Texas Gov. Greg Abbott lifts mandate, opens businesses
Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced he is issuing an executive order lifting the mask mandate in Texas at an event in Lubbock yesterday, according to CNN.
Abbott also announced that starting March 10, all businesses are allowed to open at 100% capacity.
While health experts worry the new executive order will cause another rise in cases, Abbott said Texans have “mastered the daily habits to avoid getting COVID.”
Many disagree with Abbott’s decision.
In an official statement, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said, “Every time public health measures have been pulled back, we’ve seen a spike in hospitalizations.”
Abbott’s executive order also addresses how county judges should handle the situation if COVID-19 worsens in their communities, but there will be no penalties for people who do not wear masks and a judge cannot put anyone in jail if they refuse to follow COVID-19 orders.
Biden announces there should be enough vaccines for all adults by May
President Joe Biden announced there will be enough COVID-19 vaccines for all adults in the U.S. by the end of May, according to the Associated Press.
Officials have said although more vaccines are being produced and delivered, it may take until the summer for all Americans to be vaccinated based on the pace of delivery rollouts and the willingness of citizens to get vaccinated.
Pharmacies will receive more than 800,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines this week in addition to the 2.4 million Pfizer and Moderna vaccines they will already be receiving.
Biden has also begun pushing states to get teachers vaccinated by the end of March to hasten school openings.
“Let’s treat in-person learning as the essential service that it is,” Biden said.
Neera Tanden withdraws nomination to be director of budget office
The White House pulled its nomination to make Neera Tanden director of President Biden’s budget office due to not being able to defeat bipartisan congressional opposition, according to the New York Times.
Biden released a statement saying Tanden requested to be withdrawn from nomination.
“I have the utmost respect for her record of accomplishment, her experience and her counsel,” Biden said.
Biden also committed to finding another role in his administration for her.
Biden’s pick surprised many in both parties due to Tanden’s previous work with Hillary Clinton during her 2016 presidential campaign and her bipartisan criticism of certain legislators.
Tanden’s chances at gaining support from most of the senators lessened after hearings held to speak about some of Tanden’s social media posts.
“I believe her overtly partisan statements will have a toxic and detrimental impact on the important working relationship between members of Congress and the next director of the Office of Management and Budget,” West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin said prior to the withdrawal.
Following Tanden’s withdrawal from the nomination, officials are now expecting Biden to nominate Shalanda Young, who previously served as the staff director of the House Appropriations Committee.
No evidence of ANTIFA at Capitol assault
FBI Director Christopher Wray testified in front of Congress, expressing distress over the events of Jan. 6.
“That attack, that siege was criminal behavior, plain and simple and his behavior that we, the FBI, view as domestic terrorism,” Wray said according to ABC News.
Wray said the bureau has arrested more than 270 suspects that were involved in the insurrection and the majority could be labeled as “militia violent extremists.” Currently, there is currently no proof that any of them were ANTIFA members.
When Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar asked Wray if he believed the FBI could have done more prior to the attack, Wray answered, “I do not consider what happened on Jan. 6 to be an acceptable result, and that’s why we’re looking so hard at figuring out how the process can be improved.”