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Live Updates: Capitol Police Head Asks to Extend National Guard Deployment Amid Continued Threats

Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

The acting chief of the Capitol Police on Thursday formally asked the Defense Department to keep thousands of National Guard troops on Capitol Hill beyond their scheduled departure next week, as she warned of an increase in threats against lawmakers.

The request came only after Yogananda D. Pittman, the acting chief, appealed to congressional leaders to intervene after the board that oversees her department initially failed to give her permission to request that the deployment be extended — even as the police alerted the public to another possible assault against the Capitol this week.

That plot by an unnamed militia group to target lawmakers at the Capitol on March 4 had not materialized as of Thursday evening. But the disconnect between the Capitol Police chief and the three-member board that oversees the agency underscored the bureaucratic structure and communication breakdowns that have hampered security, including slowing the request for the National Guard to respond to the assault on the complex on Jan. 6.

In a letter sent to House and Senate leaders in both parties, Chief Pittman said she had asked the Capitol Police Board to extend the emergency declaration that prompted the deployment, which began during the assault on the Capitol, beyond March 12, when it is slated to expire.

“To date, U.S.C.P. has not received the required authorization to request an extension of National Guard support,” Chief Pittman wrote to the top four leaders of Congress, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader.

“In eight days, the National Guard is scheduled to leave the Capitol complex,” she wrote, and keeping them would require a formal request authorized by the board. “Therefore, we respectfully request your assistance in obtaining the required authorization.”

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Later Thursday, Capitol Police announced they had received authorization to formally ask for the Defense Department to extend the guard’s stay.

Concern over another attack on the Capitol about two months after the Jan. 6 rampage came as intelligence analysts have been tracking online chatter by some adherents of the pro-Trump conspiracy theory known as QAnon. Some of the theory’s followers appeared to have latched onto March 4 — the original inauguration date set in the Constitution — as the day Mr. Trump would be restored to the presidency and renew his crusade against the country’s enemies.

On Thursday afternoon, a senior defense official, speaking on background, said that the Pentagon had received an “informal preliminary request” regarding a potential extension of the Guard mission at the Capitol, but declined to offer any specifics because there has been no formal request from the Capitol Police specifying how many troops they might want and how long they would like them to be there.

Representative Elissa Slotkin, a Michigan Democrat whose state has supplied some of the troops, said Thursday she had heard from her contacts within the guard that the request was for a 60-day extension.

“I am hearing from contacts at the National Guard that the U.S. Capitol Police have asked for a 60-day extension of the Guard’s mission in and around the Capitol,” Ms. Slotkin said.

She added, “It’s critical that members of Congress get a briefing on what’s behind these decisions.”

The possible extension of the deployment was reported earlier by The Associated Press.

Since the riot, the perimeter of the Capitol has been ringed with new fencing, topped with razor wire. Chief Pittman also said on Thursday that the Capitol Police board was recommending the department begin removing fencing around parts of the complex starting on Monday, followed by the removal of more fencing by March 12.

After being caught flat-footed by rioters in January, the Capitol Police and some members of Congress appeared to take the warnings of a threat on Thursday seriously. House leaders opted to move up a vote on policing legislation from Thursday to Wednesday night so lawmakers could leave Washington earlier than planned. But the Senate proceeded with its legislative business on Thursday, as Democrats hoped to push Mr. Biden’s $1.9 trillion aid package through the chamber by the weekend.

Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, forced the chamber’s clerks to read aloud the text of the bill, which stretches for more than 600 pages.
Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

The Senate voted on Thursday to start debate on the $1.9 trillion economic stimulus plan, bringing Democrats one step closer to pushing President Biden’s first major legislative initiative through the chamber.

The vote was split evenly along party lines, a signal of the widespread Republican opposition to the aid package, which cleared the House last weekend with no Republican votes. Vice President Kamala Harris broke the tie in the Senate to allow debate to begin.

Democrats immediately ran into an attempt to drag out the proceedings, as Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, forced the chamber’s clerks to read aloud the text of the bill, which stretches for more than 600 pages. That was expected to take several hours, preventing debate to move forward for most of the evening.




House Passes Sweeping Police Reform Bill Named for George Floyd

House lawmakers passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act late Wednesday, aimed at combating racial discrimination and excessive use of force. The bill was first passed last summer, before stalling in the Senate.

