House passes bill to give Dreamers and other undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship, over G.O.P. opposition.

Here’s what you need to know: A rally in San Diego in support of the Supreme Court's ruling in favor of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.Credit...Sandy Huffaker/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images The Democratic-led House voted on Thursday to create a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants, reopening a politically fraught debate over the nation’s broken immigration system just as President Biden confronts a growing surge of migrants at the border. In a near party-line vote of 228 to 197, with just nine Republicans joining Democrats, the House moved to set up a permanent legal pathway for roughly 2.5 million undocumented immigrants, including those brought to the United States as children — known as Dreamers — and those granted Temporary Protected Status for humanitarian reasons. They were expected to approve a second measure later, with more bipartisan backing, that would grant legal status to close to a million farmworkers and their families while updating a key agricultural visa program. The votes were significant milestones for the Dreamers and other activists who have waged a decade-long campaign, often at great personal risk, to bring the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States without permanent legal status out of the shadows. Dreamers, those who have T.P.S. and agricultural workers have in many cases lived in the United States for long periods, and measures to normalize their status have broad public support. In moving swiftly to consider both bills, House leaders wagered that singling out relatively narrow but publicly popular immigration fixes could shake up a deadlocked policy debate after years of failed attempts at more comprehensive immigration legislation, and deliver for a key constituency. “This House has another chance to pass H.R. 6 and once and for all end the fear and uncertainty that have plagued the life of America’s Dreamers, who have become an integral part of the fabric of American society,” Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard, Democrat of California and an author of the Dreamer bill, said during a hard-fought debate inside the Capitol. “It is an issue about who we are as Americans.” But after colliding with a wave of hardened Republican opposition in the House, the bills face steep odds in the evenly divided Senate. While some Republicans there have pledged support for Dreamers in the past, their party is increasingly uniting behind a hard-line strategy to block any new immigration law as it seeks to use the worsening situation at the border as a political cudgel against Mr. Biden and Democrats. “There is no pathway for anything right now,” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a key player in past bipartisan immigration pushes, said this week. That means the immigration measures will join a growing pile of liberal agenda items, as well as broadly supported measures on pressing national challenges, that have passed the House but are destined to languish or die because of Republican opposition in the Senate. They include a landmark expansion of voting rights, new gun control measures, the most significant pro-labor legislation in decades and the Equality Act for L.G.B.T.Q. people. Democrats in favor of eliminating or altering the filibuster believe the accumulating pressure could help break the dam in the months ahead, allowing them to change Senate rules to do away with the 60-vote requirement and let legislation pass with a simple majority. A member of the Yakima Nation accepting a food giveaway in Wapato, Wash., in July.Credit...Mason Trinca for The New York Times After a year that provided stark new evidence of how racial inequities and a lack of federal funding had left tribal communities and Indigenous people especially vulnerable to crises like the pandemic, President Biden and Democrats in Congress are seeking to address those longstanding issues with a huge infusion of federal aid. The $1.9 trillion stimulus package signed into law last week by Mr. Biden contains more than $31 billion for tribal governments and other federal programs to help Native populations, a record level of assistance intended to help strengthen health care and a variety of other services in some of the nation’s poorest communities. The money is a crucial plank of Mr. Biden’s vow to address racial and economic inequities and is a potentially transformative lifeline for tribes, who were among the hardest hit by the spread of the coronavirus. It is also a high-profile step toward more equitable treatment after centuries of treaty violations and failures by the federal government to live up to its obligations. Mr. Biden signed the law last Thursday, and on Monday the Senate confirmed Deb Haaland, who had been representing New Mexico in the House, as interior secretary, making her the first Native American woman to serve in a cabinet. The new legislation, passed without a single Republican vote, allocates

House passes bill to give Dreamers and other undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship, over G.O.P. opposition.
Here’s what you need to know: A rally in San Diego in support of the Supreme Court's ruling in favor of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.Credit...Sandy Huffaker/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images The Democratic-led House voted on Thursday to create a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants, reopening a politically fraught debate over the nation’s broken immigration system just as President Biden confronts a growing surge of migrants at the border. In a near party-line vote of 228 to 197, with just nine Republicans joining Democrats, the House moved to set up a permanent legal pathway for roughly 2.5 million undocumented immigrants, including those brought to the United States as children — known as Dreamers — and those granted Temporary Protected Status for humanitarian reasons. They were expected to approve a second measure later, with more bipartisan backing, that would grant legal status to close to a million farmworkers and their families while updating a key agricultural visa program. The votes were significant milestones for the Dreamers and other activists who have waged a decade-long campaign, often at great personal risk, to bring the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States without permanent legal status out of the shadows. Dreamers, those who have T.P.S. and agricultural workers have in many cases lived in the United States for long periods, and measures to normalize their status have broad public support. In moving swiftly to consider both bills, House leaders wagered that singling out relatively narrow but publicly popular immigration fixes could shake up a deadlocked policy debate after years of failed attempts at more comprehensive immigration legislation, and deliver for a key constituency. “This House has another chance to pass H.R. 6 and once and for all end the fear and uncertainty that have plagued the life of America’s Dreamers, who have become an integral part of the fabric of American society,” Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard, Democrat of California and an author of the Dreamer bill, said during a hard-fought debate inside the Capitol. “It is an issue about who we are as Americans.” But after colliding with a wave of hardened Republican opposition in the House, the bills face steep odds in the evenly divided Senate. While some Republicans there have pledged support for Dreamers in the past, their party is increasingly uniting behind a hard-line strategy to block any new immigration law as it seeks to use the worsening situation at the border as a political cudgel against Mr. Biden and Democrats. “There is no pathway for anything right now,” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a key player in past bipartisan immigration pushes, said this week. That means the immigration measures will join a growing pile of liberal agenda items, as well as broadly supported measures on pressing national challenges, that have passed the House but are destined to languish or die because of Republican opposition in the Senate. They include a landmark expansion of voting rights, new gun control measures, the most significant pro-labor legislation in decades and the Equality Act for L.G.B.T.Q. people. Democrats in favor