By MICHELLE STODDART, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) -- Thursday is Day 44 of the administration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Here is how the day is unfolding. All time Eastern:
Mar 04, 1:02 pm
Biden called off 2nd airstrike in Syria, official confirms
In addition to the U.S. airstrike last week of an Iranian-backed militia compound in Syria, another location associated with the militia in eastern Syria was supposed to be targeted, a U.S. official confirmed to ABC News Thursday, but Biden called off the strike after the presence of women and children could not be ruled out.
Biden had approved targeting both locations last Thursday morning, but later in the day, aerial reconnaissance observed women and children entering and leaving the second location.
That movement led to concerns by military officials that they could not conclusively rule out the presence of women and children at the location when the airstrike was to have occurred in the middle of the night local Syria time.
The military’s concerns were communicated up the chain of command and Biden called off the strike on the second location.
Mar 04, 12:15 pm
Pelosi talks Capitol security amid threat
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi discussed at her weekly press conference Thursday possible plots planned for the same day that pose threats to the Capitol, explaining the reasons the House voted on a policing bill named for George Floyd late Wednesday night rather than Thursday morning as originally scheduled.
"So it was really just as a convenience and, frankly, there are a lot of us," Pelosi said, referring to the size of the House compared with the Senate, which is in session Thursday. "We’re at least four times more people, and therefore, all that that implies in terms of numbers of people in the Capitol, if in fact there's any troublemakers around, and it made sense."
Pelosi also responded to questions from reporters about the possibility of adding more security, saying she recognizes it is going to take more funding to secure the Capitol.
"It's going to take more money to protect the Capitol in a way that enables people to come here, children to come and see our democracy in action, all of you to cover what happens here safely, members to be comfortable that they are safe when they are here, and not be concerned about what happened last time," Pelosi said.
Mar 04, 11:04 am
Haaland's nomination moves to Senate with support from moderates
The Senate Energy committee advanced Rep. Deb Haaland's, D-Ariz., nomination on Wednesday morning to serve as secretary of the interior to the Senate floor. Haaland was reported favorably out of the committee by a vote of 11-9. If confirmed, she will be the first Native American Cabinet secretary.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, was the only Republican on the committee to vote in her favor. While Haaland earned scant Republican support in committee, there is a clear path emerging for her confirmation with several moderate members, including Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V. Support from moderates eases concerns that Haaland would face a more challenging road to confirmation.
Haaland has been a controversial choice with some GOP senators for her support of the Green New Deal and her opposition to fossil fuel projects including the Keystone Dakota Access pipeline. Her nomination will now be taken up for a vote of the full Senate. The timing of the final confirmation vote is not yet clear.
Mar 04, 9:14 am
Biden praises House passage of voting rights bill
Biden released a statement Thursday morning praising the House for passing the "For the People Act," which Democrats say would protect voting rights. Democrats have pushed for the bill as GOP-controlled legislatures in Georgia and other red states scramble to change voting laws after the 2020 presidential elections.
"In the wake of an unprecedented assault on our democracy; a coordinated attempt to ignore, undermine, and undo the will of the American people never before seen in our history; and a new wave of aggressive attacks on voting rights taking place in states across the country, I applaud Speaker Pelosi and the House of Representatives for passing H.R. 1, the For the People Act of 2021," Biden said.
The would automatically register Americans to vote, restore the right to vote for felon and expand absentee and early voting. Biden, in the statement, also praised that the bill would curtail "outrageous gerrymandering" and the right for the Justice Department to crack down on racially motivated voting laws.
The bill is expected to hit a roadblock in the Senate, where Democrats will need to win the support of 10 Republicans to get the bill on to Biden’s desk. Still Biden stressed that he "look forward to signing it into law after it has passed through the legislative process, so that together we can strengthen and restore American democracy for the next election and all those to come."
Mar 04, 8:58 am
Biden sets sights on infrastructure
Biden, Harris, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg meet with bipartisan House members in the Oval Office this afternoon. As Biden gets ready for his final push for COVID-19 relief, he is setting his sights on his next big legislative goal: infrastructure.
But tackling that will be no small feat for Biden. Infrastructure was something former President Donald Trump wanted to tackle, even pitching a $1.5 trillion plan, but was never able to achieve. The American Society of Civil Engineers released the 2021 Infrastructure Report Card this week, published every four years, and gave American infrastructure a C- grade for the first time in 20 years. That’s up from a D+ in 2017.
After that meeting, the president will participate in a virtual call to congratulate the NASA Perseverance team on the successful Mars landing. White House press secretary Jen Psaki will hold a press briefing at 12:45 p.m., and will be joined by Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough.
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