Thirty years after the world saw the brutal beating of Rodney King — I was in Los Angeles at the time, and I remember when that video was released, I thought that was going to be the moment that policing was transformed in the United States because finally, the world would see what had been happening in Black communities for over a century. After Rodney King’s brutal beating, nothing fundamentally changed in the country. Years later, we had cellphone cameras, and now we have seen video after video after video of people being beat and people being killed. That is the reason for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Two measures of the bill hold police officers accountable, and then other measures of the bill support raising the standards and accreditation process of policing in the United States.” “George Floyd gasped his last words, ‘I can’t breathe,’ and ignited a nationwide reckoning on the racial injustice and police brutality that exists in our country. ‘I can’t breathe.’ Since then, Americans from every corner of the country, and actually people throughout the world, have taken to the streets to peacefully protest violence against Black Americans. Yet despite these protests, violence continues. We cannot accept this epidemic of injustice, which is why we will pass and send — well, we have passed now — we have passed and sent to the Senate and to president, the president, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, so it can become the law of the land.”

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House lawmakers passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act late Wednesday, aimed at combating racial discrimination and excessive use of force. The bill was first passed last summer, before stalling in the Senate.CreditCredit…Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Times

House Democrats passed a sweeping federal policing overhaul on Wednesday that would combat racial discrimination and excessive use of force in law enforcement, as lawmakers seek to rekindle bipartisan negotiations on the issue.

The House first passed the legislation last summer, in an effort to respond to an outpouring of demands for racial justice after the killings of Black Americans across the country, including George Floyd, for whom the bill was named. But in the months since, Republican opposition in the House and Senate has only hardened, making its passage through the Senate exceedingly unlikely for now.

The House vote was 220 to 212, with two Democrats joining Republicans to vote no. One Republican voted to pass the overhaul, but quickly said it had been a mistake.

Progressives are plotting to use the opposition as an example of Republican obstruction as they build their case for Senate Democrats to jettison the legislative filibuster, to lower the threshold for Senate passage from 60 to just a simple majority. But Representative Karen Bass, Democrat of California and the bill’s principal author, said in an interview this week that she held out hope she could reach common ground with a cadre of Senate Republicans, led by Tim Scott of South Carolina, who had put together their own more modest proposal last summer.

“There is tremendous good faith and good will between Senator Scott and me,” Ms. Bass said, though she conceded that there had been a “loss in momentum” in favor of an overhaul since last summer.

The political shift was evident on Wednesday and may prove too formidable to overcome. After handling Democrats’ proposal gently last summer, Republicans made outright attacking liberal policing proposals a key plank of their 2020 campaigns and emerged convinced it was successful.

Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the Republican leader, repeated one of those attacks on Thursday, asserting that the bill would “defund the police” by imposing “mountains of new regulations” that would drain departments’ resources. The attack sought to conflate the House Democrats’ effort with calls by progressive activists to shrink or otherwise pull resources from departments — which the lawmakers in Washington who crafted the bill explicitly rejected.

“Democrats just doubled down as the party of Defunding the Police,” Mr. McCarthy wrote on Twitter.

The House bill would amount to the most significant federal intervention into law enforcement in years. It would change legal protections that shield police officers from lawsuits, known as qualified immunity, and make it easier to prosecute them for wrongdoing. It would also impose a new set of restrictions on the use of deadly force, and effectively ban the use of chokeholds.

Law enforcement organizations and police unions have forcefully opposed the measure, and the Trump administration had threatened a veto, arguing it would weaken law enforcement agencies. President Biden supports the bill.

George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, died in Minneapolis on May 25 after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground under the knee of a white police officer for more than nine minutes as he protested, “I can’t breathe.” The county medical examiner ruled the death a homicide.

Jury selection is set to begin on Monday for the trial of the officer, Derek Chauvin, who was fired and charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Three other former officers involved in Mr. Floyd’s death will be tried separately.

Blanca Estella Flores Lopez, 25, with her daughter Caterin, 18 months, in a Texas bus station where they were dropped off by Border Patrol after being detained for three days.
Credit…Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times

In an attempt to prevent the detention of migrant families for weeks or months at a time, the Biden administration plans to release parents and children within 72 hours of their arrival in the United States, a new policy that already is being carried out along the Texas border.

