President Biden celebrated passage of his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package Friday with a Rose Garden event as he prepared to embark on a cross-country tour to promote the sweeping new law to Americans. Friday’s event followed a prime-time address from the White House in which Biden ticked through actions he intends to take to combat the virus in the spring and summer.

Meanwhile, multiple House Democrats in the New York delegation called on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) to resign, citing sexual harassment allegations. Late Friday afternoon, both of New York’s senators — Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand — joined the growing number of Democrats who have said Cuomo should step down, saying in a joint statement that Cuomo has “lost the confidence of his governing partners and the people of New York.” A defiant Cuomo said it was “dangerous and reckless” to reach that conclusion before an investigation is complete and again rejected calls to resign.

Here’s what to know:

  • Biden asserted full command of the nation’s vaccination campaign in his prime-time address Thursday, framing his first 100 days around new promises that build on the program’s momentum and appear within reach.
  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki cautioned Friday that people should not misinterpret Biden’s goal of July Fourth backyard gatherings as a pledge for a full return to “total normalcy” by then.
  • In a December phone call, President Donald Trump encouraged Georgia’s chief elections investigator to uncover “dishonesty” in her investigation of absentee-ballot signatures as he tried to reverse his election loss to Biden in the state.

GOP Sen. Johnson says he didn’t feel threatened by Capitol rioters — but might have been had they been Black Lives Matter protesters

2:03 a.m.
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Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is being criticized after saying he didn’t feel threatened in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol — but would have been “a little concerned” had they been Black Lives Matter protesters.

In an interview Thursday on the “Joe Pags Show,” a conservative news radio show, Johnson said he “never felt threatened” by the pro-Trump mob that overran the Capitol on Jan. 6 hoping to overturn the results of the election.

“I knew those are people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law, so I wasn’t concerned,” Johnson said, according to a clip of the interview posted Friday by American Bridge 21st Century, a Democratic group, which blasted Johnson for his “blatant racism.”

The violent Capitol siege left five people dead, including a police officer; two other officers who were on duty that day later died by suicide. More than 100 police officers were injured and at least 40 rioters have been charged with assaulting law enforcement officers, who were shown being harassed, beaten and sprayed with gas substances by the mob.

In the interview clip, Johnson goes on to add that he would have been frightened had the mob been made up of Black Lives Matter or antifa protesters.

“Now, had the tables been turned ... and President Trump won the election and those were tens of thousands of Black Lives Matter and antifa protesters, I might have been a little concerned,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s remarks were quickly criticized on social media. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), an impeachment manager, reminded Johnson that the Jan. 6 mob “would have hurt you if they got their hands on you. That’s why Senators hid that day. Remember?”

“He’s not even pretending this isn’t racist,” said Fred Wellman, an executive director of the Lincoln Project, a political group of anti-Trump former Republicans.

“This is ugly. This is wrong. This is racist. Ron Johnson needs to be defeated,” said Joe Walsh, a former Republican congressman who announced a primary challenge to Trump in 2019.

New York’s Schumer, Gillibrand call on Cuomo to resign

12:16 a.m.
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New York’s two U.S. senators, Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, called on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to resign late Friday afternoon, becoming the latest of the state’s Democrats to join the growing chorus of politicians who have publicly said Cuomo should step down as he faces multiple sexual harassment allegations and a nursing home scandal.

“Confronting and overcoming the Covid crisis requires sure and steady leadership,” the two Democrats said in a joint statement Friday. “We commend the brave actions of the individuals who have come forward with serious allegations of abuse and misconduct.”

The statement continued: “Due to the multiple, credible sexual harassment and misconduct allegations, it is clear that Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of his governing partners and the people of New York. Governor Cuomo should resign.”

Schumer and Gillibrand had previously said they were concerned by the accusations against the governor but had stopped short of calling for Cuomo’s resignation.

A majority of the New York congressional delegation is now calling for Cuomo’s resignation.

Cuomo’s office has not responded to requests for comment. On Friday evening, a photographer captured Cuomo outside the governor’s mansion in Albany, talking on the phone while draped in a blanket.

Josh Dawsey contributed to this report.

