Washington — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidelines on Tuesday showing which activities that COVID-19 vaccinated citizens may enjoy, including attending small outdoor gatherings without face coverings.

The new recommendations detail many situations in which fully vaccinated citizens may forgo wearing a face mask, but emphasized their continued use in most indoor settings and crowded outdoor areas.

“Today is another day we can take a step back to the normalcy of before,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said. “Over the past year, we have spent a lot of time telling Americans what they cannot do, what they should not do. Today, I’m going to tell you some of the things you can do if you are fully vaccinated.”

The new recommendations say fully vaccinated individuals can engage in the following activities without wearing face coverings:

  • Attending small outdoor gatherings with fully vaccinated family and friends.
  • Attending small outdoor gatherings with a mixture of fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
  • Walking, running, hiking or biking outdoors alone or with members of their household.
  • Dining at outdoor restaurants with friends from multiple households.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser, said that “the risk of infection outside is really minimum. If you’re vaccinated, and you’re outside, it’s even less.”

Fully vaccinated people may also attend “a crowded, outdoor event, like a live performance, parade, or sports event,” as long as they remain masked.

Walensky urged fully vaccinated Americans to wear masks indoors, citing there are 50,000 new COVID-19 cases per day, but said it is “safe for those who are fully vaccinated to return to the activities they love doing inside while wearing a mask.”

The CDC website says “Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or two weeks after receiving the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.”

The new guidelines suggest that fully vaccinated individuals continue wearing masks when in public spaces, when gathering indoors with unvaccinated people from more than one household, when visiting unvaccinated high-risk individuals or in an outdoor setting or venue where masks are required. The updated CDC guidance recommends that fully vaccinated people continue to avoid medium or large-sized gatherings.

Washington, D.C. — Joseph Biden was sworn in Wednesday as the 46th president of the United States, rising to the top of a career in public service that began 50 years ago as he faces a deeply divided nation dealing with the effects of a nearly yearlong pandemic.

With his hand on his family Bible, Biden recited the oath of office promising to “faithfully execute the office of president of the United States,” and, with the help of God, “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Moments before, Kamala D. Harris took her oath of office, making her the country’s first female vice president, and also the first Black American and first with Indian heritage to hold the second highest office in the land. She placed her hand on twin Bibles, one from a family friend and the second belonging to Thurgood Marshall, the first African American justice of the Supreme Court.

President Biden, after taking the oath of office, talked about the importance of unifying the country, saying “my whole soul is in this.”

The President called on Americans to come together to overcome the extraordinary challenges that face the nation – an idea that he often mentioned on the campaign trail

“To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of America requires so much more than words and requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy, unity,” Biden said.

“Uniting to fight the foes we face. Anger, resentment and hatred, extremism, lawlessness, violence, disease, joblessness and hopelessness. With unity we can do great things, important things,” he added.

Biden said America would provide a positive example to the world under his leadership as president.

“I will be the president of all Americans,” he said …. “We must end this uncivil war .. We’ll lead not merely by the example of our power, but by the power of our example.”

Acknowledging the challenging times ahead for the country as it continues to battle coronavirus, Biden said, “Folks, this is a time of testing.”

The president added, “We will be judged, you and I, by how we resolve these cascading crises of our era. Will we rise to the occasion? Will we master this rare and difficult hour?”

VIce President Kamala Harris.
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A week before leaving office, President Donald Trump became the first American president impeached by the House twice. The U.S. House of Representatives charged the nation’s 45th president with high crimes and misdemeanors for inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week.

The chamber charged Trump in a 232-197 vote, as all Democrats and 10 Republicans backed the measure, including Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, who represents Washington’s 3rd District.

“I rise today to stand against our enemy. And to clarify, our enemy isn’t the president, or the president-elect. Fear is our enemy. It tells us what we want to hear, it incites anger and violence and fire, but it also haunts us into silence and inaction. What are you afraid of?” she asked.

“The President of the United States incited a riot aiming to halt the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next. That riot led to five deaths. People everywhere watched in disbelief as the center of American democracy was assaulted. The violent mob bludgeoned to death a Capitol police officer as they defaced symbols of our freedom. These terrorists roamed the Capitol, hunting the Vice President and Speaker of the House,” Herrera Beutler said.

“Hours went by before the President did anything meaningful to stop the attack. Instead, he and his lawyer were busy making calls to senators who were still in lockdown, seeking their support to further delay the Electoral College certification.”

“My vote to impeach our sitting president is not a fear-based decision. I am not choosing a side, I’m choosing truth. It’s the only way to defeat fear,” Herrera Beutler concluded.

Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) released the following statement Tuesday regarding the Article of Impeachment vote against President Donald Trump:

“The President of the United States incited a riot aiming to halt the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next. That riot led to five deaths. People everywhere watched in disbelief as the center of American democracy was assaulted. The violent mob bludgeoned to death a Capitol police officer as they defaced symbols of our freedom. These terrorists roamed the Capitol, hunting the Vice President and the Speaker of the House. 

“Hours went by before the President did anything meaningful to stop the attack. Instead, he and his lawyer were busy making calls to senators who were still in lockdown, seeking their support to further delay the Electoral College certification. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy describes pleading with the President to go on television and call for an end to the mayhem, to no avail. The President attacked Vice President Mike Pence on Twitter while Pence was in a secure room having fled from the mob that had breached the Senate floor threatening to hang him. Finally, the President released a pathetic denouncement of the violence that also served as a wink and a nod to those who perpetrated it: “I love you,” he said to them, “you are special.” More hours of destruction and violence ensued before law enforcement officials were finally able to clear the Capitol.

“The President’s offenses, in my reading of the Constitution, were impeachable based on the indisputable evidence we already have. I understand the argument that the best course is not to further inflame the country or alienate Republican voters. But I am also a Republican voter. I believe in our Constitution, individual liberty, free markets, charity, life, justice, peace and this exceptional country. I see that my own party will be best served when those among us choose truth. 

“I believe President Trump acted against his oath of office, so I will vote to impeach him.”

Washington, DC — Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-3rd District) was on the U.S. House of Representatives today as the Capitol building was raided by protestors, and issued this statement:

“I was on the House floor as the protestors overran police and pounded on the doors. The Capitol Police barricaded us in. We were told to get down and to get our gas masks. Eventually, we were ushered out. Capitol police who were escorting me told me they had found and detonated four bombs just off the Capitol campus. I am currently safe and sheltered in place. We are locked down because the Capitol is not secure.

”The reports you are hearing about the chaos, panic and dangerous actions by protestors are not exaggerations. I witnessed them. Is this the America we want to give to our children? A country of lawlessness and mob rule? Previous generations of Americans have laid down their lives to answer “no” to that question. Do we want to be the first generation selfish enough to say “yes”? If we do, then what makes us a better nation than Iran or Russia?

”Though this feels very much like a secondary issue today, I wrote the below statement yesterday to post on social media explaining the Constitutional reasons why I won’t vote to overturn the Electoral College results. But frankly, the important thing is this; we cannot be a nation of lawlessness and anarchy. That’s the road we’re headed down with this disrespect for our popular elections and our Constitution, and the neverending conspiracy theories and misinformation. Please, be peaceful and stand down. Nothing is more important to me as a Representative than the preservation of our Constitutional republic.”

Article II of the Constitution states “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, […]” meaning that it is the duty of State Legislatures to select electors in the manner they stipulate. The founders of our Republic did not want to federalize elections, which is why they reserve the selection of electors to the states.

Historically, when Congress intervened in the Electoral College process, as in the Civil War, there were multiple slates of electors sent and it was truly an issue of deciding who had the authority within a state to send electors. That’s not the case today. Of the six states being actively contested in this election, five have Republican legislatures. Yet not one legislative body has voted to withhold, object to, or change certification of their electors. Every single one of the states in question has certified and sent one slate of electors officially to Congress. Not a secondary slate. Not a contested slate. Not multiple slates. One slate. Not one of these legislatures has met as a body and voted to send Congress a bill, a resolution of disapproval, or a plea for help due to injustice. Nothing.

If there are no conflicting slates of electors, the Constitution’s 12th Amendment confines the role of Congress to counting the votes cast. It does not give Congress the power to disqualify electoral votes cast by the states. The Founders were wise to divide power this way. If Congress could disqualify electoral votes, then each president would be selected not by the states or the people, but by Congress.

Armed guards protect U.S. Representatives in the Capitol building.

Recall that four years ago, there were Democrat Representatives in Congress who would not acknowledge President Trump’s victory based on their beliefs that Russians had delivered him the election. Other prominent Democrats, from Jimmy Carter to Hillary Clinton, called President Trump’s election “illegitimate” because of “voter suppression,” “hacking,” and “false stories.” Some Representatives tried – unsuccessfully – to object to President Trump’s election in the very manner being suggested now. We must be careful not to create a precedent that would allow every future presidential election to be nullified by the political party that controls Congress. In politics, what goes around comes around.

Several members of Congress state that objecting today is the only way to ensure that “the people’s voices are heard,” but they overlook the responsibility of the people in those states in question to hold their own elected officials accountable. I find it difficult to assert that I, a member of Congress from Washington state, know better than the people of Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, and Nevada whom they should elect to be responsible for their Electoral College selection process. We may not like who they elected, or how their process works, or what electors their states sent us, but the Constitution does not give us the authority to substitute our ideas for theirs.

