As the fallout from the assault on the Capitol sparks fresh concerns of new violence and Washington heightens security ahead of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s inauguration on Jan. 20, the president-elect is gearing up to assume office at a tenuous moment for the nation.
Mr. Biden unveiled an ambitious $1.9 trillion spending package on Thursday night, intended to help combat the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the economy. He has signaled that he will prioritize domestic issues during his first weeks in office even as the pending trial of President Trump may sidetrack the Senate from his priorities, including approving his cabinet nominees.
Speaking from Delaware on Thursday to introduce his sweeping economic plan, Mr. Biden urged lawmakers to come together and pass additional relief.
“Unity is not some pie in the sky dream,” he said. “It’s a practical step to getting the things we have to get done as a country, get done together.”
Mr. Biden’s plan has an initial focus on large-scale expansions of the nation’s vaccination program and virus testing capacity. In remarks scheduled for Friday afternoon, he is expected to give additional details about his plan to vaccinate Americans.
And as investigations continue, federal officials have moved to arrest dozens of Americans who rioted at the Capitol last week. A man seen holding a Confederate battle flag, a person identified as striking a police officer with a flagpole and a retired firefighter identified as having thrown a fire extinguisher at officers were among those arrested on Thursday.
Also on Thursday, in a briefing with Vice President Mike Pence, Christopher A. Wray, the director of the F.B.I., acknowledged that in the aftermath of the assault on the Capitol, the bureau was “seeing an extensive amount of concerning online chatter” surrounding the inauguration, including plans for armed protests both in Washington and at state capitol buildings around the country.
Gov. Gavin Newsom of California on Thursday authorized the deployment of 1,000 National Guard troops and surrounded the state Capitol grounds in Sacramento with a six-foot, covered chain-link fence to “prepare for and respond to credible threats.”
Mr. Biden has spoken little about the threats to his inauguration, saying earlier this week only that he was “not afraid” to take the oath of office outdoors as planned. With less than a week to go, Mr. Wray and federal law enforcement officials sought to assure the public that Mr. Biden’s inauguration would be safe.
The Secret Service, which is leading the effort to secure the inauguration, said on Thursday that it would establish a “green zone” in downtown Washington this weekend, blocking streets surrounding the Capitol and Lincoln Memorial and shutting down train lines. National Guard troops continue to flood into the increasingly militarized city, with a total of 20,000 expected to be present for Inauguration Day.