White House Drops Push for Neera Tanden to Be Top Budget Official

Here’s what you need to know: President Biden said that he had accepted Neera Tanden’s request to withdraw from consideration for the director of the Office of Management and Budget.Credit...Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times The White House on Tuesday abandoned its push to install Neera Tanden as the director of President Biden’s budget office after senators in both parties had opposed confirming her, making her nomination the first casualty of the evenly split Senate. In a statement, Mr. Biden said that he had accepted Ms. Tanden’s request to withdraw herself from consideration for the post but said he planned for her to have a “role” in his administration. “I have accepted Neera Tanden’s request to withdraw her name from nomination for Director of the Office of Management and Budget. I have the utmost respect for her record of accomplishment, her experience and her counsel, and I look forward to having her serve in a role in my Administration. She will bring valuable perspective and insight to our work,” Mr. Biden said. Ms. Tanden, who was a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, had drawn bipartisan rebuke for social media posts that criticized lawmakers in both parties and for her work at a liberal think tank. Mr. Biden selected her to direct the Office of Management and Budget before Democrats had won control of the Senate, surprising lawmakers and aides in both parties. During Ms. Tanden’s confirmation hearings, senators grilled her about her social media posts and her decision to delete more than 1,000 Twitter comments before appearing on Capitol Hill. She apologized for the online venom, but it was clear that some senators were not inclined to disregard it. Having clashed with Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who chairs the Budget Committee, and other progressives, Ms. Tanden also faced scrutiny for her comments attacking progressives and for corporate donations she had secured while she was in charge of the Center for American Progress. In the past 10 days, her nomination had teetered on the brink of collapse as centrist Democrats and Republicans — first Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, then Senators Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine, both Republicans — announced they would not back her. That imperiled Ms. Tanden’s margin for confirmation in the 50-50 Senate, leading two committees to abruptly postpone votes last week on advancing her nomination. Video transcript Back bars 0:00/2:16 -0:00 transcript F.B.I. Director Testifies On the Capitol Riot The F.B.I.’s director, Christopher A. Wray, testified before the Senate on Tuesday about the Capitol riot on Jan. 6. His testimony focused on the emergence of domestic terrorism and the identification of extremist groups involved in the attack. “I was appalled, like you, at the violence and destruction that we saw that day. I was appalled that you, our country’s elected leaders, were victimized right here in these very halls, That attack, that siege was criminal behavior, plain and simple, and it’s behavior that we, the F.B.I., view as domestic terrorism. It’s got no place in our democracy, and tolerating it would make a mockery of our nation’s rule of law. Citizens from around the country have sent us more than 270,000 digital media tips. Some have even taken the painful step of turning in their friends or their family members. But with their help, we’ve identified hundreds of suspects and opened hundreds of investigations.” “Based on your investigation, so far, do you have any evidence that the Capitol attack was organized by, quote, ‘fake Trump protesters?’” “We have not seen evidence of that at this stage, certainly. Certainly, while we’re equal opportunity and looking for violent extremism of any ideology, we have not, to date, seen any evidence of anarchist violent extremists or people subscribing to antifa in connection with the 6th. That doesn’t mean, we’re not looking and we’ll continue to look. But at the moment, we have not seen that.” “Oath Keepers, are they a domestic terrorist organization?” “We again, as with probable cause, we have individuals who associate themselves with that group —” “Is antifa a domestic terrorist organization? Same thing, same answer?” “Same answer.” “So why don’t we think about how to gather better information and expose some of these groups — if they were on a list, would it make it easier for you?” “I think the issue of whether or not to designate or have a formal mechanism for designating domestic terror groups the same way we do with, say, al Qaeda or ISIS, I think there’s reasonable debate about whether or not —” “Is the K.K.K. a domestic terrorist group?” “There is no legal designation for that.” “My point is, I don’t know if we should have one or not, but I think it’s time to think about it.” The F.B.I.’s director, Christopher A. Wray, testified before the Senate on Tuesday about the Ca

White House Drops Push for Neera Tanden to Be Top Budget Official