Pelosi tells House committees to focus on next major battle: Infrastructure

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With a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package now signed into law, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) instructed the House to focus its attention on the next major battle: infrastructure reform.

The top lawmaker said in a statement Friday that Democratic committee leaders should work with their Republican counterparts to produce a “big, bold and transformational” bill, as Pelosi seeks to shore up bipartisan support around another major item on President Biden’s economic agenda.

The speaker did not sketch out a timeline. In a sign of Democrats’ policy ambitions, though, Pelosi specifically highlighted transportation, energy, water, education and broadband Internet as some of the “critical needs” that she would ultimately like to see lawmakers address.

“As we engage in these job-creating initiatives, we must discuss their impact on the federal budget, on creating economic growth and on preserving our planet,” Pelosi added.

Ocasio-Cortez, Nadler and other New York Democrats in Congress call for Cuomo’s resignation

8:21 p.m.
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A majority of the New York congressional delegation is calling for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) to resign over mounting allegations of sexual misconduct, including high-profile Democrats such as House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Nadler said in a statement that the accusations and the governor’s response to them have “made it impossible for him to continue to govern at this point.”

“Governor Cuomo has lost the confidence of the people of New York,” Nadler said. “Governor Cuomo must resign.”

In a separate statement, Maloney said she supports the women who came forward and that Cuomo resigning is “in the best interest of all New Yorkers.”

Ocasio-Cortez, in a joint statement with freshman Rep. Jamaal Bowman, said they believe the women’s accounts and agree with those who say Cuomo “can no longer effectively lead in the face of so many challenges.”

Then, Sean Patrick Maloney, a member of the House Democratic leadership in his role as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Cuomo needed to step aside so New York could go back to focusing on getting through the pandemic.

New York Democratic Reps. Mondaire Jones, Antonio Delgado, Grace Meng, Yvette D. Clarke, Nydia M. Velázquez, Adriano Espaillat and Brian Higgins also said in tweets and statements put out within minutes of each other that Cuomo should resign.

Later, Rep. Tom Suozzi put out a statement that hedged on whether Cuomo should resign. “If he cannot effectively govern with all of the controversy surrounding him, he must put the interests of all New Yorkers first and he should resign,” the New York congressman said.

Since the allegations first came to light, most Democrats in Washington have resisted asking Cuomo to step down and have instead encouraged the independent investigation by the New York attorney general into Cuomo’s conduct.

But with more women coming forward with allegations of harassment, intimidation and assault by the governor, the New York Democrats in Congress came out simultaneously Friday morning urging Cuomo to resign.

Before now, Rep. Kathleen Rice was the lone New York Democrat in Congress to call for Cuomo’s resignation. Almost two weeks ago, she tweeted after a third accuser came forward: “The time has come. The Governor must resign.”

There are now six women who allege Cuomo harassed or touched them inappropriately.

New York’s two U.S. senators, Democrats Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, did not immediately respond to the news of their colleagues’ en masse calls for Cuomo’s resignation.

Biden, Democratic leaders kick off week-long promotion of pandemic relief plan at White House ceremony

8:18 p.m.
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President Biden, Vice President Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Friday gathered at the White House to take a victory lap and kick off a week-long promotion of the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan that Biden signed into law on Thursday.

“I promised the American people — and I guess it’s becoming an overused phrase — that help was on the way,” Biden said in the Rose Garden of the White House.But today, with the American Rescue Plan now signed into law, we’ve delivered on that promise. And I don’t mean I’ve delivered. We’ve delivered.”

Biden noted that the first stimulus payments are going to be sent out this weekend. And he argued that the relief package “changes the paradigm for the first time in a long time: This bill puts working people in this nation first.”

“We’ve seen time and time again that that trickle down does not work. … This time, it’s time that we build an economy that grows from the bottom up and the middle out,” Biden said to applause. “And this bill shows that when you do that, everybody does better.”

Next week, Biden, Harris, first lady Jill Biden and second gentleman Doug Emhoff will crisscross the country to promote the pandemic relief package, with New Jersey, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Colorado among the expected stops.

The Democrats’ coronavirus relief package is popular. Republicans hope to dent it.

