Bidens Volunteer At Kitchen on Day of Service: Inaugural UpdateJanuary 22, 2021
President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, volunteered in Philadelphia Monday. A rehearsal for the inauguration was evacuated after a fire near the Capitol. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris said she’ll break ties in theSenate, but she hopes she doesn’t have to.
There are two days until Biden’s swearing in.
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Bidens Volunteer on National Day of Service
The Bidens volunteered in Philadelphia as part of the National Day of Service held Monday, on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The president-elect and his wife, Jill, worked at Philabundance, a community kitchen that provides food to the needy.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Bidens, along with his daughter Ashley and graddaughter Finnegan, assembled boxes of canned goods, apples and oranges for distribution.
The tradition of volunteering before inauguration began under President Barack Obama in 2009, when then-Vice President-elect Biden helped build homes with Habitat for Humanity. — Jennifer Epstein
Rehearsal Evacuated Due to Fire Near Capitol (10:40 a.m.)
A rehearsal for Wednesday’s inauguration was evacuated by security officials Monday morning after a fire broke out near the Capitol, according to theAssociated Press.
An alert was sent to Capitol Hill staffers telling them not to enter or exit the building and to stay away from windows due to an “external security threat” near a bridge on Interstate 295. An order to “shut the perimeter” went out on police radio as officials sought to clarify the seriousness of the situation.
The Capitol lockdown was lifted before noon and the rehearsal resumed.
A Twitter account for Washington D.C. firefighters soon said that they had been called to an outside fire in the 100 block of H Street SE that has since been extinguished.
“This accounts for smoke that many have seen,” according to the tweet.
Capitol Police said in a statement that “members and staff were advised to shelter in place while the incident is being investigated.” — Ryan Teague Beckwith, Todd Shields, William Turton
Harris Hopes to Avoid Tie-Breaking Votes (9:50 a.m.)
One of the few duties of the vice president spelled out in the Constitution is breaking ties in the Senate, but Harris hopes she doesn’t have to do it much.
In anop-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle published Monday, the vice president-elect noted that there have been only 268 tie-breaking votes cast by a vice president in history.
“I intend to work tirelessly as your Vice President, including, if necessary, fulfilling this Constitutional duty,” she wrote. “At the same time, it is my hope that rather than come to the point of a tie, the Senate will instead find common ground and do the work of the American people.”
The Senate will be evenly divided, 50-50, between Democrats and Republicans after Georgia’s new senators, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, are sworn in this week. That means one of Harris’ first duties as vice president will be to break the tie to put Democrats in charge of the upper chamber.
Harris officially resigned from the Senate Monday, and will be replaced by California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who will be the state’s first Hispanic senator.
Vice President Mike Pence cast 13 tie-breaking votes in office, including confirming several judges and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. But Biden cast no tie-breakers during his time as vice president. –Ryan Teague Beckwith
— With assistance by Ryan Teague Beckwith, Jennifer Epstein, Todd Shields, and William Turton
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