I will not vote to undermine the entire Electoral College because my choice for president did not win. I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States above all else. I will not violate this oath. Instead, my vote will be to uphold the Constitution and ensure the power remains placed with the people – not just a few in Congress – as the founders of our nation intended.

Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler.
Assault on the U.S. Capitol.

Olympia, WA — Governor Jay Inslee announced today a new statewide reopening plan for 2021.

“Today we are announcing a new plan — called Healthy Washington — to move forward in 2021 once we see COVID activity reduce, hospitals that aren’t overrun with COVID patients, people continuing to mask, and all the other personal steps we know work to prevent infection,” Inslee said.

Inslee made it clear the state is not moving forward in a big way today, but he said that a new plan is needed. This new reopening plan goes into effect Jan. 11, 2021, and includes a “small resumption” of some activities across the state.

In contrast to last year’s Safe Start program, this plan has two phases at inception. More phases will be added when COVID activity is significantly reduced, Inslee said. Another big change is that Healthy Washington will also be governed by region, not by county.

“Because we know that health care systems are regional and we know that the virus does not respect county boundaries,” Inslee said. He added that this makes sense from both a public health perspective and a “health care delivery” one, as well.

Counties will be grouped into eight regions based on health system resources over a geographic area, the governor explained. The four metrics to track progress will be COVID-19 hospitalizations, ICU capacity, case data, and test positivity.

“All four targets have to be met for a region to reopen more activities,” Inslee said.

All regions will start in Phase 1, according to Inslee. There is no application for moving to Phase 2, but rather will be decided based on information regularly collected by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). In order to advance, regions must show a 10 percent decreasing trend in case rates; a 10 percent decrease in COVID hospital admission rates; an ICU occupancy rate that’s less than 90 percent; and a test positivity rate of less than 10 percent.

In Phase 2, restaurants may open indoor dining at 25 percent capacity; this also applies to indoor fitness centers. Sports competitions may also resume in Phase 2 with audience limits. Wedding and funeral ceremonies will be able to increase their capacities from current limits, as well.

“It allows us to now see a path forward,” said Dr. Umair Shah, the state Secretary of Health, who joined today’s conference call. “We are not there yet as a state, we are all committed to getting there, though, as a state.”

Shah did say the possibility exists that regions could move backward from Phase 2 to Phase 1. The DOH will closely monitor the data, and Shah said DOH will start posting the most recent analyses each Friday, beginning this week. Phase upgrades will be announced on Mondays.


To remain in Phase 2, regions must meet at least 3 metrics:

  • Decreasing or flat trend in two-week rate of COVID-19 cases per 100K population
  • Decreasing or flat trend in two-week rate new COVID-19 hospital admission rates per 100K population
  • ICU occupancy (total — COVID-19 and non-COVID-19) of less than 90%
  • COVID-19 test positivity rate of <10%.

“We do not want to fear COVID-19, but we have to respect COVID-19,” Shah said. “It has been a formidable foe throughout this last year, and we have to do everything we can to move forward.”

The eight regions are as follows:

  • Central: King, Pierce, Snohomish
  • East: Adams, Asotin, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens, Whitman
  • North: Island, San Juan, Skagit, Whatcom
  • North Central: Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Okanogan
  • Northwest: Clallam, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason
  • South Central: Benton, Columbia, Franklin, Kittitas, Walla Walla, Yakima
  • Southwest: Clark, Cowlitz, Klickitat, Skamania, Wahkiakum
  • West: Grays Harbor, Lewis, Pacific, Thurston
Inslee divided the state into eight new regions.

Inslee said Washington has avoided overwhelming the state’s health care systems throughout this pandemic so far through rigorous safety measures, such as physical distancing and masking, as well as social and economic restrictions. This new recovery system aims to safely ease some restrictions while also maintaining crucial hospital capacity, ensuring care for Washingtonians that need it and paving the way for economic recovery.

“No one was untouched by the effects of the pandemic in 2020; many have and continue to suffer through no fault of their own,” Inslee said during a press conference Tuesday. “We aren’t out of this yet, but we are close to turning the corner on COVID-19 and this third wave of infection.”

Washington, DC — Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03) applauds the final agreement on a recently passed COVID relief package in the House and Senate.

With so many Americans out of work, small businesses on the brink of permanent closure, and families struggling to make ends meet, I’m relieved to have helped Congress reach agreement on another COVID relief package that will provide immediate aid to individuals and communities,” Herrera Beutler said. “I’ve been tirelessly working to get this relief to those who need it, both by developing the framework for the agreement with the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus and keeping the pressure on Democrat leadership with a discharge petition to circumvent D.C. gridlock and pass a small business relief bill.”

“This relief should have been delivered to the American people months ago. Nevertheless, residents will benefit immensely from additional forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans that have been small business lifelines, an unemployment insurance extension, direct cash payments, assistance for our frontline health care providers, and funding for more readily available COVID vaccines and testing.