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Shortly after the coronavirus relief bill received final approval in Congress, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) proudly pointed to a provision he co-sponsored that will provide nearly $29 billion to independent restaurant operators.

“This funding will ensure small businesses can survive the pandemic by helping to adapt their operations and keep their employees on the payroll,” Wicker tweeted Wednesday.

But Wicker, like every other Republican in Congress, did not vote for the bill. Asked why he opposed the bill if the money for restaurants was important, an exasperated Wicker said, “One good provision in a $1.9 trillion bill doesn’t mean I have to vote for the whole thing.”

Wicker’s tortuous justification reflects the difficulty Republicans are having in finding a message to counter the popularity of the legislation. By the time next year’s elections are in full swing, Republicans say they hope the law’s popularity will have diminished and that it will be seen as less about addressing the pandemic and more as a backdoor way by the Democrats to expand government.

Pelosi names members of House Intelligence, Joint Economic committees

7:59 p.m.
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday named the members of the House Intelligence Committee and the Joint Economic Committee, an announcement that rounds out the rosters of the chamber’s panels.

“The American people elected a Democratic House Majority that would be relentless in our work to promote their security — both by defending their economic security here at home and our national security abroad,” Pelosi said in a statement.

The members of the Intelligence Committee “will be effective forces in keeping the American people safe,” she said, while the Joint Economic Committee appointees “will be vital intellectual resources in our work to meet the needs of the American people and Build our economy Back Better.”

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) will remain chairman of the Intelligence Committee. Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-Ala.) and former congressman Denny Heck (D-Wash.) are no longer on the panel; replacing them are Reps. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and Jason Crow (D-Colo.).

On the Joint Economic Committee, Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) has been named chairman. Three former members of the panel — Heck and Reps. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) and Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) — are no longer on the committee. They have been replaced by three new members: Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Scott Peters (D-Calif.) and Sharice Davids (D-Kan.).

Top Senate Republicans decry ‘intrusive’ and ‘burdensome’ fencing, Guard at the Capitol

7:53 p.m.
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The top Republicans on five Senate committees jointly sent a letter Friday to the acting chief of Capitol Police, complaining that leaders had failed to provide adequate justification for the continued presence of fencing and the National Guard around congressional buildings.

“Since the events of January 6th, Capitol Police has repeatedly failed to provide specific, credible threat intelligence to adequately justify the current Capitol security posture, which remains disproportionate to the available intelligence,” the group wrote in the letter to chief Yogananda D. Pittman. “This is most evident as it relates to the continued presence of intrusive fencing on the Capitol Grounds and to the continued burdensome deployment of National Guardsmen from across the country.”

Republicans have been complaining loudly over the past several weeks about the enhanced security at the Capitol, which has been encircled by two rings of “unscalable” fencing and patrolled by armed National Guard troops since shortly after pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6. The insurrection resulted in the deaths of five people, including a Capitol Police officer.

But the joint letter from the five top Republicans on committees with investigative or oversight interest in the current state of enhanced Capitol security is a sign that the debate over how to protect Congress from future threats is growing increasingly political.

The letter to Pittman was signed by the ranking Republicans on the Senate committees on Armed Services, Sen. James M. Inhofe (Okla.); Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio); Intelligence, Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.); Appropriations, Sen. Richard C. Shelby (Ala.); and Rules, Sen. Roy Blunt (Mo.).

Spring forward forever? Lawmakers consider keeping daylight saving time year-round.

7:23 p.m.
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After a long, dark winter, our noticeably sunnier evenings are about to turn even brighter.

At 2 a.m. Sunday, the clocks will “spring forward” one hour as we return to daylight saving time (DST). The time shift means we lose an hour of sleep, but in exchange we’ll enjoy more evening light for the next eight months — until we “fall back” to standard time again in early November.

But what if we advanced the clocks this weekend and never had to turn them back? The idea is gaining some traction after a bipartisan group of U.S. senators this week reintroduced a bill that would eliminate standard time and keep daylight saving time year-round.

Cuomo blasts Democratic lawmakers calling on him to resign, says he won’t step down

6:54 p.m.
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New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) assailed Democratic politicians who are now calling for him to resign over allegations of sexual misconduct, calling it “dangerous and reckless” to reach that conclusion before an investigation is complete.