The plan, confirmed on Thursday by three Homeland Security officials, marks a significant departure from the handling of migrant families under the Trump and Obama administrations, when children often showed symptoms of depression and trauma after spending long periods in custody with their parents.

The decision to avoid lengthy detention of families comes amid a significant spike in the number arriving at the southwestern border in recent months that has posed an early test of President Biden’s pledge to create a more humanitarian approach to immigration.

Former President Donald J. Trump had vowed to end what he called the “catch and release” policies of his predecessors and significantly increased the number of asylum-seekers who were held in detention facilities, rather than being allowed to settle around the country as they waited for the immigration courts to decide whether they could stay.

Under the latest plan, Immigration and Customs Enforcement will hold families only for the time required to schedule court dates, conduct Covid-19 tests and arrange for them to be transferred to shelters, where volunteers and aid workers help schedule their travel to join relatives already in the country.

It was not clear when the plan would be fully rolled out, according to the officials, who spoke under condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

About 100 families per day would be processed and released from two existing family residential centers in Texas. Those who test positive for the coronavirus would remain in isolation at a border facility for 10 days.

As of Thursday, several dozen migrants traveling as families were being held at a facility in Karnes City, Texas, and more than 300 at another, in Dilley, Texas. The two detention centers have a combined capacity of 3,200.

Immigrant advocates said they welcomed the change, but insisted that families should not be detained for any period of time.

“The changes at the Karnes and Dilley family prisons are, at best, reversible operational changes that reduce the harm of long-term detention, and at worst, a temporary move to quell concern about this controversial immigration policy,” said Andrea Meza, director of family detention services at Raices, a nonprofit organization in Texas that represents immigrants. “Medical and mental health experts unilaterally agree that there is no safe way to detain a child.”




House Democrats Push for Sweeping Voting Rights Bill

House Democrats argued for a federal expansion of voting rights on Wednesday as Republicans attempt to limit ballot access in states across the country following the 2020 election.

“This is called the For the People bill, and in doing so we combat big, dark, special-interest money in politics and amplify the voice of the American people. We fight foreign interference in our elections. We expand voting rights, we fight political gerrymandering and we crack down on corruption.” “H.R. 1, the For the People Act, will put a stop to the voter suppression that we’re seeing being debated right now in Georgia by taking an aim at the institutional barriers to voting. H.R. 1 would also create a national standard for voter registration, because your ZIP code should not determine your access to the ballot box.” “After that enormous turnout, we saw Republican legislatures all over the country try and stop that voting, to stop the absentee voting, to impose barriers, to make it harder for Americans to vote. H.R. 1 would put a stop to that. And it’s absolutely essential because nothing else happens unless the people’s voices are heard.”

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House Democrats argued for a federal expansion of voting rights on Wednesday as Republicans attempt to limit ballot access in states across the country following the 2020 election.CreditCredit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

Even as Congress was poised to pass the biggest relief package in the country’s history, attention quickly turned this week to the fundamental issue of voting rights in America, a partisan struggle that will define and perhaps decide elections in 2022, 2024 and beyond.

The decades-long fight over ballot access was largely overshadowed by former President Donald J. Trump’s personality-based politics.

But Mr. Trump’s loss was a warning call to Republicans — summed up in an admission from Mr. Trump’s ally Lindsey Graham after the defeat that “there will never be another Republican president” unless expanded mail-in voting, a key driver of Democratic success, was squashed.

Mr. Trump’s loss has sparked an instant backlash in states with conservative legislative majorities, uniting anti-Trump and pro-Trump factions in the common cause of self-preservation. All told, state lawmakers have introduced more than 250 bills in 43 states that would tighten voting rules, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.

The most prominent is Georgia, where Republican leaders reeling from Democrats’ unexpected statewide victories in the presidential election and two Senate races have unabashedly sought to clamp down on ballot access by advancing sharp limits to voting by mail and early voting on Sundays, when many Black voters cast ballots after church services.