Here’s what you need to know: President Biden said that he had accepted Neera Tanden’s request to withdraw from consideration for the director of the Office of Management and Budget.Credit...Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times The White House on Tuesday abandoned its push to install Neera Tanden as the director of President Biden’s budget office after senators in both parties had opposed confirming her, making her nomination the first casualty of the evenly split Senate. In a statement, Mr. Biden said that he had accepted Ms. Tanden’s request to withdraw herself from consideration for the post but said he planned for her to have a “role” in his administration. “I have accepted Neera Tanden’s request to withdraw her name from nomination for Director of the Office of Management and Budget. I have the utmost respect for her record of accomplishment, her experience and her counsel, and I look forward to having her serve in a role in my Administration. She will bring valuable perspective and insight to our work,” Mr. Biden said. Ms. Tanden, who was a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, had drawn bipartisan rebuke for social media posts that criticized lawmakers in both parties and for her work at a liberal think tank. Mr. Biden selected her to direct the Office of Management and Budget before Democrats had won control of the Senate, surprising lawmakers and aides in both parties. During Ms. Tanden’s confirmation hearings, senators grilled her about her social media posts and her decision to delete more than 1,000 Twitter comments before appearing on Capitol Hill. She apologized for the online venom, but it was clear that some senators were not inclined to disregard it. Having clashed with Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who chairs the Budget Committee, and other progressives, Ms. Tanden also faced scrutiny for her comments attacking progressives and for corporate donations she had secured while she was in charge of the Center for American Progress. In the past 10 days, her nomination had teetered on the brink of collapse as centrist Democrats and Republicans — first Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, then Senators Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine, both Republicans — announced they would not back her. That imperiled Ms. Tanden’s margin for confirmation in the 50-50 Senate, leading two committees to abruptly postpone votes last week on advancing her nomination. Video transcript Back bars 0:00/2:16 -0:00 transcript F.B.I. Director Testifies On the Capitol Riot The F.B.I.’s director, Christopher A. Wray, testified before the Senate on Tuesday about the Capitol riot on Jan. 6. His testimony focused on the emergence of domestic terrorism and the identification of extremist groups involved in the attack. “I was appalled, like you, at the violence and destruction that we saw that day. I was appalled that you, our country’s elected leaders, were victimized right here in these very halls, That attack, that siege was criminal behavior, plain and simple, and it’s behavior that we, the F.B.I., view as domestic terrorism. It’s got no place in our democracy, and tolerating it would make a mockery of our nation’s rule of law. Citizens from around the country have sent us more than 270,000 digital media tips. Some have even taken the painful step of turning in their friends or their family members. But with their help, we’ve identified hundreds of suspects and opened hundreds of investigations.” “Based on your investigation, so far, do you have any evidence that the Capitol attack was organized by, quote, ‘fake Trump protesters?’” “We have not seen evidence of that at this stage, certainly. Certainly, while we’re equal opportunity and looking for violent extremism of any ideology, we have not, to date, seen any evidence of anarchist violent extremists or people subscribing to antifa in connection with the 6th. That doesn’t mean, we’re not looking and we’ll continue to look. But at the moment, we have not seen that.” “Oath Keepers, are they a domestic terrorist organization?” “We again, as with probable cause, we have individuals who associate themselves with that group —” “Is antifa a domestic terrorist organization? Same thing, same answer?” “Same answer.” “So why don’t we think about how to gather better information and expose some of these groups — if they were on a list, would it make it easier for you?” “I think the issue of whether or not to designate or have a formal mechanism for designating domestic terror groups the same way we do with, say, al Qaeda or ISIS, I think there’s reasonable debate about whether or not —” “Is the K.K.K. a domestic terrorist group?” “There is no legal designation for that.” “My point is, I don’t know if we should have one or not, but I think it’s time to think about it.” The F.B.I.’s director, Christopher A. Wray, testified before the Senate on Tuesday about the Capitol riot on Jan. 6. His testimony focused on the emergence of domestic terrorism and the identification of extremist groups involved in the attack.CreditCredit...Anna Moneymaker for The New York TimesThe F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, told senators on Tuesday that he was “appalled” by the siege of the U.S. Capitol and warned that domestic terrorism is “metastasizing across the country,” while insisting that the bureau issued repeated warnings about the threat in the months before the riot. Mr. Wray’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee was his first appearance before Congress since the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, when a mob of Trump supporters protesting the election