WBEZ’s Rundown Of Today’s Top News: Biden Team Pushes For Quick Stimulus

President-elect Joe Biden attends a meeting at The Queen theater Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. Carolyn Kaster / AP Photo
President-elect Joe Biden attends a meeting at The Queen theater Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. Carolyn Kaster / AP Photo

WBEZ’s Rundown Of Today’s Top News: Biden Team Pushes For Quick Stimulus

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Good afternoon! It’s Monday, and the Chicago area could see as much as 3 inches of snow tomorrow. I can’t tell if that scream I hear is from outside or in my own head. Here’s what else you need to know.

1. The Biden team wants Congress to quickly reach a deal on new economic relief

President-elect Joe Biden’s team is pressing Democratic leaders to quickly reach a deal with Senate Republicans as concerns grow that the U.S. is heading into a double-dip recession, reports The New York Times.

Democrats and Republicans have disagreed for months over the scope of providing further aid, with the Senate GOP pushing for a targeted response that would cost significantly less than a $2.4 trillion plan approved by House Democrats.

According to the Times, the Biden camp is pushing Democratic leaders to reach a deal even if it means compromising. Aides to Biden are also considering other options, such as executive orders that would extend eviction moratoriums and defer student loan payments.

The news comes as the short-term economic outlook for the U.S. is increasingly bleak, with unemployment claims rising last week and more Americans spending less money at retail stores last month. [NYT]

2. Calls grow for Trump to accept election loss and begin transition

With his legal challenges failing to produce evidence of widespread election fraud, President Donald Trump is facing increased pressure to begin the transition process.

More than 100 CEOs today will send a letter to the Trump administration, urging it to acknowledge Biden as the winner, Forbes reports. The executives warn that a chaotic transition could further damage the economy.

“Every day that an orderly presidential transition process is delayed, our democracy grows weaker in the eyes of our own citizens and the nation’s stature on the global stage is diminished,” the executives wrote. [Forbes]

The calls come as Trump’s legal team recently distanced itself from lawyer Sidney Powell, who pushed a conspiracy theory about voter fraud in Georgia that involved Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, the CIA and former Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, who died in 2013. [AP]

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Trump confidant, called the legal team a “national embarrassment.” [CNBC]

Meanwhile, Trump has privately told advisers and confidants that he might announce a 2024 campaign before the end of the year. [Washington Post]

3. COVID-19 infections and deaths at for-profit nursing homes are much higher than nonprofits

Nursing homes that operate for profit in Illinois have had more infections and deaths per bed than nonprofit facilities, according to a WBEZ analysis of state and federal data. In counties hit hardest by the pandemic, for-profit nursing homes have had nearly double the death rates as nonprofit facilities. [WBEZ]

Today, state officials announced 8,322 new cases and 47 deaths. Illinois is seeing a rolling, seven-day average of 11,811 cases per day, up 29% from the average two weeks ago. [WBEZ]

In the Chicago area, workers from every sector of the economy have filed more than 1,000 complaints about unsafe conditions, including exposure to the virus, to federal regulators. [WBEZ]

4. Who wants to replace Madigan as Illinois House speaker?

If a vote were held today, House Speaker Michael Madigan would not have enough votes to keep his leadership position. Several Democrats have recently said they will not support Madigan after new federal indictments were handed down last week in a bribery probe that has now reached inside Madigan’s innermost circle.

“If Madigan’s bid falters, by some estimates, as many as 10 potential successors for speaker could emerge from the racially and culturally diverse House Democratic caucus,” reports WBEZ’s Dave McKinney. “The possible scramble could usher in a speaker who’s African American, a woman or someone who’s gay or lesbian — all firsts for the job.”

So far, Rep. Stephanie Kifowit of Oswego is the only Democrat who says she will run against Madigan. Rep. Kelly Cassidy, an open lesbian who represents part of Chicago’s North Side, said she is considering a run. And Rep. Will Davis, an African American from Homewood and a member of Madigan’s leadership team, said he will throw his hat in the ring if Madigan steps down. [WBEZ]

5. Biden unveils first cabinet appointments

And the appointments are focused on key foreign policy and national security positions, and they signal that Biden wants to reaffirm relationships with international allies that have been strained under President Trump.

Antony Blinken, who served as deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser under President Barack Obama, will be nominated as secretary of state. The Biden team also announced today that Jake Sullivan, another close Biden aide, will be named as national security adviser.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a veteran diplomat with more than three decades of experience, will be nominated as ambassador to the United Nations. [NPR]

Biden is also expected to nominate Alejandro Mayorkas as the first Latino to head the Department of Homeland Security. And Avril Haines will be Biden’s director of national security, becoming the first woman to head the intelligence community. [Axios]

And former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has been chosen for Treasury secretary. [CNBC]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Millions of Americans traveled over the weekend despite pleas from health experts to stay home for Thanksgiving. [AP]
  • A third major COVID-19 vaccine proved to be 90% effective. [NPR]
  • Chicago is seeing a rise in bike thefts. [Chicago Sun-Times]
  • The best deals on Black Friday will mostly be online. [CNBC]

Oh, and one more thing …

A mysterious monolith was discovered in a remote area of Utah, and now I’m just waiting for the space baby from 2001: A Space Odyssey to show up.

Officials from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resource were in a helicopter, counting bighorn sheep when someone spotted the 10- to 12-foot-high metal monolith.

“One of the biologists is the one who spotted it and we just happened to fly directly over the top of it,” pilot Bret Hutchings told local news station KSLTV. “He was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, turn around, turn around!’ And I was like, ‘What?’ And he’s like, ‘There’s this thing back there — we’ve got to go look at it!’ ”

Hutchings said the monolith looked manmade.

“I’m assuming it’s some new wave artist or something or, you know, somebody that was a big [2001: A Space Odyssey] fan,” Hutchings said. [KSLTV]

Tell me something good …

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Me? Aside from my family and loving husband, I’m thankful for all of the people who support The Rundown and WBEZ. Without donations from you and others, this thing wouldn’t even exist.

What are you thankful for? Feel free to email at therundown@wbez.org or tweet to @whuntah.

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