of eliminating or altering the filibuster believe the accumulating pressure could help break the dam in the months ahead, allowing them to change Senate rules to do away with the 60-vote requirement and let legislation pass with a simple majority. A member of the Yakima Nation accepting a food giveaway in Wapato, Wash., in July.Credit...Mason Trinca for The New York Times After a year that provided stark new evidence of how racial inequities and a lack of federal funding had left tribal communities and Indigenous people especially vulnerable to crises like the pandemic, President Biden and Democrats in Congress are seeking to address those longstanding issues with a huge infusion of federal aid. The $1.9 trillion stimulus package signed into law last week by Mr. Biden contains more than $31 billion for tribal governments and other federal programs to help Native populations, a record level of assistance intended to help strengthen health care and a variety of other services in some of the nation’s poorest communities. The money is a crucial plank of Mr. Biden’s vow to address racial and economic inequities and is a potentially transformative lifeline for tribes, who were among the hardest hit by the spread of the coronavirus. It is also a high-profile step toward more equitable treatment after centuries of treaty violations and failures by the federal government to live up to its obligations. Mr. Biden signed the law last Thursday, and on Monday the Senate confirmed Deb Haaland, who had been representing New Mexico in the House, as interior secretary, making her the first Native American woman to serve in a cabinet. The new legislation, passed without a single Republican vote, allocates $20 billion to tribal governments. It also includes more than $6 billion for the Indian Health Service and other Native American health systems, including a $20 million fund for Native Hawaiians, as well as $1.2 billion for housing and more than $1.1 billion for primary, secondary and higher education programs. The new money comes on top of $8 billion allocated to tribal governments by Congress last March in the $2.2 trillion stimulus law, and additional funding for tribal health and education services in other relief legislation passed last year. “Our promise to them has always been — on any of these issues — they will have a seat at the table,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said in an interview. “It’s essential that we’re listening to the specific issues.” The aid comes after a year that devastated Native people across the country, as poverty, multigenerational housing and underlying health conditions contributed to the deadly spread of the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found in August that in nearly half the states, Native Americans were disproportionately affected by the virus compared with their white counterparts. William J. Burns during his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill.Credit...Pool photo by Tom Williams The Senate approved William J. Burns on Thursday as director of the C.I.A., placing a veteran diplomat in charge of rebuilding morale battered during the Trump administration and focusing more intelligence resources on China. Mr. Burns was approved by unanimous consent without a roll-call vote. A former ambassador in Russia and Jordan and a senior State Department official, Mr. Burns, 64, is the only career diplomat chosen to lead the C.I.A. (George Bush had served as United Nations ambassador and as the top diplomat in China before becoming the agency’s director.) During Mr. Burns’s long career, he earned a reputation for careful analysis of national security and foreign policy problems, a talent that helped prompt President Biden to choose him for the C.I.A. post. But strong ties to Mr. Biden and his team may be Mr. Burns’s most important attribute. Former C.I.A. officials say other outsiders with little direct intelligence collection experience but close links to the White House, like Leon Panetta, were effective directors. A “close and trusting relationship with the president” helps a C.I.A. director win the president’s ear, said John McLaughlin, a former deputy director of the agency. Mr. Burns won unanimous, bipartisan backing on the Senate Intelligence Committee, but a confirmation vote by the full Senate was delayed after Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, put an unrelated hold on the nomination. Mr. Cruz is seeking tougher sanctions on companies involved with a project to build a pipeline between Russia and Germany. He lifted that hold on Thursday after Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken issued a statement that said “any entity involved” in the pipeline project should stop that work or risk American sanctions. China dominated much of Mr. Burns’s confirmation hearing last month. He identified it as the most urgent foreign policy challenge for the agency and said he would invest in new technology to improve intelligence collection and language training for more C.I.A. officers. Mr. Burns said that the Chinese government was adversarial and predatory but that it was important not to think about competition with China using the lens of the Cold War. While the clash with the Soviet Union was primarily ideological and security, competition with China, he said, involves technology and economic relationships. During the Obama administration, Mr. Burns was instrumental in beginning the secret diplomatic talks that led to the negotiations over the Iran nuclear deal. Many friends and colleagues say they do not expect him to restart his secret diplomacy. Instead, he will focus on pushing the C.I.A. to deliver the best intelligence on Iran as the State Department looks at the possibility of new agreements with Tehran. And Mr. Burns’s own in-depth knowledge of Iran will be critical in advising Mr. Biden and the National Security Council. President Biden’s selection of Xavier Becerra set off an immediate debate over whether, as a lawyer, he was the correct choice to lead a department that oversees high-profile medical agencies.Credit...Pool photo by Greg Nash The Senate on Thursday confirmed Xavier Becerra, a son of Mexican immigrants who became a member of Congress and California’s attorney general, as President Biden’s secretary of health and human services after a bitter partisan fight that centered on his qualifications and support for abortion rights. The vote was 50 to 49. Senator Susan Collins of Maine was the only Republican to support his confirmation. Mr. Becerra will become the first Latino to oversee the sprawling agency, and will take charge as the Biden administration is working to lead the nation out of the coronavirus pandemic, which has already killed more than half a million Americans and has taken a particularly devastating toll on people of color. Mr. Biden has said racial equity will be at the core of his coronavirus response, and people who know Mr. Becerra say that health access, and health equity, will be a major theme of his work. As a member of Congress, he helped write the Affordable Care Act, and he pledged in his confirmation hearings to work to strengthen it. Mr. Biden’s selection of Mr. Becerra was a surprise, and it set off an immediate debate over whether, as a lawyer, he was the correct choice to lead a department that oversees high-profile medical agencies including the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health. Republicans argued he was unqualified. When the Senate Finance Committee took up his nomination, it split over whether to send the nomination to the full Senate for a floor vote, which prompted Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, to use a procedural maneuver to move forward with Thursday’s confirmation vote. Democrats argued that Mr. Becerra had deep expertise in health policy. As attorney general, he led 20 states and the District of Columbia in a campaign to protect the health law from being dismantled by his Republican counterparts. He has also been vocal in the Democratic Party about fighting for women’s health, including access to contraceptives and abortion. Those efforts made him a target for Republicans and some Catholic leaders, who repeatedly accused him of suing a group of nuns — a reference to a lawsuit he brought as California attorney general to block the Trump administration from expanding religious exemptions for employers that did not want to provide contraceptive coverage through their insurance