results stormed the building, resulting in five deaths and scores of injuries to police officers. “That attack, that siege, was criminal behavior, plain and simple, and it was behavior that we, the F.B.I., view as domestic terrorism,” Mr. Wray said. “It’s got no place in our democracy.” Pressed on why the F.B.I. had not been more prepared for the violence, Mr. Wray said the bureau had for months released intelligence reports related to domestic terrorism — some specifically tied to the election — both publicly and to other law enforcement agencies such as the U.S. Capitol Police. Mr. Wray said the bureau was reviewing its actions but agreed that the insurrection was not an “acceptable result.” “We aim to bat a thousand,” he said. Mr. Wray said the riot was not an isolated event and that the problem of domestic terrorism had grown dramatically in recent years. He disclosed that the number of domestic terrorism investigations at the F.B.I. had doubled to 2,000 since he became its director in 2017. He emphasized that the potential for racially or ethnically motivated violence remained the greatest threat among potential domestic terrorists. In his opening statement, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Democratic chairman of the committee, said the riot demonstrated that “for far too long, our federal government has failed to address the growing terrorist menace in our own backyard.” He accused the Trump administration of playing down the threat from white supremacists while stoking a narrative that left-wing anarchists were the greater danger to the country. Listing a litany of mass shootings, Mr. Durbin added: “Let’s stop pretending that the threat of Antifa is equal to the white supremacist threat.” Mr. Wray repeatedly said in response to questions from Democratic senators that people associated with the antifascist movement known as Antifa were not involved in storming the Capitol and that rioters were genuinely Trump supporters, not posing falsely as them. The Capitol Police has largely shouldered the blame for the Jan. 6 attack on Congress, leading to the resignation of its chief, Steven Sund, whose requests for the National Guard were denied. Yogananda D. Pittman, the acting chief of the Capitol Police, has told Congress that there was a “strong potential for violence” but that the authorities failed to do enough to thwart the “terrorist attack.” Indeed, there were several signs of the potential for violence on Jan. 6. Federal law enforcement officials knew that members of militias such as the Oath Keepers and far-right groups such as the Proud Boys planned to travel to Washington, some potentially with weapons. Many adherents of QAnon, a dangerous conspiracy theory that has emerged as a possible domestic terrorism threat, were also expected to attend a protest rally where Mr. Trump spoke. In addition, the F.B.I.’s Norfolk, Va., office produced a report a day earlier warning of possible war the next day. The report mentioned people sharing a map of tunnels at the Capitol complex. However, the information was unverified and the portion that quoted “war” appeared to come from a single online thread. The F.B.I. provided the report to the Capitol Police, although Mr. Sund said last week that he never saw it. Mr. Wray said that F.B.I. officials relayed the information on at least three occasions to other law enforcement agencies. He said the bureau decided to share the information quickly rather than try to verify it first, given the limited time left before the planned demonstrations on Jan. 6. He said that he had not seen the report until after the riot but that the handling of it was typical for such intelligence. Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, asked what Capitol Police leaders should have done they had seen the Jan. 5 report. “I really want to be careful about not to be an armchair quarterback,” Mr. Wray said. He later said he did not have a “good answer” as to why Mr. Sund did not get the report. Republicans on the committee were quick to point out the violence last summer at some racial justice protests, sometimes carried out by anti-government extremists such as anarchists. “We must examine the issue of domestic terrorism broadly, to include the left and right wing of the political spectrum,” said Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the top Republican on the committee. Cecilia Rouse has said she will make promoting racial and gender equity in the economy a priority as chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.Credit...Kriston Jae Bethel for The New York Times The Senate voted on Tuesday to confirm Cecilia Rouse, a Princeton University economist, as the chair of President Biden’s Council of Economic Advisers, making her the first Black leader of C.E.A. in its 75-year history. The final vote was 95 to 4. Dr. Rouse is the dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, and a former member of the council under President Barack Obama. Her academic research has focused on education, discrimination and the forces that hold some people back in the American economy. She won widespread praise from Republicans and Democrats alike in her confirmation hearing, with senators on the Banking Committee voting unanimously to send her nomination to the full Senate. She will assume her post amid an ongoing economic and public health crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic, and in the waning days of congressional debate on a $1.9 trillion economic aid package that Mr. Biden has made his first major legislative priority. But in interviews and her hearing testimony, Dr. Rouse has made clear that she sees a larger set of priorities as C.E.A. chair: overhauling the inner workings of the federal government in order to promote racial and gender equity in the economy. “As deeply distressing as this pandemic and economic fallout have been,” she said in her hearing, “it is also an opportunity to rebuild the economy better than it was before — making it work for everyone by increasing the availability of fulfilling jobs and leaving no one vulnerable to falling through the cracks.” One of her initiatives as council chair will be to audit the ways in which the government collects and reports economic data, in order to break it down by race, gender and other demographic variables with the goal of improving the government’s ability to target economic policies to help historically disadvantaged groups. “We want to design policies that will be economically effective,” Dr. Rouse said in an interview this year. Asked how she would judge effectiveness, she replied, “It’s by keeping our eye on this ball, and asking ourselves, every time we look at a policy, what are the racial and ethnic impacts?” President Biden urged senators to hold together to reject an avalanche of poison pill amendments Republicans plan to offer when the Senate begins voting on the bill later this week.Credit...Doug Mills/The New York Times President Biden sought to rally Senate Democrats on Tuesday in the face of solidifying Republican opposition to his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan, promising senators preparing to advance the first major legislative undertaking of his presidency that the outcome would be overwhelmingly popular with Americans. Dialing into a regular Democratic conference call, Mr. Biden urged senators to hold together to reject an avalanche of poison pill amendments Republicans plan to offer when the Senate begins voting on the bill later this week. The stakes for Americans’ jobs and health, he said, were simply too high to let Republicans diminish or delay the stimulus measures. “The public really needs it. This plan is composed of the right elements. It’s popular. Republicans like it. Republican mayors and governors like it. The bill will be chock-full of things that Republicans have asked for,” Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat of Virgina, said recounting Mr. Biden’s private message. “So, you know, let’s do it.” After the House approved the stimulus bill with no support from Republicans over the weekend, Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, is planning for the Senate to take up the measure as soon as Wednesday. With the Senate split 50-50, Mr. Biden cannot afford to lose a single Democratic vote and Democrats want to act quickly, before unemployment benefits lapse on March 14. The bill includes direct checks of up to $1,400 for millions of Americans; extends increased federal unemployment benefits set to expire this month; provides additional funds for coronavirus vaccine distribution, testing and tracing; and sends $200 billion to schools and another $350 billion to state, local and tribal governments weathering the economic turbulence inflicted by the pandemic. “We will have the votes we need to pass that bill,” Mr. Schumer predicted on Tuesday after the call. “Our message to the American people is very simple: help is on the way.” But after supporting five earlier coronavirus response bills, Republicans are determined to make passage of a sixth as painful as possible. Democrats have elected to pursue a partisan process that will allow for a more sweeping approach. Though a group of moderates briefly flirted with trying to negotiate a compromise with Mr. Biden, Republican leaders are determined to deny the plan any bipartisan support. “This is a wildly expensive proposal, largely unrelated to the problem,” Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, said on Tuesday. He added: “We will be fighting this in every way that we can.” Centrist Democrats have seized on the slim margins to push party leaders to adopt last-minute tweaks to the bill, including a proposal to narrow eligibility for the $1,400 stimulus payments. The bill is already on course to change from what the House passed, including the removal of an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, which the Senate parliamentarian has ruled does not meet the requirements of the budget reconciliation process that Democrats are employing to allow the measure to pass with a simple majority. Mr. Biden largely avoided detailed discussion of those potential changes during his call on Tuesday, the Democrats familiar with his remarks said, but he reiterated that he was fully committed to fighting for the minimum wage increase, likely in a stand-alone bill. Mr. Biden spoke for about 15 minutes and did not take questions, the Democrats said. Gov. Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island was known for introducing a centrist agenda that included training programs, fewer regulations and reduced taxes for businesses.Credit...Kayana Szymczak for The New York Times The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Gina Raimondo, a former governor of Rhode Island and a former venture capitalist, as the next secretary of commerce. A moderate Democrat with a background in the financial industry, Ms. Raimondo is expected to leverage her private and public sector experience to oversee a sprawling bureaucracy that is charged with both promoting and regulating American business. Her nomination was approved by a vote of 84 to 15. (An earlier version of this article misstated the vote as 85 to 15.) Hours later, Ms. Raimondo resigned as governor of Rhode Island. Soon after, the state’s lieutenant governor, Daniel J. McKee, was sworn in as her replacement, according to The Providence Journal. Under Ms. Raimondo, the commerce department is likely to play a crucial role in several of Mr. Biden’s policy efforts, including spurring the American economy, building out rural broadband and other infrastructure, and leading America’s technology competition with China. The department also carries out the census, oversees American fisheries, weather monitoring, telecommunications standards and economic data gathering, among other activities. Maria Cantwell, a Democratic senator from Washington, said she thought Ms. Raimondo’s private sector experience would help her in facilitating new investments and creating jobs, and that she was “counting on Governor Raimondo to help us with our export economy.” Ms. Cantwell also said she believed Ms. Raimondo would be a departure from President Donald J. Trump’s commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross. “I think he and the President spent a lot more time shaking their fists at the world community than engaging them on policies that were really going to help markets and help us move forward with getting our products in the door.” A graduate of Yale University and Oxford University, Ms. Raimondo was a founding employee at Village Ventures, an investment firm backed by Bain Capital. She also co-founded her own venture capital firm, Point Judith Capital, before being elected treasurer and then governor of Rhode Island. The first female governor of the state, she was known for introducing a centrist agenda that included training programs, fewer regulations and reduced taxes for businesses. She also led a restructuring of the state’s pension programs, clashing with unions in the process. Ms. Raimondo drew criticism from some Republicans in her nomination hearing in January, when she declined to commit to keeping certain restrictions in place on the exports that could be sent to Chinese telecom firm Huawei. Under Mr. Trump, the Commerce Department played an outsized role in trade policy, levying tariffs on imported aluminum and steel for national security reasons, investigating additional tariffs on cars, and placing a variety of curbs on technology exports to China. Ms. Raimondo and other Biden administration officials have not clarified whether they will keep or scrap those restrictions, saying they will first carry out a comprehensive review of their impact. In 2018, Representative Steven M. Palazzo’s campaign committee entered into a lease with the congressman to rent his house as a campaign headquarters for $3,000 per month.Credit...J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press The Office of Congressional Ethics is investigating a Mississippi congressman for what it called a “concerning pattern” of potentially misusing campaign funds, including spending more than $80,000 on a $1.2 million waterfront house that he was trying to sell. In a report published on Monday, the Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics said it had voted unanimously to recommend that the House Ethics Committee continue to investigate Representative Steven M. Palazzo, Republican of Mississippi, because there was “substantial reason to believe that Rep. Palazzo converted funds to personal use to pay expenses that were not legitimate.” At issue, among other allegations, the report said, was a “concerning pattern of campaign expenditures on a large riverfront home which Rep. Palazzo owned and rented to Palazzo for Congress as an ostensible campaign headquarters.” The four-bedroom home, which the congressman referred to as the “River House,” was outfitted with a boat dock and a guest cottage, and was mainly used as a weekend home by Mr. Palazzo’s family, which had owned it for about 20 years, according to the findings. The property, situated on the Tchoutacabouffa River north of Biloxi, was appraised in 2017 for $1.175 million, according to the report, and Mr. Palazzo had been trying unsuccessfully to sell it. He planned to make repairs and then “put it back on the market and get it off his hands,” but potential buyers kept balking because of “the extensive repairs the house needed,” the report stated. In 2018, Mr. Palazzo’s campaign committee entered into a lease with the congressman to rent the house as a campaign headquarters for $3,000 per month. The lease was equal to the amount the congressman owed each month on the property, the report stated. The four-bedroom “River House” was mainly used as a weekend home by Mr. Palazzo’s family.Credit...Office of Congressional EthicsInvestigators found that the campaign also spent more than $11,000 on utilities at the house, $6,300 on landscaping, $1,500 on plumbing, $1,300 on heating and air conditioning, $960 on a security system and $690 on cleaning, for