Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is proposing to delay the start of Donald Trump’s impeachment trial until February to give the former president’s lawyers more time to prepare, saying in a statement that the Senate, the presidency and Trump “deserve a full and fair process.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says her chamber is ready to send an article of impeachment to the Senate as soon as it is ready to hold a trial.

Separately, Congress approved a waiver for Lloyd Austin to lead the Defense Department, paving the way for the retired Army general’s historic confirmation. Austin, who would become the first Black defense secretary, requires an exemption because he has not been retired from active military service for the seven years stipulated by law.

President Biden, as he rolled out a new coronavirus plan Thursday, said that the death toll from the pandemic will probably top 500,000 next month and that it will take months “for us to turn things around.”

Here’s what to know:

  • Pete Buttigieg, a young, former Midwestern mayor with a national profile, made his pitch to a Senate committee weighing his nomination to become Biden’s transportation secretary.
  • Seven Democratic senators lodged an ethics complaint against two of their Republican colleagues, Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri, over their actions ahead of the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.
  • Biden is seeking a five-year extension with Russia on the only remaining treaty limiting the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals just days before it expires, said two senior U.S. officials.
  • Democrats claimed control of the Senate on Wednesday by the thinnest possible margin as Vice President Harris swore in three new Democratic senators, bringing Republicans and Democrats to a 50-50 split in the chamber, with Harris as the tiebreaker.