plans. The Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic organization, later joined the suit. Catholic Vote, an advocacy organization, condemned the vote shortly after it happened. In a written statement, Brian Burch, the group’s president, called Mr. Becerra’s confirmation “a clear and present danger for Catholics and all people of faith,” and branded Mr. Becerra “a culture warrior and extreme left-wing ideologue.” Stacey Abrams has thrown her support behind a proposal to exempt civil rights and voting rights bills from the filibuster.Credit...Nicole Craine for The New York Times With an outright repeal of the filibuster unlikely, Democrats are turning to alternatives to bypass or weaken the 60-vote threshold in the Senate in order to ram through a landmark voting rights bill that many in the party now view as an existential necessity. Stacey Abrams, the former Georgia House minority leader who is widely seen as the party’s leading proponent of ballot access, has thrown her support behind a proposal to create a waiver of the filibuster rules to pass important civil and voting rights bills. In an op-ed published this week by CNN, Ms. Abrams suggested Democrats suspend the filibuster to enact H.R. 1, a far-reaching measure that passed the House this month and is aimed at blunting Republican efforts to restrict ballot access in many states. Making such a change would require a simple 51-vote majority in the Senate. “If Republican senators, representing a minority of Americans, attempt to thwart much-needed legislation to protect voting rights for all, Democrats should take bold action,” Ms. Abrams wrote. “Exempting legislation from a Senate filibuster is not unprecedented,” she added, pointing to “carve-outs” that Republicans have used to suspend the filibuster to expedite tax bills, judicial appointments and cabinet nominations. Ms. Abrams also pointed to the reconciliation process, a legislative tactic used this year by Democrats to pass President Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package without the support of any Republicans. Since 1980, reconciliation has been used 21 times, but only to pass budget-related bills, including the Affordable Care Act. It cannot be used for voting rights legislation. These days, no “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”-style feats of unshaven endurance are required to keep a bill with majority support from passing the Senate. All the minority needs to do is ensure that the majority falls short of “cloture,” the 60-vote threshold needed to end debate on a bill. Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, have vowed to wage a “scorched earth” battle to save the existing rule. The more immediate problem for progressives is that conservative Democrats, backed by President Biden, have lined up against scuttling the filibuster, a legislative counterbalance that has been employed by both parties. It is not clear how much support Ms. Abrams’s plan will garner, but rules changes are not uncommon in the Senate, an arena that promotes itself as a bastion of tradition while constantly moving goal posts. In 2013, Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada and the majority leader at the time, changed the rules to a simple 51-vote threshold for confirming judicial nominees, and Mr. McConnell later eliminated the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees. If more sweeping solutions falter, senior Democratic aides in the Senate see momentum building for making it harder for senators to maintain filibusters. Currently, they can conduct what amount to virtual filibusters without being physically present on the floor. Mr. Biden is among those who have called for restoring the so-called talking filibuster, which would require opponents of legislation to occupy the floor and continue to make their case against it. Such a change would not ensure passage of Democratic bills. In fact, segregationists from the South were more than willing to endure the physical strain of remaining on the floor to block civil rights bills a half-century ago. But it could limit the filibuster’s use, supporters of the change argue, and provide the current generation of senators, acclimated to the short attention spans of the social media age, with more of an incentive to compromise. In an ABC News interview on Wednesday, Mr. Biden, a 36-year veteran of the Senate, said such a change would restore the filibuster to “what it used to be when I first got to the Senate back in the old days.” “You had to stand up and command the floor,” he said. “You had to keep talking.” A Texas state trooper escorting asylum seekers at the border after they crossed the Rio Grande into the United States this month. At the end of last year, the number of Central Americans apprehended by Mexico declined, while detentions by American agents increased.Credit...Adrees Latif/Reuters The United States plans to send millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Mexico and Canada, White House officials said Thursday, a notable step into vaccine diplomacy just as the Biden administration is quietly pressing Mexico to curb the stream of migrants coming to the border. Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said the United States was planning to share 2.5 million doses of the vaccine with Mexico and 1.5 million with Canada, adding that it was “not finalized yet, but that is our aim.” Tens of millions of doses of the vaccine have been sitting in American manufacturing sites. While their use has been approved in dozens of countries, including Mexico and Canada, the vaccine has not yet been authorized by American regulators. Ms. Psaki said the shipments to Mexico and Canada would essentially be a loan, with the United States receiving doses of AstraZeneca or other vaccines in the future. The announcement came at a critical time in negotiations with Mexico. President Biden has moved quickly to dismantle some of former President Donald J. Trump’s signature immigration policies, including halting construction of a border wall, stopping the swift expulsion of children at the border and proposing a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants. But he is clinging to a central element of Mr. Trump’s agenda: relying on Mexico to restrain a wave of people making their way to the United States. Anticipating a surge of migrants and the most apprehensions by American agents at the border in two decades, Mr. Biden asked President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico in a video call this month whether more could be done to help solve the problem, according to Mexican officials and another person briefed on the conversation. Video transcript Back bars 0:00/1:29 -0:00 transcript U.S. Will Send Vaccines to Canada and Mexico On Thursday, White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, said the Biden administration would deliver vaccines to Mexico and Canada. Asked if doses to Mexico were part of ongoing border security talks, she said they were “unrelated,” but also “overlapping.” “The pandemic knows no borders, and ensuring our neighbors can contain the virus is a mission critical step, is mission critical to ending the pandemic. Many countries, as you know, have already requested, have requested the have already approved AstraZeneca and also have requested our doses from the United States. That includes Canada and Mexico, but is certainly not limited to Canada and Mexico.” “Were there expectations set with the Mexicans that they help deal with the situation on the border?” “There have, there have been expectations set outside of — unrelated to any vaccine doses or request for them that they would be partners in dealing with the crisis on the border. And there have been requests unrelated that — four doses of these vaccines, every relationship has multiple layers of conversations that are happening at the same time.” “You didn’t rule out or the United States isn’t ruling out using our vaccine stockpile.” “I’m actually, I’m actually trying to convey that with every country, there’s rarely just one issue you’re discussing with any country at one time. Right? Certainly that’s not the case with Mexico. It’s not the case with any country around the world. And so, I wouldn’t read into it more than our ability to provide, to lend vaccine doses of a vaccine that we have some available supply on to a neighboring country where there is a lot of traffic that goes back and forth between the countries.” On Thursday, White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, said