a total of more than $82,000 spent at the property. They identified other home improvement charges they said may have been connected to the house, but Mr. Palazzo’s campaign committee either did not have or did not provide records of the expenses, they said. Eventually, Mr. Palazzo sold the property in September of 2019 for $485,000, the report stated. Investigators also questioned the role of the congressman’s brother in his campaign, stating that Kyle Palazzo’s work “may not have justified the salary he received.” He was paid more than $23,000 in the last campaign cycle, according to the report. In response to the investigation, a lawyer for Mr. Palazzo said the inquiry began because of “unfounded allegations” from a political opponent. “At all times, Representative Palazzo acted in good faith to comply with Federal Election Commission rules,” wrote the lawyer, Gregg Harper. A polling place in Phoenix last year.Credit...Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times The Supreme Court was poised on Tuesday to uphold two Arizona voting restrictions, one requiring election officials to discard ballots cast at the wrong precinct and the other making it a crime for campaign workers and other proxies to collect ballots for delivery to polling places, a practice critics call “ballot harvesting.” Several members of the court’s conservative majority said the restrictions were sensible, commonplace and at least partly endorsed by a bipartisan consensus reflected in a 2005 report signed by former President Jimmy Carter and James A. Baker III, who served as secretary of state under President George Bush. The Biden administration, too, told the justices in an unusual letter two weeks ago that the Arizona measures appeared to be lawful. The court heard the case as disputes over voting rights have again become a flash point in American politics, with Democrats arguing that Republicans are increasingly trying to suppress the vote, especially among minorities. But the case argued this week, Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, deals with broader legal and Constitutional issues. Attorneys for both sides, and the justices themselves, discussed the wisdom of establishing clearer standards for deciding cases involving Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Supreme Court has never considered how Section 2, which bars any voting procedure that “results in a denial or abridgment of the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race,” applies to voting restrictions like the ones in Arizona. The provision has been used mostly in redistricting cases, where the question was whether voting maps had unlawfully diluted minority voting power. Its role in addressing the denial of the right to vote itself has been subject to much less attention. Over two hours of arguments, the justices struggled to identify a standard that would allow courts to distinguish lawful restrictions from improper ones. But it was not clear that lower courts would be much helped if the Supreme Court were to adopt a vague and flexible approach. Justice Amy Coney Barrett suggested that the court should adopt a clear standard. “All election rules,” she said, “are going to make it easier for some to vote than others.” Last year, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, ruled that both Arizona restrictions violated Section 2 because they disproportionately disadvantaged minority voters. In 2016, Black, Latino and Native American voters were about twice as likely to cast ballots in the wrong precinct as were white voters, Judge William A. Fletcher wrote for the majority in the 7-to-4 decision. Similarly, he wrote, the ban on ballot collectors had an outsize effect on minority voters, who use ballot collection services far more than white voters because they are more likely to be poor, older, homebound or disabled; to lack reliable transportation, child care and mail service; and to need help understanding voting rules. Judge Fletcher added that “there is no evidence of any fraud in the long history of third-party ballot collection in Arizona.” A gate to the Merck & Co. campus in New Jersey in 2018.Credit...Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters President Biden announced Tuesday that there would be enough doses of the coronavirus vaccine available for the entire adult population in the United States by the end of May, though he said it will take longer to inoculate everyone and he urged people to remain vigilant by wearing masks. Mr. Biden had previously said there would be enough doses by the end of July. On Tuesday, he said the faster production of the vaccine was in part the result of an agreement by the pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co to help manufacture the new Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine under an unusual deal, brokered by the White House. He said that agreement, along with other efforts by the government to help Johnson & Johnson produce more doses quickly, will substantially increase the supply of the new vaccine and ramp up the pace of vaccination just as worrisome new variants of the virus have been found in the United States. “As a consequence of the stepped up process that I ordered, and just outlined, this country will have enough vaccine supply as a target for every adult in America by the end of May,” Mr. Biden said. “By