By MICHELLE STODDART and LAUREN KING, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — This is Day 27 of the administration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Here is how events unfolded on Monday. All times Eastern:
Feb 15, 9:56 pm
Several Americans injured in rocket attack in Iraq
A U.S. service member and several American contractors were injured in a rocket attack near Iraq’s Erbil International Airport on Monday, according to a statement from Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
One non-American, civilian contractor was killed, according to initial reports of the attack.
A statement from the Ministry of the Interior of the Kurdistan Regional Government said a number of rockets were launched toward the city of Erbil and landed on several sites at 9:30 p.m. local time. Three missiles fell near Erbil International Airport, a source at Iraq’s Ministry of Interior confirmed to ABC News.
“We are outraged by today’s rocket attack in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region,” Blinken said in his statement.
“We express our condolences to the loved ones of the civilian contractor killed in this attack, and to the innocent Iraqi people and their families who are suffering these ruthless acts of violence,” the statement continued.
Blinken’s statement did not say who was behind the attack or throw blame on Iran, but a Shite militia group has claimed responsibility, according to SITE Intel.
The U.S. secretary of state also confirmed he called the prime minister of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government, Masrour Barzani, to pledge U.S. support.
Feb 15, 9:04 pm
Trump celebrates Presidents Day, backlash grows against Republicans who voted to convict
Former President Donald Trump on Monday made his first public appearance since his Senate acquittal over the weekend, greeting supporters from his motorcade as he passed them by in West Palm Beach, Florida.
It was one of just a few public sightings of Trump off the golf course since he left the White House and relocated to his new home state on Jan. 20.
Meanwhile, the seven Republican senators who joined Democrats to vote to convict the former president are facing backlash from their home states.
Sen. Bill Cassidy was unanimously censured by the Louisiana GOP executive committee just hours after he voted on Saturday and Sen. Richard Burr was censured by the North Carolina Republican Party Central Committee in an unanimous vote on Monday.
Feb 15, 7:32 pm
US Capitol Police Union votes no confidence in leadership
The United States Capitol Police Union voted no confidence in the acting chief and senior USCP leadership.
“The past week of the impeachment trial showed members of Congress and the entire country, devastating details of the violence that Capitol Police officers faced during the insurrection,” union Chairman Gus Papathanasiou said. “It was the darkest day in the history of the department.”
The union said the step was “unprecedented” and that 92% of their members voted no confidence in acting Chief Yogananda Pittman.
The chairman added that there are leaders inside the department that they trust and would rather see in the top positions.
“We hope congressional leaders and the entire Capitol Hill community understands that continuing with the current USCP leadership is not an option,” Papathanasiou continued. “The current leadership is just a continuation of the past regimes on this department and there needs to be accountability. Their failures are inexcusable.”
Feb 15, 6:12 pm
Harris speaks with French president
Harris spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron Monday about “the need for close bilateral and multilateral cooperation to address COVID-19, climate change and support democracy at home and around the world,” as well as “revitalizing the transatlantic alliance,” according to her office.
Harris also thanked Macron “for his leadership on the issue of gender equality.”
Discussing support for multilateralism, in general, and with respect to topics like climate change and COVID-19, in particular, represents a sharp contrast with former President Donald Trump’s “America First” foreign policy.
The call was Harris’ second to a foreign leader since she became vice president, according to her office. Her first call was to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Feb. 2, her office said at the time.
Feb 15, 4:26 pm
Pelosi announces a 9/11-type commission to investigate insurrection
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that Congress will take the steps to establish a Sept. 11-type commission to investigate the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
“Now, as always, security is the order of the day: the security of our country, the security of our Capitol which is the temple of our democracy, and the security of our Members,” she wrote in a letter to her Democratic colleagues.
Retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré was appointed to issue a report on Capitol security following the riot.
“It is clear from his findings and from the impeachment trial that we must get to the truth of how this happened,” Pelosi’s letter continued. “To protect our security, our security, our security, our next step will be to establish an outside, independent 9/11-type Commission to ‘investigate and report on the facts and causes relating to the January 6, 2021 domestic terrorist attack upon the United States Capitol Complex … and relating to the interference with the peaceful transfer of power, including facts and causes relating to the preparedness and response of the United States Capitol Police and other Federal, State, and local law enforcement in the National Capitol Region.'”
Feb 15, 11:13 am
Republicans across country support for Biden COVID relief plan, White House aide says
White House Senior Advisor and Director of the Office of Public Engagement Cedric Richmond said this morning that Biden has gotten support from Republicans across the country for his COVID relief plan — even if GOP members of Congress in Washington are balking, especially at the projected cost.
“We have many Republican mayors, we have Republican governors, we have more than 50% of Republicans in this country, 46% of Trump supporters. There is just one place we don’t have anybody who has signed on yet and that’s in the United States Congress, but we are still working every day to see if we can earn Republican support for the plan. But what we won’t do is slow down and not meet the needs of the American people by just waiting, whether it’s obstruction or just inertia, President Biden is not willing to wait,” Richmond said on CNN.
Richmond argued that past COVID-19 plans have been reactionary, but Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris want to “get in front of it,” with the nearly $2 trillion package they’ve proposed.
“We’re going to keep moving on in a bipartisan manner, but we are not going to fail the American people,” he added.
Richmond dodged a question when pressed on the fate of the $15 dollar federal minimum wage in the bill, given that both Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Krysten Sinema, D-Ariz., have said they would not vote for COVID-19 relief that included the increase.
“We will [what] happens in the Senate, because Senator Sanders is pushing it. We know that there is some reluctance, but look, that’s not the real question. The real question is why do people in this country, why do we think it’s okay people go to work for 40 hours week and still make less than the poverty level? That should not be acceptable in this country. If you work 40 hours a week, you should be able to sustain your family,” Richmond said. “So that’s where we are focused on.”
Feb 15, 9:57 am
Biden says ‘encouraging’ that Congress moving on COVID relief
President Biden, who largely steered clear of the Trump impeachment trial, will push full-steam ahead this week with a focus on his COVID-19 relief plan now that the trial is no longer capturing the national spotlight.
Today, on the first day of a move previously announced by his administration, Biden has put out a statement urging Americans to take advantage of a special three-month enrollment period to help those who lost their health insurance amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden also made a point to reference the $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan in the statement, saying that it is “encouraging” to see Congress moving on the plan that will “also take big steps to lower health costs and expand access to care for all Americans, including those who have lost their jobs.”
“It will increase federal subsidies and decrease premiums in order to ensure that no one pays more than 8.5 percent of their income to purchase meaningful and comprehensive health coverage. And it incentivizes states to expand coverage to an additional four million people with low incomes, and provides states the opportunity to extend coverage for a year to low-income women who have recently given birth,” Biden said.
This week, he’ll make his first two official trips domestically, taking part in a CNN town hall in Wisconsin on Tuesday, and heading to a Michigan Pfizer manufacturing facility on Thursday. Biden will also attend a virtual G-7 meeting on Friday where COVID is expected to be a topic of discussion, and virtually address the Munich Security Conference.
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