Jill Biden spoke at Joint Base Langley-Eustis before Joe Biden delivered his own remarks to US troops ahead of the Memorial Day holiday.
The first lady, who has made supporting military families a primary focus of her work, expressed appreciation for the sacrifices of service members and their loved ones.
“Our military is a community bound together by love,” the first lady said. “It’s time that our nation matches that devotion.”
The stage is set at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton, Virginia, where Joe Biden will soon speak to US troops to thank them for their service ahead of Memorial Day weekend.
Biden celebrates progress in US fight against coronavirus in Virginia
As the Senate voted on the January 6 commission bill, Joe Biden delivered remarks on the country’s fight against coronavirus in Alexandria, Virginia.
Appearing alongside Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, the president celebrated the significant progress that the state has made to limit the spread of coronavirus since he took office in January.
Virginia has received more than $247 million in federal funding for community vaccination sites, and more than 1,000 pharmacies across the state have participated in the federal vaccination program.
As more Virginians have gotten vaccinated, case numbers have consistently fallen in the state, with deaths and hospitalizations having decreased substantially since January.
Although this progress is encouraging, Biden emphasized the importance of getting even more Virginians vaccinated in order to get the virus under control by July 4.
“If we succeed, we can celebrate our independence from the virus together on the Fourth of July, as we celebrate our independence as a nation,” Biden said. “And the future is only going to get brighter.”
The president and the first lady will also soon deliver remarks in Hampton, Virginia, to kick off the start of Memorial Day weekend, so stay tuned.
The Guardian’s Sam Levine reports on the upcoming Senate vote on Democrats’ election reform bill:
The senate will vote in about a month on sweeping legislation that would dramatically expand access to the ballot box, Chuck Schumer, the senate majority leader, said Friday.
The announcement came immediately after senate Republicans blocked the creation of a bipartisan commission to probe the 6 January attack on the US capitol. Republicans used the filibuster, a procedural tactic that prevents legislation from moving ahead in the senate unless it has 60 votes.
The comments from Schumer are significant because there is some handwringing over how exactly Democrats plan to get over the filibuster when it comes to passing the sweeping voting rights bill.
Those conversations have become more urgent in recent weeks as Republicans have moved aggressively in state legislatures across the country to impose new restrictions. Schumer said the senate would vote on the bill during the last week of the senate’s June work period.
A key senator in the vote will be Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, who continues to back the filibuster, even as it harms his own party. Manchin has also said he wants bipartisan buy-in for the bill. After the Friday filibuster blocking the 6 January commission, Manchin tweaked Republicans for not supporting the panel.
Pelosi: ‘Republican Senators surrendered to the January 6th mob assault’
House speaker Nancy Pelosi sharply criticized Senate Republicans for blocking consideration of the January 6 commission bill.
“Mitch McConnell asked Senate Republicans to do him a ‘personal favor’ and vote against the January 6th Commission,” the Democratic speaker said in a new statement.
“In doing so, Mitch McConnell asked them to be complicit in his undermining of the truth of January 6th. In bowing to McConnell’s personal favor request, Republican Senators surrendered to the January 6th mob assault.”
Pelosi argued the vote on the commission bill brought “shame” to the Senate and would make the country less safe. She indicated that House committees, which are under Democratic leadership, would continue to investigate the attack.
“Honoring our responsibility to the Congress in which we serve and the Country which we love, Democrats will proceed to find the truth,” Pelosi said.
Congresswoman Liz Cheney commended the six Republican senators who voted in favor of taking up the January 6 commission bill.
“Thank you to Senators Cassidy, Collins, Murkowski, Portman, Sasse, and Romney for voting for truth and defense of our constitution,” the Republican congresswoman said on Twitter. “History will remember those who put country ahead of politics.”
Cheney was ousted as House Republican conference chair earlier this month over her criticism of Donald Trump’s lies about the presidential election, which sparked the Capitol attack.
Last week, Cheney voted with 34 other House Republicans and every House Democrat in support of the commission bill.
Progressives are already pointing to the Republican blockade of the January 6 commission bill as evidence for why Senate Democrats should eliminate the filibuster.
Senator Elizabeth Warren said on Twitter, “If Senate Republicans can block an independent commission investigating a deadly armed attack on the Capitol because it might hurt their poll numbers with insurrectionists, then something is badly wrong with the Senate. We must get rid of the filibuster to protect our democracy.”
At least two Senate Democrats — Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema — have indicated they are still against eliminating the filibuster.
Although Manchin expressed severe disappointment about today’s vote, he previously indicated he would not be willing to end the filibuster to make the commission happen.