This battle is fast defining life in Washington. On Thursday, the U.S. Capitol was on lockdown after security officials warned of a potential attack by extremists, many of them inspired, as were the Jan. 6 rioters, by Mr. Trump’s false claims that Democrats stole the election through fraudulent means, including expanded voter access and extended deadlines.

Late Wednesday, House Democrats pushed through a sweeping expansion of federal voting rights over unified Republican opposition. The measure was aimed at countering Republican attempts to clamp down on ballot access in states across as they attempt to claw back gains by Democrats who took advantage of expanded mail-in-voting and extended voting periods during the pandemic.

The bill, adopted 220 to 210 mostly along party lines, would be the most significant enhancement of federal voting protections since the 1960s if it became law. It aims to impose new national requirements weakening restrictive state voter identification laws, mandate automatic voter registration, expand early and mail-in voting, make it harder to purge voter rolls and restore voting rights to former felons — changes that studies suggest would increase turnout, especially by nonwhite voters.

But the measure, which is supported by President Biden, appears to be doomed for now in the Senate, where Republican opposition would make it all but impossible to draw the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster and advance.

The debate is spilling into popular culture. More Than a Vote, founded by the basketball star LeBron James last year, will join with the N.B.A. and other groups to protest the actions in Georgia at this weekend’s All-Star Game in Atlanta.

“This last election won’t change anything if we don’t keep working,” Mr. James wrote to his 49 million followers on Twitter on Tuesday.

Representative Deb Haaland of New Mexico is President Biden’s nominee to be interior secretary.
Credit…Pool photo by Graeme Jennings

A Senate committee on Thursday approved Deb Haaland to be the next secretary of the interior, with the support of Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, a key Republican from an oil-producing state, virtually ensuring her confirmation by the Senate later this month.

Ms. Haaland will be leading an agency that oversees the nation’s over 500 million acres of public land, and will make history as the first Native American to head a cabinet department.

Ms. Murkowski joined another center-right Republican, Senator Susan Collins of Maine, in backing Ms. Haaland, a Democratic congresswoman from New Mexico who has expressed her intention to crack down on the use of fossil fuels throughout her career.

Ms. Murkowski said she weighed the importance of the oil and gas industry to her state’s economy — and Ms. Haaland’s “historic nomination” for Alaska’s Natives, who make up 18 percent of the state’s population.

“I have really struggled with this one,” Ms. Murkowski said just before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted, 11 to 9, to greenlight her confirmation.

While some oil and gas organizations have lobbied against Ms. Haaland, a large and well-organized group of Native, progressive and environmental activists have also pushed to send the message to lawmakers that a vote against Ms. Haaland in the Senate could translate to a loss of Native American votes.

Ms. Murkowski said that before reaching her decision, she met with Ms. Haaland twice, each time for over an hour.

Ms. Haaland was likely to be approved, even without Republican support, although the Biden administration lobbied hard behind the scenes to ensure that Ms. Murkowski and Ms. Collins were on board. Last week, Senator Joe Manchin III, a conservative Democrat from coal-producing West Virginia, signaled his support for Ms. Haaland, ensuring she would be confirmed if no other Democrats defected at the last minute.

That Ms. Haaland’s nomination is now on a gliding path comes as a relief to White House officials who have spent much of the past two weeks fruitlessly trying to salvage the nomination of Neera Tanden as budget director.

During a contentious confirmation hearing last month, Republicans questioned Ms. Haaland’s long-held opposition to most drilling on federal property, with Ms. Murkowski expressing concern about an executive order signed by President Biden on his first day in office that placed a temporary moratorium on oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Her constituents in Alaska, Ms. Murkowski said, were “looking at this and saying, ‘Wait a minute, why is this administration out to get us?’”

Ms. Haaland, who kept her answers short, reassured Ms. Murkowski that she planned to work closely with her on regulatory issues.

Most of Mr. Biden’s early nominees have been confirmed without much fuss. But many Senate Republicans have announced they will oppose Ms. Haaland, along with Xavier Becerra, the president’s pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, on policy grounds.

On Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee deadlocked over Mr. Becerra’s nomination, in a 14-to-14 party line vote, that allows Senate Democrats to bring the nomination to the floor, where it will almost certainly be approved with Vice President Kamala Harris casting a tiebreaking vote.

