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On the Hill: Impeachment and Inauguration

One week before the end of his term, President Donald Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives for the second time. The article of impeachment, which passed the House 232–197, was drafted as a result of Trump’s role in the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol, which resulted in numerous injuries, deaths, and acts of vandalism.

A corresponding Senate trial on the charges in the article of impeachment is likely to begin shortly after President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated, though the exact timing and process remain unclear. Current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) decided not to convene the Senate before the inauguration, which could force the Senate to pursue impeachment while concurrently executing duties required in the early days of a new administration, such as confirming cabinet nominations.

Biden-Harris Administration Prepares for Inauguration

Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be inaugurated on Jan. 20. Local and federal law enforcement, including more than 20,000 National Guard troops, are protecting Washington, D.C., against continued threats of violence and protests surrounding the event. Despite this, the incoming Biden administration is forging ahead with plans for an active start to the presidency.

Last week, the Biden transition team released a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan and urged Congress to consider it shortly after the incoming administration takes office. The plan would send additional $1,400 direct payments to Americans, extend unemployment benefits, and allocate more dedicated funds for COVID-19 testing and vaccinations. Of note for essential hospitals, the plan prioritizes addressing health disparities related to COVID-19, enhancing the public health workforce, and increasing access to behavioral health care.

Harris to Become Senate President

Vice President-elect Harris will play an integral role as president of the Senate in the 117th Congress. The 50–50 split between the two political parties means Harris will cast tie-breaking votes, placing Democrats in the majority. The newly elected Democratic senators from Georgia, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, will be sworn in after the election results are certified, which must occur by Jan. 22.

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About the Author

Christina Fagnano is the legislative affairs associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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