A spokesperson for Republican Senator Pat Toomey told HuffPost that he was not in Washington for the commission bill vote today because of a family obligation.
However, the spokesperson said, Toomey would have voted in favor of starting debate on the bill.
The Pennsylvania senator also voted to convict Donald Trump for incitement of insurrection shortly after the Capitol attack, and he had expressed openness to the commission proposal.
Toomey’s “aye” vote would have made seven Republicans in support of advancing the bill, but that is still short of 10 Republican votes necessary to overcome the filibuster.
‘Shame on the Republican Party,’ Schumer says after January 6 commission bill fails
Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer condemned his Republican colleagues for blocking consideration of the bill to form a bipartisan commission to study the Capitol insurrection.
“Shame on the Republican Party for trying to sweep the horrors of that day under the rug because they’re afraid of Donald Trump,” Schumer said in a floor speech moments ago.
This marked Senate Republicans’ first official use of the filibuster to defeat a bill, and Schumer said he hoped this was not the beginning of a trend of Republicans blocking “reasonable, common-sense legislation”.
Because Republicans invoked the filibuster, Democrats needed 60 votes to take up the commission bill, and they only got 54 by the time the vote was gaveled out.
The six Senate Republicans who voted with Democrats in favor of taking up the January 6 commission bill were Susan Collins, Mitt Romney, Bill Cassidy, Lisa Murkowski, Ben Sasse and Rob Portman.
Two Republican senators who voted earlier this year to convict Donald Trump for incitement of insurrection, Pat Toomey and Richard Burr, were not present for the vote.
Senate Republicans block January 6 commission bill
Republicans have successfully blocked the Senate from taking up the bill to form a bipartisan commission to study the Capitol insurrection.
The final vote was 54-35, with six Republicans joining 48 Democrats in supporting the motion to advance the bill. Eleven senators did not participate in the vote.
Democrats needed 10 of their Republican colleagues to join them in order to break the filibuster and take up the commission bill, but they fell short of that.
The January 6 commission is dead — for now, at least.
Senator Joe Manchin told reporters that he was “very disappointed” about the likely defeat of the January 6 commission bill.
“Politics has trumped – literally and figuratively – the good of the country,” the Democratic senator said, according to a Wall Street Journal reporter.
Republicans will likely be able to defeat the commission bill because of the 60-vote threshold needed to overcome a Senate filibuster.
But Manchin has continued to defend the filibuster, saying he is unwilling to eliminate it, even if it means the commission will not happen.
Rob Portman of Ohio has become the sixth Republican senator to vote in favor of taking up the January 6 commission bill.
Portman voted to acquit Donald Trump in his impeachment trial earlier this year, but the senator acknowledged the former president had “encouraged the mob” to attack the Capitol on January 6.
Democrats need four more Republicans to join them in order to overcome a filibuster of the commission bill.
Two more Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Ben Sasse of Nebraska, have voted in favor of taking up the January 6 commission bill.
That makes five Republicans total who have voted with Democrats so far, but it remains unlikely that five more Republicans will join them.
Because of the Republican filibuster, 60 votes are needed just to start the Senate debate over the January 6 commission bill.
Only three Republicans — Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts — have voted in favor of advancing the bill so far.
It seems very unlikely that seven more Republicans will join Democrats in voting to take up the bill, so the proposal will almost certainly be defeated.
Before the vote began, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer pleaded with his colleagues to support the January 6 commission bill.
“This commission is desperately needed,” the Democratic leader said. “If our Republican friends vote against this, I would ask them: what are you afraid of? The truth?”
Schumer argued Donald Trump’s lies about widespread fraud in the presidential election had “eroded” American democracy and the commission was necessary to rebut those lies.
“This is not a Democratic or Republican obligation. This is an American obligation,” Schumer said.
Senate now voting on January 6 commission bill
The Senate is now holding a procedural vote on the bill to create a bipartisan commission to study the Capitol insurrection.
The bill is not likely to advance, as only a handful of Republicans have indicated they will support the proposal and Democrats need 60 votes to break a filibuster.
Senate to hold procedural vote on January 6 commission bill in the next hour
The Senate has reached an agreement to delay final consideration of the Endless Frontier Act until after the Memorial Day holiday.
The upper chamber will now shift focus to a procedural vote on the bill to form a bipartisan commission to study the Capitol insurrection, as well as votes on two of Joe Biden’s nominees.
Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said moments ago that the commission bill vote will occur sometime in the next hour.
Republicans are expected to defeat the bill, as Democrats will need 60 votes to overcome a filibuster of the proposal.