December 23, 2020 
The women that Biden has appointed have a diverse range of life-experiences and careers that make them especially equipped to lead with kindness and compassion. This week, we celebrate the women that will shape American policy for far longer than the next four years.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield - U.N. Ambassador Linda was raised by parents who never made it past middle school in segregated Louisiana with a heavy KKK presence.   

Katherine Tai - U.S. Trade Representative The daughter of immigrant parents from Taiwan, Katherine will be the first woman of color to serve as the U.S. Trade Representative and pledges to bring a racial justice focus to trade policy.

Susan Rice - Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council Susan's maternal grandparents were Jamaican immigrants and her paternal grandparents were descendants of slaves from Carolina.

Janet Yellen - Treasury Secretary Janet will be the first woman to lead the treasury in its 231-year history after being the first woman to lead a major central bank anywhere in the world.

Avril Haines - Director of National Intelligence Avril will be the first woman to lead the intelligence community. She worked as a mechanic throughout college and owned an independent bookstore before a storied intelligence career.

Marcia Fudge - Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia will bring a civil rights focus back to HUD and promote affordable housing programs that the Trump administration tried to undermine.   

Neera Tanden - Director of the Office of Management and Budget Neera will be the first woman of color, and the first Asian American, to lead the OMB. She was raised by a single immigrant mother on welfare, which motivated her to enter politics. 

Jennifer M. Granholm - Secretary of Energy In the 1980s, Jennifer spent time in France and helped smuggle clothing and medical supplies to Jews in the Soviet Union.  

Gina McCarthy - White House Climate Coordinator Gina credits her degree in anthropology and women's studies as "the best education I could have for working in government." 

Deb Haaland - Secretary of the Interior Deb is the first Native American appointed to Cabinet Secretary in American history. A member of the Pueblo Laguna, she is a single mother who raised her child while on food stamps and put herself through law school.
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U.S. Senate on January 5, 2021
Arab States, Israel Say They Want in on Biden's Future Iran Talks

Some of the Iran nuclear deal's fiercest opponents are urging President-elect Joe Biden to let them have a say -- and maybe even a seat at the negotiating table -- in future talks with Tehran. Representatives of some Gulf Arab countries as well as Israel are raising the idea in private and public conversations in the run up to the start of the Biden administration. After all, ambassadors of three of the countries argued that they have more at stake than the United States or the other countries who crafted the 2015 nuclear agreement with Tehran. Bringing them on board, they add, would beef up the U.S. leverage over Iran. 
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Beware: Post-COVID Antisemitism

During the corona era, the focus of antisemitic attacks turned to the online arena, where some conspiracy theorists have blamed Jews for creating and spreading the virus (perhaps especially, by the way, in the UK). With vaccinations and a return to normal life on the horizon in 2021, we anticipate that this deep-rooted antisemitism will continue its ascent from before Covid, and once again pose a physical peril to the safety and security of the Jewish population.
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The Supreme Court Doesn't Hold All the Power When It Comes to Abortion Rights. Here Are 2 Things the Biden Administration Can Do to Extend Access
The Supreme Court is not the only forum for protecting abortion access, and new leadership for executive agencies matters more than has been popularly discussed. The Biden Administration could take two related actions -- one right after taking office and one a few months later -- that would help provide early and safe abortion to many thousands of people. All eyes are on new appointments to President-elect Joe Biden's Administration, with great speculation about which policies those appointees will change first.
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The Supreme Court's Confusing New 'Religious Liberty' Order, Explained
The Supreme Court justices' previous decisions concerning religious objections to pandemic-related public health orders suggest that the Court is torn between two goals. Some members of the Court -- especially Chief Justice John Roberts -- have emphasized the need for courts to defer to state public health officials during crises like the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, a majority of the Court seems eager to significantly expand the rights of religious conservatives who seek exemptions from state laws. Read together, the decisions in Danville Christian and Roman Catholic Diocese suggest that the Court may have struck a balance between these two goals.
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Stimulus Deal Includes Raft of Provisions to Fight Climate Change

In one of the biggest victories for U.S. climate action in a decade, Congress has moved to phase out a class of potent planet-warming chemicals and provide billions of dollars for renewable energy and efforts to suck carbon from the atmosphere as part of the $900 billion coronavirus relief package. The legislation wraps together several bills with bipartisan backing and support from an unusual coalition of environmentalists and industry groups.
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Early Voting in Georgia's Senate Runoffs Is Massive- but What Does That Mean?

More than 1.4 million people have already voted ahead of Georgia's two January 5 U.S. Senate runoff elections, a sign that enthusiasm has not slowed down since the presidential election. High turnout is essential for Democratic candidates Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, who ran behind Biden in the November election. The data shows that more than 41,000 voters who cast ballots during early voting did not vote in the 2020 general election. This group makes up a little less than 3 percent of the overall electorate, but in a close and tight election, even a small group could make the difference.
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Anthony Fauci Told Kids He Went to the North Pole to Give Santa The COVID-19 Vaccine 
Dr. Anthony Fauci personally traveled to the North Pole to vaccinate Santa Claus against the coronavirus, he said on CNN. In a very cute segment on CNN geared toward teaching children about COVID-19, Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, addressed questions from kids about whether Santa got the vaccine and if it was safe for him to visit them on Christmas and deliver presents.
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The Last Word
"Public transportation, public schools, public health... The list goes on. It's about people."

- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Congress passing the COVID-19 stimulus package
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