Congress

One week after a violent mob breached the U.S. Capitol, threatened lawmakers and forced evacuations, members returned to the House floor. What followed was an emotional, and often angry, debate about recrimination for the president who many argued incited the riot that resulted in five dead.

Wednesday will go down as one of the darkest days in American history.

It was all egged on by a sitting president, who has been unable to accept losing his bid for reelection and who persuaded millions of his followers to buy into baseless, debunked and disproved conspiracy theories.

The result: A mob violently storming and occupying the U.S. Capitol for hours, while staffers and lawmakers were evacuated or hid in fear. The vice president was also rushed from the floor of the Senate and taken to a secure location after criticisms were tweeted from his boss.

Updated at 4 a.m. ET

Congress certified President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' victory early on Thursday, the end of a long day and night marked by chaos and violence in Washington, D.C. Extremists emboldened by President Trump had sought to thwart the peaceful transfer of power that has been a hallmark of modern American history by staging a violent insurrection inside the U.S. Capitol.

Updated at 3:43 a.m. ET

Lawmakers on Wednesday blocked objections to President-elect Joe Biden's election win in Arizona and Pennsylvania Wednesday evening, paving the way for Congress to formalize Biden's victory.

Updated 3:08 p.m. ET

Thousands of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, prompting the House and Senate to abruptly take a recess as the U.S. Capitol Police locked down the building. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered a citywide curfew from 6 p.m. on Wednesday until 6 a.m. on Thursday.

Updated at 6:38 p.m. ET

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi informed House lawmakers that Congress will reconvene Wednesday night to continue its constitutional duty to count and certify the electoral votes after pro-Trump protestors breached the Capitol and forced Capitol Police to evacuate both the House and Senate.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman will oppose an effort by some of his Republican colleagues to throw out President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral votes when Congress formalizes the presidential election results this week.

Portman announced his decision in a statement Monday, saying he “cannot support allowing Congress to thwart the will of the voters” by overturning Biden’s win.

Updated at 6:17 p.m. ET

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says a measure that would increase direct payments to many Americans has "no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate."

McConnell is moving ahead with a plan to avoid a public rift within the GOP over stimulus payments demanded by President Trump ahead of a critical runoff election in Georgia.

Updated at 5:03 p.m. ET

President Trump has followed through on his threats to veto the annual defense bill, triggering plans for Congress to return from its holiday break to potentially override him for the first time in his four-year administration.

"My Administration has taken strong actions to help keep our Nation safe and support our service members," Trump wrote in a message to the House of Representatives. "I will not approve this bill, which would put the interests of the Washington, D.C. establishment over those of the American people."

Top leaders and rank-and-file members of Congress are taking part in the first round of COVID-19 vaccinations, a move that could accelerate plans for Congress to return to business as usual. But not all lawmakers agree on who should get priority as millions of Americans in high-risk groups still await their turn.

The Capitol's attending physician, Brian Monahan, alerted its more than 500 lawmakers this month that they're now eligible to get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine under continuity-of-government requirements.

Updated at 9:21 p.m. ET

President Trump is threatening to derail a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress on Monday after months of bitter negotiations.

Updated Tuesday at 11:40 a.m. ET

The Senate acted swiftly Monday night, in a 92-6 vote, to approve more than $900 billion for coronavirus assistance, shortly after the House of Representatives passed the package. The aid comes after months of partisan sniping over what elements should be in a relief measure that virtually all lawmakers on Capitol Hill argued was long overdue.

Updated at 11:52 p.m. ET

After months of partisan squabbling, congressional leaders have reached agreement on a nearly $900 billion coronavirus relief package.

"At long last, we have the bipartisan breakthrough the country has needed," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on the Senate floor Sunday evening.

"As our citizens continue battling the coronavirus this holiday season, they will not be fighting alone," he added.

Updated at 10:27 p.m. ET

Agreement on a bipartisan coronavirus relief package remains elusive as top congressional leaders continue to negotiate and their efforts spilled into the weekend. While they've had a framework for days, they are struggling to close out several details, and a new issue emerged as a key sticking point.

Lawmakers from both parties insist they will not leave Washington for the holidays until they get a deal that wraps together an aid package and a broader spending deal.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, comments on the final statement of House Democratic impeachment manager House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., on Jan. 24, 2020.
Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

Congress appears to be close to approving another round of aid to help individuals and businesses deal with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. The $900 billion package includes additional unemployment benefits, more aid for businesses and another direct payment to Americans.

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