the Biden administration would deliver vaccines to Mexico and Canada. Asked if doses to Mexico were part of ongoing border security talks, she said they were “unrelated,” but also “overlapping.”The two presidents also discussed the possibility of the United States sending Mexico some of its surplus vaccine supply, a senior Mexican official said. At a news briefing on Thursday, Ms. Psaki said that the discussions over vaccines and border security between the United States and Mexico were “unrelated” but also “overlapping.” Asked by a reporter if there were “strings attached” to the United States’ offer to lend vaccines to Mexico, Ms. Psaki replied that there had been “several diplomatic conversations — parallel conversations — many layers of conversations.” Mexican officials also say the efforts to secure vaccines are separate from the negotiations over migration, and rejected the notion that a quid pro quo was involved. “These are two separate issues,” Roberto Velasco, director general for the North America region at Mexico’s foreign ministry, said in a statement. But Mexican officials acknowledge that relations between the United States and Mexico, which has suffered one of the world’s deadliest coronavirus outbreaks, would be buoyed by a shipment of doses south. “We look for a more humane migratory system and enhanced cooperation against Covid-19, for the benefit of our two countries and the region,” Mr. Velasco said. After seeing President Biden deliver results for his liberal base on the domestic front, in the form of the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, progressives are impatient for bolder action in foreign affairs.Credit...Erin Scott for The New York Times Two months into the new administration, President Biden’s base is expressing frustration with his approach to foreign policy issues. Although Mr. Biden delighted liberals with several swift actions — including rejoining the Paris climate accord and withdrawing support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen — he prompted frustration by ordering an airstrike in Syria and declining to punish the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, for the brutal murder of a dissident journalist and American resident, Jamal Khashoggi. On Wednesday, Mr. Biden fueled the discontent when he conceded in an interview with ABC News that it would be “tough” to meet a May 1 deadline, set under former President Donald J. Trump, to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, a high priority for liberals impatient to end what they call “endless” American wars. And more conflict may lie ahead on military spending, with Mr. Biden expected to propose few if any cuts to a Pentagon budget that swelled under Mr. Trump. Fifty House Democrats sent the White House a letter this week calling for a “significant” reduction. After seeing Mr. Biden deliver a transformational $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, progressives are asking why his foreign policy feels so conventional. They worry that Mr. Biden and his largely centrist team of national security officials will disappoint the liberal wing’s desires for a new foreign policy that relies far less on military power, de-escalates tensions with rivals like Iran and China, and places greater pressure on allies like Saudi Arabia and Israel. Biden administration officials called the criticism unfair and premature. One senior administration official said that the Trump era had created an unrealistic appetite for finger-snap action on complex issues, and that the longer arc of Mr. Biden’s policies would satisfy many frustrated liberals. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss unofficial political considerations. The official pointed to several early actions by Mr. Biden welcomed by the left, including his returning to the climate deal, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Human Rights Council. Mr. Biden has also reversed visa restrictions widely known as Mr. Trump’s “Muslim ban,” and placed temporary limits on drone strikes outside of combat zones. Earlier this week, the administration was praised by an unexpected source: Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and adviser on Middle East issues. In an opinion essay for The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Kushner said Mr. Biden “did the right thing” and “called Iran’s bluff” by refusing to make new concessions to lure Tehran into talks about restoring a nuclear deal abandoned by the Trump administration. “I would take this in the Biden White House as a giant, blinking red light that maybe what I’m doing is not right because Jared Kushner is finding ways to praise it,” Benjamin J. Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser under President Barack Obama who worked on the 2015 nuclear agreement, said Wednesday on the “Pod Save the World” podcast. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives in South Korea on Wednesday. Mr. Blinken is set to meet with his Chinese counterpart in Anchorage on Thursday.Credit...Pool photo by Chung Sung-Jun President Biden is engineering a sharp shift in policy toward China, focused on gathering allies to counter Beijing’s coercive diplomacy around the world and ensuring that China does not gain a permanent advantage in critical technologies. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Jake Sullivan, Mr. Biden’s national security adviser, will road-test the new approach in what promises to be a tense first encounter on Thursday with their Chinese counterparts in Anchorage. It is a meeting they delayed until they could reach the outlines of a common strategy with allies — notably Japan, South Korea, India and Australia — and one they insisted had to take place on American soil. At first glance, the Biden administration’s policy shift seems to adopt much of the Trump administration’s conviction that the world’s two biggest powers are veering dangerously toward confrontation, a clear change in tone from the Obama years. But the emerging strategy more directly repudiates the prevailing view of the last quarter century that deep economic interdependence could be counted on to temper fundamental conflicts on issues like China’s military buildup, its territorial ambitions and human rights. It focuses anew on competing more aggressively with Beijing on technologies vital to long-term economic and military power, after concluding that President Donald J. Trump’s approach — a mix of expensive tariffs, efforts to ban Huawei and TikTok, and accusations about sending the “China virus” to American shores — had failed to change President Xi Jinping’s course. The result, as Mr. Sullivan put it during the campaign last year, is an approach that “should put less focus on trying to slow China down and more emphasis on trying to run faster ourselves” through increased government investment in research and technologies like semiconductors, artificial intelligence and energy. The meeting in Anchorage will also be a first demonstration of Beijing’s determination to stand up to the new administration, and a chance for its diplomats to deliver a litany of complaints about Washington’s “evil” interference in China’s affairs, as a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman put it on Wednesday. The United States imposed sanctions on 24 Chinese officials on Wednesday for undermining Hong Kong’s democratic freedoms, an action whose timing was pointed and clearly intentional. Mr. Blinken said in Tokyo this week that “we will push back if necessary when China uses coercion or aggression to get its way.” And that is happening almost daily, he conceded, including Beijing’s efforts to terminate Hong Kong’s autonomy, intimidate Australia and Taiwan, and move ahead, despite international condemnation, with what Mr. Blinken has said is a genocide aimed at China’s Uyghur minority. It is all part of the initial resetting of the relationship that has marked Mr. Biden’s renewed, if now far more tense, encounters with Mr. Xi. Video transcript Back bars 0:00/2:01 -0:00 transcript House Addresses Anti-Asian Discrimination at Hearing House Democrats on Thursday held the first congressional hearing on anti-Asian discrimination in three decades, in an effort to confront the spike in violence targeting the Asian community since the start of the pandemic. “His targets were no accident. And what we know is that this day was coming. And because of crimes like this, I, as chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, or