1/ The Senate passed the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package. The American Rescue Plan includes $1,400 stimulus checks for hundreds of millions of Americans, $300-per-week jobless benefits until early September, a child allowance of up to $3,600 for one year, $350 billion for state aid, $34 billion to expand Affordable Care Act subsidies, and $14 billion for vaccine distribution. “I promised the American people help was on the way,” Biden said. “Today, I can say we’ve taken one more giant step of delivering on that promise.” The final vote was 50-49 along party lines. The legislation will have to be passed by the House again before Biden can sign it into law, because the Senate made changes to its version. The Senate bill limited the number of people receiving direct payments, capping them at $80,000 in income for individuals and $160,000 for couples. It also reduced the jobless benefit to $300 from $400 in the House bill. The House plans to pass the relief bill as soon as Tuesday, putting Biden on track to sign his first major legislative accomplishment into law by the end of the week. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, meanwhile, said that the Treasury Department was still “working on” the exact timeline of the stimulus check rollout, but that the White House expected “a large number of Americans to receive relief by the end of the month.” (NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post / ABC News / CNBC / Washington Post)

  • 😷 Dept. of “We Have It Totally Under Control.”

  • Global: Total confirmed cases: ~117,061,000; deaths: ~2,598,000

  • U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~29,034,000; deaths: ~526,000; fully vaccinated: ~9.4%; partially vaccinated: ~18.1%

  • Source: Johns Hopkins University / Washington Post

  • More than one in five adults have now received at least one coronavirus vaccine dose, and just over one in ten have received two doses. The U.S. administered 5.3 million vaccines over the weekend, and is now administering more than 2 million shots a day on average. New coronavirus cases in the U.S., meanwhile, posted the slowest weekly increase since the pandemic began almost a year ago. (CNBC / Bloomberg)

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said the number of vaccine doses available will sharply rise in the coming weeks following federal approval of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose shot. (CBS News)

2/ New CDC guidance says that people who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 can safely visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing a mask or social distancing. The recommendations also say that vaccinated people can visit indoors with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe Covid-19 disease. The CDC, however, recommends that vaccinated people continue to adhere to public health restrictions, such as mask wearing and social distancing while in public. Dr. Anthony Fauci also warned that it is too early to end Covid-19 restrictions, saying “we’re going in the right direction but we just need to hang on a bit longer.” The guidelines continue to discourage visits involving long-distance travel. (Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / ABC News / CNN / NBC News / The Guardian)

3/ Russian intelligence agencies are spreading disinformation to undermine confidence in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The State Department’s Global Engagement Center identified four Russian websites spreading misinformation about the virus, as well as “international organizations, military conflicts, protests; and any divisive issue that they can exploit.” The campaign has played up the risk of side effects, questioned the efficacy of the vaccines, and said the U.S. rushed the Pfizer vaccine through the approval process, among other false or misleading claims. (Wall Street Journal / CNN)

4/ The Biden administration notified facilities handling migrant children that they can expand to full, pre-Covid-19 capacity, acknowledging “extraordinary circumstances” due to a rising number of minors crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Shelters had been operating at 50% capacity to slow the spread of the coronavirus. A separate CDC document, however, says “facilities should plan for and expect to have Covid-19 cases,” citing the nature of the pandemic and that “there is no 0% risk scenario.” (CNN / Axios)

5/ The Biden administration granted temporary protected status to up to 320,000 Venezuelan migrants in the United States. The designation offers legal protections for 18 months to Venezuelans unable to safely return home because of natural disaster, violence, or civil unrest. Eligibility extends only to those in the country as of March 8 who apply within the next 180 days and meet vetting requirements. (Politico / Washington Post)

poll/ 68% of Americans approve of Biden’s approach to the pandemic. 56% of Americans think loosening mask mandates and restrictions on public gatherings is happening too quickly. (ABC News)

✏️ Notables.

  1. Biden signed executive orders that would establish a Gender Policy Council within the White House and direct the Department of Education to review Trump administration policy changes to Title IX, which overhauled how schools and universities handle complaints of sexual assault and misconduct. (NPR / Bloomberg / NBC News / Washington Post)

  2. Biden nominated two female generals to elite, four-star commands – months after their Pentagon bosses had agreed on their promotions but held them back out of fears that Trump would reject the officers because they were women. (New York Times)

  3. Biden signed an executive order directing federal agencies to take a series of steps to promote voting access in what the White House calls “an initial step” in its efforts to “protect the right to vote and ensure all eligible citizens can freely participate in the electoral process.” Biden signed the order on the 56th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” when civil rights activists marching for the right to vote were brutally beaten by police while crossing Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. (Associated Press / CBS News / CNN)

  4. Georgia’s Republican-controlled state Legislature is moving quickly to push through dozens of “election integrity” bills, which would, among other things, limit mail-in voting primarily to Georgians who are elderly, disabled or out of town on Election Day. One new proposal has targeted Sunday voting, which could reduce the impact of Black voters in the state. (New York Times / NBC News)

  5. The Supreme Court rejected Trump’s final challenge to overturn the presidential election, dismissing his appeal of lower court rulings that upheld Wisconsin’s handling of mail-in ballots. (NBC News / USA Today)

  6. The FBI said a member of the far-right nationalist Proud Boys was in communication with the Trump White House in the days before the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. The FBI would not reveal the names of either party. Separately, a leader of the far-right group said he had been in touch with Roger Stone while at a protest in front of Marco Rubio’s home. During the protest, Enrique Tarrio put Stone on speaker phone to address the gathering. (New York Times)

  7. Sen. Roy Blunt will not run for reelection in 2022. Blunt joins four other Republican senators – Rob Portman, Pat Toomey, Richard Shelby, and Richard Burr – to not seek reelection. (Politico / CNN)

  8. Trump’s lawyers sent cease-and-desist letters to three of the largest GOP fundraising groups for using his name and likeness on fundraising emails and merchandise. Trump was reportedly upset that his name was being used without permission by groups that had helped Republicans who voted to impeach him. (CNBC / Politico)