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Biden vents frustration with Trump on transition

President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenLawsuit alleges 200K Georgia voters were wrongly purged from registration list GOP lawmaker blasts incoming freshman over allegations of presidential voter fraud Haaland has competition to be first Native American to lead Interior  MORE on Monday vented frustration with President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal watchdog accuses VOA parent company of wrongdoing under Trump appointee Lawsuit alleges 200K Georgia voters were wrongly purged from registration list Ivanka Trump gives deposition in lawsuit alleging misuse of inauguration funds MORE for obstructing the transition process, saying that “more people may die” from the coronavirus because the incoming administration has not been included in the plans to distribute a vaccine. 

Speaking from near his home in Delaware, Biden warned that the nation faces a “dark winter” from a resurgence in coronavirus cases. He called on Congress to take up a House-passed stimulus bill to provide economic relief to those who are struggling amid the slowdown.

And Biden ripped the Trump administration, which has so far declined to acknowledge Biden’s victory and has taken steps to keep the president-elect locked out of the customary transition process.

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Biden said Trump’s transition delays would lead directly to more coronavirus deaths, as the incoming and outgoing administrations have no plans to coordinate their vaccine distribution efforts. 

“More people may die if we don’t coordinate,” Biden said. 

“If we have to wait to Jan. 20 to start that planning, it puts us behind over a month and a half,” he added. “So it’s important that it be done, that there be coordination now or as rapidly as we can get it done.”

Trump has refused to concede election defeat to Biden, who is projected to win the Electoral College by a comfortable margin.

The president has been making unsubstantiated claims that the election was stolen from him through fraud. His campaign has mounted legal challenges to try to change the results in several states. 

And the General Services Administration has declined to ascertain that Biden won the election, keeping the president-elect from accessing government intelligence briefings or funding that would make it easier for him to hit the ground running once he’s sworn in.

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Democrats and Republicans are warning that Trump’s transition delays are putting the nation’s national security and health at risk amid the coronavirus resurgence.

Biden has so far sought to avoid clashing with Trump on the matter, instead going around normal channels by getting his own intelligence briefings as he waits the president out. 

“The pressure will continue to build,” Biden said.

“We’re moving along knowing what the outcome will be. I find this more embarrassing for the country than debilitating for my ability to get started.” 

Biden was briefed on Monday about rebuilding the economy during the coronavirus by a group of business and labor leaders, including AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Target CEO Brian Cornell and others.

Biden’s team is leaning into the idea that the economy and virus are intertwined and that a real economic recovery depends first on containing the virus.

The U.S. is experiencing a resurgence of coronavirus cases, with more than 1 million new cases in the past week alone, according to new data from Johns Hopkins University.

Cities and states that had been moving toward a full reopening of their economies are slowing down or implementing new restrictions. 

In Chicago, officials announced a 30-day stay-at-home order. In California, Michigan, New Jersey and Washington state, officials are taking steps to limit gatherings or putting new restrictions on gyms, restaurants and theaters.

Biden is calling congressional leaders to deliver a stimulus bill to struggling Americans.

The president-elect pointed to the House-passed HEROES Act as something that could be done today.

“Pass the Heroes Act,” Biden said. “It has all the money and capacity to take care of each of those things. Now. The idea the president is playing golf and not doing anything about it, it’s beyond comprehension. You’d think he wants to go out on a positive note.” 

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That bill would not likely make it through the GOP-controlled Senate. Democrats want to pass one massive stimulus bill, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHillicon Valley: GOP chairman says defense bill leaves out Section 230 repeal | Senate panel advances FCC nominee | Krebs says threats to election officials 'undermining democracy' On The Money: Funding bill hits snag as shutdown deadline looms | Pelosi, Schumer endorse 8 billion plan as basis for stimulus talks | Poll: Most Americans support raising taxes on those making at least 0K Nearly one-third of US adults expect to lose employment income: Census Bureau MORE (R-Ky.) has called for a smaller, “targeted” spending bill.

There was some good news Monday on the vaccines front, with Moderna announcing its vaccine had proved 94.5 percent effective in an interim analysis.

Last week, Pfizer’s vaccine candidate was announced to have been 90 percent effective.

Both companies will apply for emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, although that process will take weeks.

The hope is for both Moderna and Pfizer to have 20 million doses ready to go by the end of the year with the goal of first vaccinating frontline workers. 

The Trump administration has contracts to purchase 100 million doses of the vaccines from each company. But vaccinations for the general public may not begin until spring. 

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"We’re going into a very dark winter,” Biden said. “Things will get much tougher before they get easier. That requires sparing no effort to fight COVID so we can open our businesses safely, resume our lives and put this pandemic behind us. It’s going to be difficult but it can be done.” 

Biden on Monday reached out to Republicans, who he said were struggling over how to deal with an erratic president.

Biden praised GOP governors such as Mike DeWineMike DeWineList of Republicans breaking with Trump grows longer Ohio governor on impeachment articles filed against him: 'We have to do whatever we can to slow this virus down' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - GOP angst in Georgia; confirmation fight looms MORE in Ohio for their efforts to get the virus under control and for standing up to Trump when need be.

The president on Monday vowed political retaliation against DeWine for acknowledging Biden’s victory.

“I will work with you,” Biden said. “I understand a lot of your reluctance because of how the president operates, but I’ve been in contact with some and will be in contact with more. If it has to wait until Jan. 20 to be operational, that’s a shame but maybe the only way to get it done.”