack as head of the Department of Agriculture. 
  • The House passed a $900 billion stimulus package.

December 11

  • Biden appointed Denis McDonough as head of the Department of Veterans Affairs and Susan Rice as head of the Domestic Policy Council. 
  • The Senate passed the $740 billion defense bill. 
  • The CDC approves the Pfizer vaccine, with plans to distribute immediately, 3 million doses within a week and 100 million doses by March 2021. Doses would be distributed in waves and given to high priority groups first, like frontline health care workers. 
  • The Supreme Court dismissed the Texas lawsuit against Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. 

December 14

  • Georgia began early voting for their election runoff and saw higher turnout than the general election. 
  • Members of the electoral college met across the country to finalize states’ votes and formally designate Biden as the winner of the election.

December 15

  • Biden appointed Gina McCarthy as White House Climate Coordinator, Jennifer Granholm the head of the Energy Department, and Pete Buttigieg as the head of the Transportation Department.
  • Soon retiring Michigan Representative Paul Mitchell left the Republican Party to serve the rest of his term as Independent after Trump’s election response and the legislators that followed. 

December 17

  • Vice President Mike Pence was vaccinated on live broadcast. 
  • The CDC approved the Moderna vaccine, which is more accessible than the Pfizer vaccine since it does not need to be held at extreme temperatures.

December 18

  • Biden appointed Deb Haaland as head of the Interior Department and Michael Regan as head of the Environmental Protection Agency. 

December 20

  • The Senate passed the $900 billion stimulus package offering a one-time payment of $600 to some citizens. 
Vice president Mike Pence (left) and Kamala Harris (right).

December 21

  • A new strain of COVID-19 was identified in London and found to be more easily spread. 
  • Joe and Dr. Jill Biden were vaccinated on live broadcast.
  • Distribution of the Moderna vaccine began. 

December 22

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci was vaccinated on live broadcast.
  • Trump posted a video regarding the $900 billion stimulus package, which now must be signed by him to move forward in the process. Along with other ideas, Trump suggested the stimulus checks be increased to $2,000, and that the bill be amended.
  • Trump issued 26 pardons and 3 commutations. 
  • Trump vetoed the $740 billion defense bill. 
  • Biden appointed Miguel Cardona as the head of the Department of Education. 

December 25

  •  An explosion in Nashville was discovered to be from a suicide bomber. 

December 27

  • Trump signed the $900 billion stimulus package, despite the lack of changes made and avoided a government shutdown. 

December 28

  • The House passed a bipartisan bill to increase stimulus checks to $2,000. 
  • The House rejected Trump’s previous veto of the $740 billion defense bill, his first veto override. 

December 29

  • Colorado reported the first case in the U.S. of the new strain of COVID-19.
  • Distribution of $600 stimulus checks to some American citizens began. 
  • Mitch McConnell denies $2,000 stimulus checks, along with many legislators who publicly supported the bill.