A number of C.I.A. officers and diplomats working at the American embassy in Havana first came down with the symptoms in 2016 and 2017.
Credit…Alexandre Meneghini/Reuters

A new C.I.A. task force is trying to expand efforts to find the cause of a series of mysterious incidents that injured its officers around the world, the agency said this week, episodes that have occurred in Cuba, China, Russia and elsewhere.

The task force will work with the State Department as well as other intelligence agencies to gather fresh evidence about the episodes and re-examine existing material to draw conclusions on whether attacks occurred and, if so, what caused the injuries and who was responsible.

In recent years, dozens of intelligence officials and diplomats have been affected with what has become known as the Havana syndrome, a constellation of symptoms including headaches, memory loss, dizziness and more.

“C.I.A. is working alongside other government agencies to double down on our efforts to find answers regarding the unexplained global health incidents that have impacted personnel,” said Timothy L. Barrett, the C.I.A. press secretary. “The agency’s top priority has been and continues to be the well-being of all of our officers.”

Although the task force was formally established in December, the announcement of the new efforts comes after William J. Burns, the Biden administration’s nominee to lead the C.I.A., pledged during his confirmation hearing to review the evidence surrounding the incidents, which he described as attacks on agency personnel.

A number of C.I.A. officers and diplomats working at the American embassy in Havana came down with the symptoms in 2016 and 2017. In 2018, more Americans working in Guangzhou, China, started experiencing the symptoms. A third group of C.I.A. officers, many of them working on countering Russian intelligence activities, have been affected in a variety of countries. The incidents have continued in recent months.

Some current and former government officials believe Russia is behind the incidents, though neither the State Department nor C.I.A. has reached that conclusion.

A report from the National Academy of Sciences said a microwave weapon was most likely the cause of the injuries. While the report has convinced a number of the victims, some experts have viewed skeptically the evidence a microwave weapon was responsible.

The Senate Intelligence Committee unanimously approved Mr. Burns’s nomination on Tuesday, setting up a vote for his confirmation by the full Senate. The vote is expected next week, but the exact timing has not been set.

Richard Barnett of Gravette, Ark., posed for photographs while sitting at a desk in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office during the siege at the Capitol.
Credit…Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA, via Shutterstock

Richard Barnett, the Arkansas man charged with breaking into Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and stealing her mail during the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, threw a tantrum during a virtual court hearing on Thursday, yelling at the judge and his own lawyers that it wasn’t “fair” that he was still in jail weeks after his arrest.

One of the most recognizable figures from the Capitol assault, Mr. Barnett, 60, was photographed on Jan. 6 with his feet up on a desk in Ms. Pelosi’s office and a cattle-prod-like stun gun dangling from his belt.

From the moment he was taken into custody, he has waged an ongoing — and so far unsuccessful — effort to be freed on bond, and he loudly lost his patience with the process at an otherwise routine hearing in front of Judge Christopher Cooper of Federal District Court in Washington.

Appearing by video from jail, Mr. Barnett erupted into anger after Judge Cooper set the next court date in his case for a day in May, shouting that he did not want to remain behind bars for “another month.”

“They’re dragging this out!” he hollered. “They’re letting everybody else out!”

After a brief recess to calm the defendant down, Judge Cooper resumed the hearing, saying he would consider a new motion for release if and when Mr. Barnett’s lawyers filed one.

Elaine Chao, then the transportation secretary, during a meeting with the Chinese premier, Li Keqiang, in Beijing, in 2018.
Credit…Pool photo by Naohiko Hatta

It was late summer 2017, and staff members at the Transportation Department were working feverishly to nail down details for the first planned trip to Asia by their boss, Elaine Chao, a visit that was slated to include meetings with senior government officials in China.

But alarm bells were going off in the department’s general counsel’s office. Ms. Chao’s aides had been instructed to include her father and sister — who ran a global shipping business with major operations in China — in high-level meetings during the trip.

Ethics lawyers quickly flagged the plans as problematic, noting that they could benefit the Chao family business, the Foremost Group, in an industry overseen by the Transportation Department.

“The ethics team expressed concerns that if the secretary were to engage in ‘public diplomacy’ events at locations closely connected with the Foremost Group, it would provide an inappropriate advantage, in the form of publicity, to Secretary Chao’s family’s business,” notes taken by Transportation Department lawyers in September 2017 said.