the end of May. That’s progress. Important progress.” The arrangement, first reported by The Washington Post, comes just days after the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency authorization to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Merck is an experienced vaccine manufacturer whose own attempt at making a coronavirus vaccine was unsuccessful. Mr. Biden described the partnership between the two competitors as “historic,” and said it harks back to his vision of a wartime effort to fight the coronavirus, similar to the manufacturing campaigns waged during World War II. Just how quickly Merck will be able to ramp up is unclear. It will take months for the company to convert its facilities to manufacture and package a vaccine that it did not invent, according to two people familiar with Johnson & Johnson’s operations who were not authorized to speak publicly. But one federal official with knowledge of the arrangement, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the administration hopes the deal would eventually double the doses that Johnson & Johnson could have manufactured on its own. Although company executives have promised that the firm will catch up this spring, Johnson & Johnson has been running behind on its manufacturing targets as it tries to ramp up at its new plant in Baltimore. Its initial shipments of doses, delivered this week to states, were manufactured at its plant in the Netherlands. Under the new agreement, Merck will dedicate two of its facilities to production of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. One facility will provide “fill-finish,” the final phase of the manufacturing process during which the vaccine is placed in vials and packaged for shipping. The other will make the “drug substance” — the vaccine itself. Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said that the federal government will invoke the Defense Production Act to help Merck obtain necessary supplies and equipment, and has also asked the Defense Department to strengthen Johnson & Johnson’s manufacturing effort. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the third to receive emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration — following Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech. And the pace of the nation’s vaccination effort has been steadily accelerating. As of Monday, about 50.7 million people have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, including about 25.5 million people who have been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines performed somewhat better in clinical trials, all three vaccines are considered safe and effective. And the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has some advantages: It requires only one shot, and studies show it may curb spread of the virus. Johnson & Johnson’s $1 billion federal contract, signed last year when it had just started developing the vaccine, called for it to deliver 37 million doses by the end of March and a total of 100 million doses by the end of June. The company has now said it can only deliver 20 million doses this month, and senior administration officials have said the vast bulk of those will only be ready in the final weeks of March. Michael D. Shear and Noah Weiland contributed reporting. Video transcript Back bars 0:00/1:01 -0:00 transcript White House Imposes Sanctions on Russia Following Navalny Poisoning The White House announced sanctions against Russian officials on Tuesday for orchestrating the poisoning of Aleksei A. Navalny and placing the opposition leader in jail. The Biden-Harris administration is announcing key conclusions from an intelligence community assessment on the poisoning of Aleksei Navalny, as well as measures to hold Russia accountable for this action. The intelligence community assesses with high confidence that officers of Russia’s federal security service used a nerve agent to poison Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny on Aug. 20, 2020. The use of any chemical weapon directly violates international legal obligations and norms of civilized conduct. And our actions today fall into a number of categories, and reflect a whole of government response. Today, the United States is announcing sanctions on seven senior members of the Russian government, an expansion of sanctions under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act, new export restrictions on items that could be used for biological agent and chemical production and visa restrictions. We also reiterate our call for the Russian government to immediately and unconditionally release Mr. Navalny. The White House announced sanctions against Russian officials on Tuesday for orchestrating the poisoning of Aleksei A. Navalny and placing the opposition leader in jail.CreditCredit...Maxim Shemetov/ReutersThe Biden administration on Tuesday declassified an intelligence finding that the F.S.B., one of Russia’s leading intelligence agencies, orchestrated the poisoning of the opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny, and announced its first sanctions against the Russian government for the attack and his imprisonment. The sanctions closely mirrored a series of actions that European nations and Britain took in October and expanded on Monday. Senior officials said it was part of an effort to show unity in the Biden administration’s