CAPAC, urged the committee to undertake this hearing because the Asian-American community has reached a crisis point that cannot be ignored. Well, what started out last January’s dirty looks and verbal assaults has escalated to physical attacks and violence against innocent Asian-Americans, and these attacks have increasingly become more deadly.” “Comments like these only build upon the legacy of racism, anti-Asian sentiment and insensitivity that seeks to divide our nation. So, yes, I was deeply shaken by the angry currents in our nation. A heated discourse at the highest levels of our government cannot be viewed in isolation from the ensuing violence in our communities.” “We shouldn’t be worried about having a committee of members of Congress policing our rhetoric because some evildoers go engage in some evil activity as occurred in Atlanta, Ga. Because when we start policing free speech, we’re doing the very thing that we’re condemning when we condemn what the Chinese Communist Party does to their country.” “We cannot turn a blind eye to people living in fear. I want to go back to something that Mr. Roy said earlier. Your president and your party and your colleagues can talk about issues with any other country that you want, but you don’t have to do it by putting a bull’s eye on the back of Asian-Americans across this country, on our grandparents, on our kids. This hearing was to address the hurt and pain of our community, and to find solutions. And we will not let you take our voice away from us.” House Democrats on Thursday held the first congressional hearing on anti-Asian discrimination in three decades, in an effort to confront the spike in violence targeting the Asian community since the start of the pandemic.CreditCredit...Pool photo by Greg NashAsian-American congresswomen warned the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday that the nation had reached a “crisis point” amid a spike in discrimination and violence targeting the Asian community, in the first congressional hearing on the issue held in more than three decades. The hearing, which was scheduled weeks ago, came on the heels of a mass shooting in Atlanta in which a white gunman killed eight people at spas, six of whom were of Asian descent. As lawmakers pledged to confront the rising tide of violence, they turned to six female lawmakers of Asian descent, both Democrats and Republicans. In often deeply personal testimony, the lawmakers described the fear and trauma rippling through the Asian-American community, and argued that the uptick in attacks on Asian-Americans was a direct result of the rise of anti-China rhetoric stoked during the coronavirus pandemic. In one particularly heated moment, a Democratic congresswoman tearfully confronted a Republican on the panel, saying members of his party had used language she said put “a bull’s-eye” on Asian-Americans. At another emotional point, Representative Doris Matsui, Democrat of California, who was born in an internment camp for Japanese-Americans, described how hearing politicians including former President Donald J. Trump use xenophobic phrases to describe the coronavirus brought back memories of the discrimination her parents faced from the federal government decades ago. Back then, Ms. Matsui said, “many leaders advanced the myth that the Japanese community was inherently the enemy. Americans across the country believed it, acceded to institutionalized racism, and acted on it.” “Last year,” she continued, “as I heard, at the highest levels of government, people use racist slurs, like ‘China virus,’ to spread xenophobia and cast blame on innocent communities, it was all too familiar.” The hearing briefly turned tense after Representative Chip Roy, Republican of Texas, made a lengthy condemnation of the Chinese government’s handling of the coronavirus and asserted that objections to what he categorized as nothing more than hawkish rhetoric about China amounted to “policing” of free speech. “There’s old sayings in Texas about, you know, ‘find all the rope in Texas and get a tall oak tree.’ You know, we take justice very seriously, and we ought to do that — round up all the bad guys,” Mr. Roy said, in comments that drew outrage on Twitter. “My concern about this hearing is it seems to want to venture into the policing of rhetoric.” Representative Grace Meng, Democrat of New York, took exception to the remark. “Your president, and your party, and your colleagues, can talk about issues with any other country that you want, but you don’t have to do it by putting a bull’s-eye on the back of Asian-Americans across this country, on our grandparents, on our kids,” she said, growing visibly emotional. “This hearing was to address the hurt and pain of our community, to find solutions,” she added, “and we will not let you take our voice away from us.” Later, Mr. Roy issued a statement responding to the backlash over his comments, which appeared to refer to lynching, saying he stood by the idea that “we need more justice and less thought policing.” “No apologies,” he added. Former President George W. Bush said the mob that attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6 had undermined the rule of law.Credit...Erin Schaff/The New York Times Former President George W. Bush said he was “disturbed” and “disgusted” by the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol in an interview streamed online Thursday. “I was sick to my stomach” to see “hostile forces” storm the Capitol, Mr. Bush said in an interview with The Texas Tribune’s chief executive, Evan Smith. “And it really disturbed me to the point where I did put out a statement, and I’m still disturbed when I think about it.” Mr. Bush added that the insurrection was not a peaceful expression of grievances. “It undermines rule of law and the ability to express yourself in peaceful ways in the public square,” he said. Asked if he thought the 2020 presidential election was stolen, Mr. Bush responded, “No.” Former President Donald J. Trump has repeatedly asserted that the election was rigged, even though there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Still, Mr. Bush said he did not believe the Trump administration had put democracy at risk by rejecting the election outcome. “What’s putting democracy at risk is the capacity to get on the internet to spread” false information, Mr. Bush said. “But checks and balances work.” Mr. Bush also said that he was optimistic about America’s future and that he had had a “good conversation” with President Biden. “He’s off to a good start, it looks like,” Mr. Bush said. “Hopefully, this anger will work its way out of the system.” He also said he was pleased to see high voter turnout in the 2018 and 2020 elections, which he said “shows the vibrancy of democracy.” Mr. Bush was speaking at this year’s SXSW online festival in a pretaped interview recorded on Feb. 24 to promote his new book, “Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants.” Mr. Bush previously called the insurrection, which left five people dead, “sickening” and “heartbreaking” in a Jan. 6 statement. “I am appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions and our law enforcement,” he said, then adding, “The violent assault on the Capitol — and disruption of a constitutionally mandated meeting of Congress — was undertaken by people whose passions have been inflamed by falsehoods and false hopes.” In early November, Mr. Bush was one of the first prominent Republicans to congratulate Mr. Biden on his election win, even as Mr. Trump and many of his supporters defied the results and Republican leaders refused to publicly acknowledge Mr. Biden’s victory. Mr. Bush attended Mr. Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, alongside former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. — Madeleine Ngo President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House last week. They plan to travel to Atlanta on Friday.Credit...Doug Mills/The New York Times President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will meet in Atlanta on Friday with community leaders and state lawmakers from the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community, and cancel a planned political event, the White House announced on Thursday. “Given the tragedy in Georgia on Tuesday night, President Biden and Vice President Harris will postpone the evening political event in Georgia for a future date,” officials announced in a news release. “During their trip to Atlanta, they will instead meet with Asian-American leaders to discuss the ongoing attacks and threats against the community, meet with other local leaders, and also visit the Centers for Disease Control to receive an update from the team of health and medical experts helping lead the fight against the pandemic.” Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris had been scheduled to visit the city as part of a promotional tour for the $1.9 trillion economic relief package that Mr. Biden signed into law last week. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported details of the meeting with community leaders. On Thursday, Mr. Biden ordered that flags outside the White House, other public buildings, military posts and naval stations in the District of Columbia and throughout the country and its territories be flown at half-staff to honor the victims of the Atlanta spa shootings. The proclamation, which will run through sunset on Monday, also includes “all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations,” he said. Mr. Biden said on Wednesday that “the question of motivation is still to be determined” in the Georgia shootings, while renewing his concerns over a recent surge in violence against Asian-Americans. “Whatever the motivation here,” he said, “I know Asian-Americans are very concerned. Because as you know I have been speaking about the brutality against Asian-Americans for the last couple months, and I think it’s very, very troubling. But I am making no connection at this moment to the motivation of the killer. I’m waiting for an answer from — as the investigation proceeds — from the F.B.I. and from the Justice Department. And I’ll have more to say when the investigation is completed.” In his first prime-time speech as president last week, marking a year of the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Biden denounced “vicious hate crimes against Asian-Americans, who have been attacked, harassed, blamed and scapegoated.” “At this very moment, so many of them — our fellow Americans — they’re on the front lines of this pandemic, trying to save lives, and still they are forced to live in fear for their lives just walking down streets in America,” he said. “It’s wrong, it’s un-American, and it must stop.” Ms. Harris, the first woman and the first Asian-American to hold the office, expressed condolences for the families of the victims on Wednesday. “This speaks to a larger issue, which is the issue of violence in our country and what we must do to never tolerate it and to always speak out against it,” Ms. Harris said, adding that the motive in the shooting was still unclear. “I do want to say to our Asian-American community that we stand with you and understand how this has frightened and shocked and outraged all people,” she added. The Russian ambassador to the United States, Anatoly I. Antonov, in Washington in 2019.Credit...Mark Wilson/Getty Images Russia recalled its ambassador to the United States amid a storm of trans-Atlantic taunts after President Biden said in a television interview that he thought President Vladimir V. Putin was a killer. Russia’s Foreign Ministry said late Wednesday that it had summoned its envoy in Washington, Anatoly I. Antonov, to Moscow “in order to analyze what needs to be done in the context of relations with the United States.” That was followed by an appearance by Mr. Putin on Russian television on Thursday, in which he dryly wished Mr. Biden “good health” and quipped that the back-and-forth reminded him of a boyhood tiff. “When I was a child, when we argued in the courtyard, we said the following: ‘If you call someone names, that’s really your name,’” Mr. Putin said. “When we characterize other people, or even when we characterize other states, other people, it is always as though we are looking in the mirror,” he said, seated in a gilded chair on the seventh anniversary of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, which Mr. Biden has fiercely condemned. On Thursday, Mr. Biden’s spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, downplayed the scrap, saying that the administration had no plans to pull its ambassador to Moscow. But she dismissed a suggestion that the president should walk back his comments. “The president is not going to hold back, clearly, when he has concerns, whether it is with words or actions,” Ms. Psaki said. Asked if Biden regretted his response, she added, “Nope. He gave a direct answer to a direct question.” When a reporter asked if Mr. Biden planned to use the word “killer” in reference to the Saudi royal family’s involvement in the murder of the dissident Jamal Khashoggi, she replied, “I don’t think I need to add more killer names from the podium.” The recall of the ambassador came as Russian officials reacted with fury to an interview of Mr. Biden by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, who asked the president whether he thought Mr. Putin was a “killer.” Mr. Biden responded: “Mmm hmm, I do.” Russia had not recalled its ambassador to Washington since 1998, when it was protesting U.S. airstrikes against Iraq. Mr. Biden’s comments provided Moscow with a prized opportunity to vent outrage at actions taken by American officials, after absorbing sharp criticism over human rights abuses and attempts to influence the 2020 election. “He will pay a price,” Mr. Biden said when Mr. Stephanopoulos asked him about a report from the director of national intelligence, released Tuesday, that indicated Mr. Putin had directed an effort to denigrate Mr. Biden and undermine public faith in the 2020 elections. Susan C. Beachy contributed research. Video transcript Back bars 0:00/1:27 -0:00 transcript Biden: U.S. on Track for 100 Million Vaccinations Since Jan. 20 President Biden said Thursday the U.S. would on Friday reach his Covid-19 vaccine goal of 100 million shots in 100 days, though he had earlier conceded they should aim higher. In the last week, we’ve seen increases in the number of cases in several states — scientists have made clear that things may get worse as new variants of this virus spread. Getting vaccinated is the best thing we can do to fight back against these variants. While millions of people are vaccinated, we need millions more to be vaccinated. And I’m proud to announce that tomorrow, 58 days into our administration, we will have met my goal of administering 100 million shots to our fellow Americans. That’s weeks ahead of schedule. Eight weeks ago, only 8 percent of seniors, those most vulnerable to Covid-19, had received a vaccination. Today, 65 percent of people age 65 or older have received at least one shot. And 36 percent are fully vaccinated. This is a time for optimism, but it’s not a time for relaxation. I need all Americans, I need all of you to do your part. Keep the faith, keep wearing the mask, keep washing your hands and keep socially distanced. We’re going to beat this. We’re way ahead of schedule, but we’ve got a long way to go. President Biden said Thursday the U.S. would on Friday reach his Covid-19 vaccine goal of 100 million shots in 100 days, though he had earlier conceded they should aim higher.CreditCredit...Jon Cherry for The New York TimesPresident Biden said Thursday that the United States would on Friday reach his goal of administering 100 million Covid-19 vaccine doses in 100 days, with six weeks to spare before his self-imposed deadline. And though he insisted on Thursday that the initial goal — 100 million shots in 100 days — was ambitious, even he had conceded in January that the administration should aim higher. Five days after he was inaugurated, Mr. Biden had said the United States would aim to administer 1.5 million vaccine doses a day, a target that was reached a few weeks later. As of Wednesday, the seven-day average was about 2.5 million doses a day, according to a New York Times analysis of data reported from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Still, it was a day for crowing at the White House, as the pace of coronavirus vaccination steps up markedly, though the new administration expanded and bulked up a vaccine production effort whose key elements were in place before the change in administration. “We’re way ahead of schedule,” Mr. Biden said in brief remarks from the White House, “but we have a long way to go.” Mr. Biden’s comments continued his pattern of claiming unexpectedly fast progress in meeting his initial vaccine goal, even though public health officials have criticized that goal as less ambitious and easier to achieve than the president has portrayed. On Thursday, he said the 100 million-shot goal was “just the floor” and that he would announce a new vaccination goal next week. “This is a time for optimism,” Mr. Biden said, “but it’s not a time for relaxation.” Since Jan. 20, the day Mr. Biden was sworn in as president, 99.2 million shots have been administered across the country as reported by the C.D.C. Give the current pace of reported data, Mr. Biden is likely to surpass his 100 million shots goal on Friday, ahead of schedule. Since the U.S. vaccination campaign began in mid-December, more than 115 million doses have been administered across the country as reported by the C.D.C. As more states expand eligibility for vaccinations, the pace of shots administered has steadily increased to a current pace that is a 12 percent rise over the average number of daily doses a week ago. Illinois on Thursday joined a growing list of states to announce expansions to its pool of residents eligible to receive the vaccine, opening appointments to all residents 16 years and older on April 12. Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the city of Chicago would continue to set its own timeline for vaccinations. (The city is set to open eligibility on March 29 for city residents with certain health conditions who are between 16 and 64 and currently has a goal for all residents 16 and older to be eligible by the end of May.) “The light that we can see at end of the tunnel is getting brighter and brighter as more people get vaccinated,” Mr. Pritzker said during a news conference. He added that it was important for residents to continue to wear masks until guidance from Washington changes. Mr. Biden last week set a deadline of May 1 for states to make vaccines available to all adult residents. At least Maine, Virginia, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C., plan to meet that goal. And others, including Colorado, Connecticut, Ohio, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, hope to make vaccines available to all of their adult residents in March and April. Other states have also pushed up their eligibility dates: Utah will open up vaccines to adults beginning March 24; Nevada will make vaccines available to all adults on April 5; Missouri will allow any adult to get a vaccine on April 9; Maryland will open vaccines up in waves with all adult residents eligible as of April 27; and Rhode Island will allow all adults to get vaccinated starting April 19. States have been able to open vaccinations up to more people as supply has steadily increased. The Biden administration is sending another 22 million doses of vaccine in total to states, jurisdictions and pharmacies this week. 16+ or 18+ 50+ or 55+ 60+ or 65+ Eligible only in some counties Restaurant workers Eligible only in some counties High-risk adults Over a certain age Eligible only in some counties Across the country, more than 75 million people have received at least one shot of the vaccine, and about 12 percent of adults have been fully vaccinated, according to C.D.C. data analyzed by the Times. And some 31 states are leading the national pace by at least 1 percentage point. So far, Alaska is in the lead with 19 percent of its adult residents fully vaccinated. Currently everyone who lives or works in the state who are 16 years and older are eligible for the shots. Amy Schoenfeld Walker and Remy Tumin contributed reporting. Michel Lalancette, originally from Canada, said he had been living in front of the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square since it closed during the pandemic.Credit...Gregg Vigliotti for The New York Times Homelessness in the United States rose for the fourth straight year, with about 580,000 people living on the streets or in temporary shelter at the start of 2020, according to an annual nationwide survey that was completed before the pandemic. But the report, which was released on Thursday, almost certainly underestimates the spread, depth and urgency of the crisis, and not by a little, federal officials warned. The report showed a 2.2 percent increase in homelessness from the previous year, but that does not reflect the displacement of people who lost work as a result of the sharp downturn caused by the coronavirus. “I can’t give you numbers on how much homelessness has increased during the pandemic, but we know it has increased,” Marcia L. Fudge, who was confirmed last week as President Biden’s secretary of housing and urban development, said during a briefing at the White House. She called the situation “devastating,” and said the country had a “moral responsibility” to address both long-term homelessness and hardships spurred by the coronavirus. HUD officials say the effect on homelessness might not be known for years. Nationwide moratoriums on evictions, which have been in place since last spring and are scheduled to expire this year, have slowed the pace of displacement, although a Government Accountability Office report released this week showed the programs were not universally effective. Ms. Fudge, a former Democratic congresswoman from Ohio, set an ambitious goal during her briefing: to reduce the number of homeless people by 130,000 using additional resources provided to her department under Mr. Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill. The package includes $21.55 billion for emergency rental assistance, $5 billion in emergency housing vouchers for families displaced by the pandemic’s economic fallout, $5 billion for homelessness assistance and $850 million for tribal and rural housing. But Ms. Fudge said that funding, while welcome, was a fraction of what was needed to address the crisis once and for all. Asked how much was needed, she replied, “$70 to $100 billion” — roughly double the department’s annual budget for all its programs. Even before the pandemic, homelessness was re-emerging as a major national problem, especially in big cities. The country’s two biggest cities, New York and Los Angeles, account for a quarter of all homeless people counted in the 2020 survey. The annual snapshot count, taken on a single night in January 2020, signaled worrying trends: For the first time in years, homelessness among veterans and families — two groups targeted by recent federal housing efforts — did not improve. Homelessness affects Black and Latino communities with disproportionate force. About 40 percent of people counted were Black, compared with their 13 percent representation in the population, and nearly a quarter of homeless people self-identified as Latino, a group that makes up about 18 percent of all Americans. The number of people living on the street, the most visible reminder of a crisis that also plays out in shelters and among “couch people” forced to move in with family or friends, is also rising. For the first time since the nationwide survey of homelessness was released in February 2007, the number of single adults living on the street, 209,000, was greater than the number of people counted in shelters, which was around 199,500. One out of every six homeless people, about 106,000, were under the age of 18. A majority live in shelters. But 11,000 live at least part of the time outside, without shelter, the report found. Bijan Kian was originally convicted in 2019 on charges he secretly lobbied on behalf of Turkey.Credit...Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press A federal appeals panel reinstated a foreign lobbying conviction against one of Michael T. Flynn’s former business partners on Thursday, the latest ruling in the cases that emanated from the investigations into ties between former President Donald J. Trump’s associates and foreign governments. Mr. Flynn’s former business partner, Bijan Kian, was convicted in 2019 on charges he secretly lobbied on behalf of Turkey. But the judge overseeing the trial, United States District Court Judge Anthony Trenga, tossed the conviction weeks later, saying in an unusual ruling that the government had failed to prove its case. The Justice Department appealed the judge’s decision, leading a panel of three appeals court judges in Richmond, Va., to issuing the ruling on Thursday that the conviction should be reinstated because “a reasonable jury could conclude” that Mr. Kian worked on Turkey’s behalf without properly informing the Justice Department. A lawyer for Mr. Kian did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment about whether his client would appeal the panel’s ruling to the full Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The problems with the government’s case stemmed from the unwillingness of Mr. Flynn, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, to cooperate with prosecutors. He had initially agreed to testify against Mr. Kian as part of a 2017 plea deal with the office of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. But as Mr. Flynn did an about-face, including trying to reverse his guilty plea in his own case, he told prosecutors in the days leading up to Mr. Kian’s trial that he would no longer agree to testify. That left the government without one of its key witnesses, forcing prosecutors to rely on emails and text messages to prove conduct they had planned on using Mr. Flynn to show. Former Attorney General William P. Barr ultimately moved to drop the Justice Department’s case against Mr. Flynn, setting off a monthslong legal saga that abruptly ended last year when Mr. Trump pardoned him. As part of the initial ruling to toss the conviction against Mr. Kian, Judge Trenga had said Mr. Kian should be granted a new trial. The judges who ruled on Thursday said Mr. Kian is not entitled to one. A San Francisco restaurant. New data shows that nearly 80 percent of new jobless claims in California last month were from people cycling in and out of employment.Credit...Jim Wilson/The New York Times Jobs are coming back. Businesses are reopening. But a year after the pandemic jolted the economy, applications for unemployment benefits remain stubbornly, shockingly high — higher on a weekly basis than at any point in any previous recession, by some measures. And headway has stalled: Initial weekly claims under regular and emergency programs, combined, have been stuck at just above one million since last fall, and last week was no exception, the Labor Department reported Thursday. “It goes up a little bit, it goes down, but really we haven’t seen much progress,” said AnnElizabeth Konkel, an economist for the career site Indeed. “A year into this, I’m starting to wonder, what is it going to take to fix the magnitude problem? How is this going to actually end?” The continued high rate of unemployment applications has been something of a mystery for many economists. With the pandemic still suppressing activity in many sectors, it makes sense that joblessness would remain high. But businesses are reopening in much of the country, and trends on employment and spending are generally improving. So shouldn’t unemployment filings be falling? New evidence from California may offer a partial explanation: According to a report released Thursday by the California Policy Lab, a research organization affiliated with the University of California, nearly 80 percent of the unemployment applications filed in the state last month were from people who had been laid off earlier in the pandemic, gotten back to work, and then been laid off again. Such repeat claims were particularly common in the information sector — which in California includes many film and television employees who have been sidelined by the pandemic — and in the hard-hit hotel and restaurant industries, as well as in construction. The Policy Lab researchers had access to detailed information from the state that allowed them to track individual workers through the system, something not possible with federal data. California’s economy differs from that of the rest of the country in myriad ways, and the pandemic has played out differently there than in many other places. But if the same patterns hold elsewhere, it suggests that the ups and downs of the pandemic — lockdowns and reopenings, restrictions that tighten and ease as virus cases rise and fall — have left many workers stuck in a sort of limbo. A restaurant may recall some workers when indoor dining is allowed, only to lay them off again a few weeks later when restrictions are reimposed. A worker may find a temporary job at a warehouse, or pick up a few hours of work on a delivery app, but be unable to find a more stable job. “This shows the oscillation of employed, unemployed, employed, unemployed — people cycling back into the system,” said Elizabeth Pancotti, policy director at Employ America, a group in Washington that has been an advocate for the unemployed. “We did not see that in previous recessions.” What that instability will mean for workers’ long-term prospects remains unclear. Economic research has found that extended periods of unemployment can leave workers at a permanent disadvantage in the labor market. But there is little precedent for a period of such prolonged instability. Distributing food in Inglewood, Calif., in January. The pandemic’s economic effects hit Black workers in the state especially hard.Credit...Jenna Schoenefeld for The New York Times“We don’t know what happens if you’re out of work for two months, you come back to work for two months, you’re out of work for two months, you keep going back and forth,” Ms. Pancotti said. The California data shows how the economic effects of the pandemic have been concentrated among certain industries and demographic groups — and how the consequences continue to mount for the most affected workers, even as the crisis eases for many others. Nearly 90 percent of Black workers in the state have claimed unemployment benefits at some point in the pandemic, according to the Policy Lab analysis, compared with about 40 percent of whites. Younger and less-educated workers have been hit especially hard. Those totals include filings under the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which covers people left out of the regular unemployment system, a group that disproportionately includes Black workers. The record-keeping for that program has been plagued by overcounting and fraudulent claims. But even a look at the state’s regular unemployment insurance program, which hasn’t faced the same issues, reveals remarkable numbers: Close to three in 10 California workers have claimed benefits during the crisis, and more than four in 10 Black workers. “That degree of inequality is mind-blowing,” said Till von Wachter of the University of California, Los Angeles, one of the report’s authors. Many of those who lost jobs early in the crisis have since returned to work. But millions have not. The Policy Lab found that nearly four million Californians had received more than 26 weeks of benefits during the pandemic, a rough measure of long-term unemployment. “We have solidly shifted into a world where a large-scale problem of long-term unemployment is now a reality,” Dr. von Wachter said. Black workers, older workers, women and those with less education have been more likely to end up out of work for extended periods. Nationally, nearly six million people were enrolled as of late February in federal extended-benefit programs that cover people who have exhausted their regular benefits, which last for six months in most states. The aid package signed by President Biden last week ensures that those programs will continue until fall, but benefits alone won’t prevent the damage that prolonged joblessness can do to workers’ careers and mental and physical health. “The recovery needs to be on the scale of being a once-in-a-generation economic upswing to really pull those people back into the labor market,” Ms. Konkel said. The latest data provides little sign of that happening. More than 746,000 people filed first-time applications for state unemployment benefits last week, up 24,000 from the previous week, according to the Labor Department. In addition, 282,000 filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Most forecasters expect the labor market recovery to accelerate in coming months, as warmer weather and rising vaccination rates allow more businesses to reopen, and as the new injection of government aid encourages Americans to go out and spend. Policymakers at the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday that they expected the unemployment rate to fall to 4.5 percent by the end of the year, a significant upgrade over the 5 percent they forecast three months ago. “We’re already starting to see improvement now, and I think that will start to accelerate fairly quickly,” said Daniel Zhao, an economist at the career site Glassdoor. But government aid can do only so much as long as the pandemic continues to limit consumers’ behavior. The pace of the recovery now, Mr. Zhao said, depends on a factor beyond the scope of normal economic analysis. “The dominating factor right now is how quickly we can get vaccines in arms,” he said.