The notes, made public this week in a new report issued by Transportation Department’s inspector general, show how officials in the department were worried early in Ms. Chao’s tenure about what the inspector general would later determine to be a pattern of using her office to benefit her family.

The ethics concerns reached Jeffrey A. Rosen, then the Transportation Department’s deputy secretary, who later moved to the Justice Department.

More than three years after the ethics lawyers raised concerns about Ms. Chao’s trip to China — which was later canceled — Mr. Rosen was the deputy attorney general in the closing weeks of the Trump administration when the inspector general referred the findings about the mixing of Ms. Chao’s official duties and family business for possible criminal investigation. Two divisions of the Justice Department declined in mid-December to open an investigation.

There is no indication that Mr. Rosen was involved in that decision. He could not immediately be reached for comment.

But the sequence of events has put new attention on how the Justice Department under the Trump administration handled a decision not to undertake a criminal investigation of Ms. Chao, a prominent cabinet member who is married to one of the most powerful Republicans in Washington: Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader.

The inspector general’s report has provided new details of how Ms. Chao’s role as transportation secretary intersected with her role as a member of a family with a huge financial stake in the shipping industry.

A spokesman for Ms. Chao said on Wednesday that the report had cleared her of any wrongdoing. The report did not conclude that Ms. Chao had violated any ethics rules or laws, but detailed examples of how she had used or sought to use her office to promote her family.

A U.S. Air Force MQ-1B Predator drone in the Persian Gulf region in 2016. Counterterrorism drone warfare has reached its fourth administration with President Biden.
Credit…John Moore/Getty Images

The Biden administration has quietly imposed temporary limits on counterterrorism drone strikes and commando raids outside conventional battlefield zones like Afghanistan and Syria, and it has begun a broad review of whether to tighten Trump-era rules for such operations, according to officials.

The military and the C.I.A. must now obtain White House permission to attack terrorism suspects in poorly governed places where there are scant American ground troops, like Somalia and Yemen. Under the Trump administration, they had been allowed to decide for themselves whether circumstances on the ground met certain conditions and an attack was justified.

Officials characterized the tighter controls as a stopgap while the Biden administration reviewed how targeting worked — both on paper and in practice — under former President Donald J. Trump and developed its own policy and procedures for counterterrorism kill-or-capture operations outside war zones, including how to minimize the risk of civilian casualties.

The Biden administration did not announce the new limits. But the national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, issued the order on Jan. 20, the day of President Biden’s inauguration, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Counterterrorism drone warfare has reached its fourth administration with Mr. Biden. As President Barack Obama’s vice president, Mr. Biden was part of a previous administration that oversaw a major escalation in targeted killings using remote-piloted aircraft in its first term, and then imposed significant new restraints on the practice in its second.

While the Biden administration still permits counterterrorism strikes outside active war zones, the additional review and bureaucratic hurdles it has imposed may explain a recent lull in such operations. The United States military’s Africa Command has carried out about half a dozen airstrikes this calendar year in Somalia targeting the Shabab, a terrorist group affiliated with Al Qaeda — but all were before Jan. 20.

Emily Horne, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council, acknowledged that Mr. Biden had issued “interim guidance” about the use of military force and related national security operations.

The Biden team is also weighing whether to restore an Obama-era order that had required the government to annually disclose estimates of how many suspected terrorists and civilian bystanders it had killed in airstrikes outside war zones. Mr. Obama invoked that requirement in 2016, but Mr. Trump removed it in 2019. The military separately publishes some information about its strikes in places like Somalia, but the C.I.A. does not.

The Congressional Budget Office projected on Thursday that the federal budget deficit will begin to decline in the coming years as the United States economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic but will rise again during the second half of the decade and climb steadily over the following 20 years.By 2051, the federal debt is expected to double as a share of the economy.

The projections offer near-term hope for the nation’s fiscal situation, which is expected to improve as government spending on the pandemic subsides when normal business activity resumes as more Americans get vaccinated and find employment. But the nonpartisan office forecast a more challenging long-term outlook, as interest costs rise and federal spending on health programs swells along with an aging population.