first confrontations with the government of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. But none of the sanctions were specifically directed at Mr. Putin or the oligarchs who support the Russian leader. Just as President Biden held back last week from direct sanctions against Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia for his role in the operation that killed Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi dissident, the American sanctions did not touch Russia’s senior leadership. In announcing the role of the F.S.B., or Federal Security Service, in the poisoning, American intelligence officials were confirming the reports of many news organizations, some of which traced the individual agents who tracked Mr. Navalny and attacked him with Novichok, a nerve agent that Russia has used against other dissidents. It was unclear if the United States planned to release a formal report, as it did last week when it confirmed two-year-old findings on the role of the Saudi crown prince in the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, or would simply summarize the key finding in the Navalny case. The sanctions are notable chiefly because they are the first Mr. Biden has taken in the six weeks since he became president. While most presidents have come into office declaring they would seek a reset of relations with Russia, Mr. Biden has done the opposite. He has warned that Mr. Putin is driving his country into an era of authoritarianism and promised to push back on human rights violations and efforts to destabilize Europe. One official told reporters on Tuesday morning that the Biden administration was not seeking to reset relations or escalate confrontations. The test may come in the next few weeks, when the administration is expected to announce its response to the SolarWinds cyberattack, in which suspected Russian hackers bore deeply into nine government agencies and more than 100 companies, stealing data and planting “back doors” into their computer networks. While the Navalny case was a vivid example of Russian brutality — his F.S.B. attackers stalked him as he traveled across Europe and apparently applied the nerve agent to his underwear — the Biden administration sees SolarWinds as a more direct attack on the United States. Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, said the response “will not simply be sanctions” and hinted at some kind of covert response as well. But in the Navalny case, only sanctions were announced — and they might have little effect. History suggests that sanctions work better, if at all, on smaller, less powerful nations, and then only over time. They are often used to signal disapproval without much expectation of changed behavior. Biden administration officials have tapped the former interim leader of the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington to return to the post on an acting basis, according to an internal memo. The official, Channing D. Phillips, a former federal prosecutor, will return to run the office that has been leading the Justice Department’s sprawling investigation into the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. “Effective tomorrow, Channing Philips will take the reins as the acting United States attorney for the District of Columbia,” the current acting U.S. attorney, Michael R. Sherwin, wrote in a memo to the office that was obtained by The New York Times. Mr. Phillips declined to comment. Justice Department representatives did not respond to an email seeking comment. Mr. Sherwin will continue to oversee the investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, working out of the main Justice Department in Washington, he wrote in the memo. He also said that he will “assist in the transition of these cases to new leadership,” suggesting that he will not remain in his supervisory role on a long-term basis. All of the U.S. attorneys appointed by former President Donald J. Trump resigned last month, a typical move during presidential transitions. In most cases, their top deputies stepped into their roles on an acting basis while President Biden seeks their replacements. That makes it somewhat unusual that the Washington prosecutors’ office will be led by someone coming in from outside the department for that interim period. But Mr. Phillips is well-known to the Washington office, having served there as a federal prosecutor and as acting U.S. attorney during the Obama administration. Department officials have expressed hope that his ties will help restore confidence and morale in an office that was roiled by accusations of political interference under former Attorney General William P. Barr, who intervened in the office’s prosecutions of the Trump allies Roger J. Stone and Michael T. Flynn. The office has had a particularly active stretch even outside of the investigation into the Capitol attack, which has resulted in more than 330 cases charged in seven weeks. Federal prosecutors in Washington also recently brought cases related to the largest seizure of illicit Iranian petroleum in U.S. history and a major seizure of cryptocurrency that was used to fund foreign terrorist organizations, Mr. Sherwin said in his memo. “We work here because we want to make a difference in our communities, and all of you this year have done so and it has been a privilege working alongside you,” Mr. Sherwin wrote.