The embattled governor, speaking by phone to reporters, was defiant that the allegations were not true and that he had no intention of stepping down.

“As I have said before, women have the right to come forward and be heard, and I encourage that fully — there is still a question of the truth,” he said. “I did not do what has been alleged, period.”

Cuomo accused the Democrats who came out against him Friday morning of being concerned with political expediency. “The people of New York should not have confidence in a politician who takes a position without knowing any facts or substance,” he said.

“People know the difference between playing politics, bowing to cancel culture and the truth,” Cuomo added.

“I’m not going to resign,” he said. “I was elected by the people, not the politicians.”

Psaki cautions ‘total normalcy’ will not return by July Fourth

6:44 p.m.
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White House press secretary Jen Psaki cautioned Friday that people should not misinterpret Biden’s goal of July Fourth backyard gatherings as a pledge for a full return to “total normalcy” by then.

Well, I think it’s important to note that … we’re not talking about a July Fourth celebration on the Mall. We’re not quite there yet right now,” Psaki said during a White House briefing. “And we’re not talking about soccer stadiums being filled in communities across the country.”

She said Biden’s goal, expressed during his prime-time address Thursday, was intended to motivate Americans to get vaccinated, continue to wear masks and continue social distancing in coming months. If they do that, they can look to July Fourth as “an aspirational moment where people can plan small get-togethers in their backyard,” Psaki said.

“But we’re not talking about a mass event,” Psaki said, saying there will not be “total normalcy” by July Fourth.

“That’s not what this is,” she said. “This is a step more toward the kind of socialization and engagement with friends and family that he knows as a human being people have been missing over the last year.”

Fact Checker: Lauren Boebert’s tall tale about a man’s death that led her to pack heat

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Rep. Lauren Boebert (R- Colo.) has repeatedly told a misleading story about a fatal beating discussing her support of open carry laws. (Adriana Usero/The Washington Post)

“When I became a business owner, I needed to protect myself. There was an altercation outside of my restaurant where a man was physically beat to death. There were no weapons involved. He was beat to death by another man’s hands.”

— Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), in a speech on the House floor, March 10

“Shortly after we opened our restaurant, there was an altercation where a man was beat to death … outside of my restaurant, beat to death by another man. No weapons. And I immediately wondered, how am I going to protect everyone?”

— Boebert, speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Feb. 27

“After a violent incident outside my business, I took advantage of Colorado’s open-carry laws and began to carry at work.”

— Boebert, speaking in a viral ad, tweeted Jan. 3

We’re often interested in the “origin stories” of politicians — regular lines that they use over and over to explain their political motivations.

U.S. joins India, Japan and Australia in pledging to distribute up to 1 billion doses of vaccine

6:00 p.m.
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The United States, India, Japan and Australia have pledged to jointly manufacture and distribute up to 1 billion doses of coronavirus vaccine before the end of next year, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Friday.

The vaccine would be provided to Southeast Asian nations and potentially elsewhere, Sullivan told reporters. The vaccine would be produced by India, with additional funding provided by the United States and Japan, and distributed with logistical help from Australia, Sullivan said. He did not provide more specifics about the agreement, which came out of the first meeting of Biden and leaders of the other three nations.

That session earlier Friday was conducted via video because of the coronavirus pandemic, but Sullivan said the leaders had agreed to meet in person before the end of the year. The union of the four democracies is a priority for the Biden administration, which sees the group as a bulwark against aggressive Chinese actions in the region.

Harris administers oath to Rouse to lead the Council of Economic Advisers

5:58 p.m.
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Cecilia Rouse was sworn in Friday as chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers by Vice President Harris during a brief ceremony at the White House complex.

Rouse, a Princeton University economist, is the first Black person to lead the council in the 75 years of its existence. She previously served as a member during the Obama administration.

Safa Karle Morrison, Rouse’s daughter, held a Bible as the oath was administered by Harris.

“Congratulations, madam chair!” Harris exclaimed at its completion.

Rouse was confirmed by the Senate on March 2 on a 95-to-4 vote