“A growing debt burden could increase the risk of a fiscal crisis and higher inflation as well as undermine confidence in the U.S. dollar, making it more costly to finance public and private activity in international markets,” the C.B.O. report said.

The outlook also does not reflect the additional spending that Congress is expected to approve this year, which will likely include a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill and a large infrastructure package. That package, which will be financed with borrowed money, is expected to exacerbate the budget deficit in the near-term, according to previous C.B.O. estimates.

The C.B.O. said that the federal budget deficit — the gap between what the U.S. spends and what it takes in taxes and other revenue — is expected to be 10.3 percent of gross domestic product this year, the second-highest level since 1945. The deficit is expected to decline to 5.7 percent of G.D.P. by the end of the decade as spending to combat the pandemic eases and growth picks up. But in the following two decades the budget gap will again widen, climbing to 13.3 percent by 2051, it said.

Federal debt held by the public is expected to be 102 percent of G.D.P. by the end of this year and nearly double that — 202 percent — in 30 years. The C.B.O. warned that such high debt levels will lift borrowing costs, slow economic output and raise the risk of a fiscal crisis.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a fiscal watchdog group, warned after a preliminary forecast was released last month that the nation’s long-term outlook was an “air raid siren that can be heard for miles.” It said the mounting debt would make it harder to address income inequality and to make needed infrastructure improvements.

Other fiscal warning signs also abound. The Peterson Foundation noted that net interest on the national debt will total $61 trillion over the next 30 years, growing to 47 percent of federal revenues by 2051.

“These payments obviously do nothing to help address the many important challenges we face, such as climate change, infrastructure, economic justice and national security,” said Michael Peterson, chief executive of the foundation.

Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen pointed to the interest burden as a metric to watch at her confirmation hearing in January, noting that when tax revenue is needed to pay the interest it could lead to other necessary services or spending being curtailed.

Col. Anthony Henderson in 2016 at Camp Pendleton in California.
Credit…Lance Cpl. Tyler Byther/United States Marine Corps.

The Marine Corps is promoting Col. Anthony Henderson, a combat-tested Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, to brigadier general, a move that cracks the doorway for the service to potentially promote an African-American to its most senior ranks.

The Marine Corps, which had passed over Colonel Henderson for four years, has placed him on a highly selective list of nine colonels to be granted a coveted one star that denotes general rank status — brigadier general. The list, which was signed by President Biden, arrived Wednesday evening at the Senate Armed Services Committee, to start the required confirmation process, according to the committee’s website.

Normally, such promotions would not garner much attention. But Colonel Henderson is a Black man with combat command experience in a service — the Marines — that has never, in its 245-year history, had a four-star officer who was not a white man. And even the one-, two- and three-star Marine Corps officer positions are predominantly white and male — particularly the ones in the combat specialties that feed the four-star ranks.

If Colonel Henderson is confirmed by the Senate, he will become the rare Black general with a shot of getting all the way to the top.

“Tony Henderson has the potential to be the commandant of the Marine Corps,” said retired Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Bailey, the first Black man to command the First Marine Division, from 2011 to 2013. “He’s an individual who will work above and beyond what is required. This is well overdue.”

Colonel Henderson, 53, was passed over three times for brigadier general. In 2019, the Navy secretary, Richard V. Spencer, even added a handwritten recommendation to Colonel Henderson’s candidacy.

But each time, the promotion board demurred, and instead forwarded slates made up primarily of white men.

Current and former Marines pointed to Colonel Henderson’s tendency to speak his mind as an explanation for why he was passed over in the past, but those are traits that have not disqualified white Marine colonels. The Marine Corps’ decision to add Colonel Henderson to its list of brigadier generals followed an examination of his career by The New York Times.

The Marines have long cultivated a reputation as the nation’s toughest fighting force, but it remains an institution where a handful of white men command 185,000 white, African-American, Hispanic and Asian men and women.

Since the Corps first admitted African-American troops in 1942, the last military service to do so, only 25 have obtained the rank of general in any form. Not one has made it to the top four-star rank, an honor the Marines have, so far, bestowed solely on white men — 72 of them.

Six African-Americans reached lieutenant general, or three stars. The rest have received one or two stars, the majority in areas such as logistics and transportation and communications, specialties that, unlike combat arms, rarely lead into the most senior leadership.


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