“I remain confident that America will get through this crisis and thrive on the other side, and I’m going to continue doing everything I can to maintain the bridge to get us there.”

COVID relief legislation highlights:  

  • $284.5 billion to reopen and strengthen the Paycheck Protection Program for first-and second-time borrowers
  • Federal unemployment benefits of $300 per week, for up to 10 weeks, for the period of December 26, 2020 – March 14, 2021
  • $600 Economic Impact Payments for adults and dependents
  • $82 billion for schools and universities to assist with reopening for safe in-person learning
  • $10 billion for grants to childcare centers to help providers safely reopen
  • $68 billion for vaccine purchase, distribution, testing, and existing provider relief fund

Washington, D.C. — Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler announced her support of a bipartisan, bicameral COVID-19 emergency relief plan unveiled by the Problem Solvers Caucus and a bipartisan group of senators today. The plan would quickly direct aid to families, small businesses, workers, and health care providers intended to last through the end of March. 

Herrera Beutler is a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus – made up of 25 Democrat and 25 Republican House members – that helped develop the plan. The framework allocates $908 billion in total aid, including both new funding and reallocation of previously appropriated CARES Act funding. A breakdown can be found here.

“This effort represents a bridge to get America’s workers, small businesses and communities through this challenging time until vaccines and treatments are readily available,” Herrera Beutler said. “I won’t let up in my efforts to break the gridlock that’s plagued Washington, D.C. and get a COVID relief package through Congress and out to the Americans who need it. While the framework released by the group today needs further refinements, families and employers in Southwest Washington are suffering through no fault of their own and we need to move quickly. I urge Speaker Pelosi to act now and take up this bipartisan plan to provide the relief and support that our communities have desperately needed for months.”

Herrera Beutler
Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler.

WASHINGTON (AP) — According to the Associated Press and other national media companies, Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump to become the 46th president of the United States on Saturday, positioning himself to lead a nation gripped by the historic pandemic and a confluence of economic and social turmoil.

His victory came after more than three days of uncertainty as election officials sorted through a surge of mail-in votes that delayed the processing of some ballots. Biden crossed 270 Electoral College votes with a win in Pennsylvania.

Biden, 77, staked his candidacy less on any distinctive political ideology than on galvanizing a broad coalition of voters around the notion that Trump posed an existential threat to American democracy. The strategy proved effective, resulting in pivotal victories in Michigan and Wisconsin as well as Pennsylvania, onetime Democratic bastions that had flipped to Trump in 2016.

Biden was on track to win the national popular vote by more than 4 million, a margin that could grow as ballots continue to be counted.

Trump seized on delays in processing the vote in some states to falsely allege voter fraud and argue that his rival was trying to seize power — an extraordinary charge by a sitting president.

“We have to remember the purpose of our politics isn’t total unrelenting, unending warfare,” Biden said Friday night in Delaware. “No, the purpose of our politics, the work of our nation, isn’t to fan the flames of conflict, but to solve problems, to guarantee justice, to give everybody a fair shot.”

Kamala Harris also made history as the first Black woman to become vice president, an achievement that comes as the U.S. faces a reckoning on racial justice. The California senator, who is also the first person of South Asian descent elected to the vice presidency, will become the highest-ranking woman ever to serve in government, four years after Trump defeated Hillary Clinton.

Trump is the first incumbent president to lose reelection since Republican George H.W. Bush in 1992. It was unclear whether Trump would publicly concede.

Earlier Saturday Trump left the White House for his Virginia golf club dressed in golf shoes, a windbreaker and a white hat as the results gradually expanded Biden’s lead in Pennsylvania. Trump repeated his allegations of election fraud and illegal voting on Twitter, but they were quickly flagged as potentially misleading by the social media platform.

One of his recent tweets says: “I WON THIS ELECTION, BY A LOT!”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Source: Associated Press

This is Part 1 of a 2-part interview with Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, a Republican who represents Washington’s 3rd Congressional District. Herrera Beutler answers the first four questions in Part 1.

Question 1: What are the most pressing issues you encounter with voters this Fall?

I think the number one thing is health safety, how to manage COVID and economic safety and security. I think it’s only intensifying. We’ve seen unemployment funds run out, and we’ve seen certain industries collapse and others are near collapse. In the next five weeks or so more companies will be out of business. 

We are taking on the stimulus bill. I think we need additional stimulus to get through this. I’m part of a group in Congress called Problem Solvers with 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans, and we’re pushing for this. We have to have something to help people. We’re not reopening really and much hasn’t changed on that front. 

One of the challenges we’ve had is there are a lot of presidential politics in play, and it’s disheartening to me. Republicans and Democrats are both out of work. This group is still trying to put pressure on the House and the Senate. My sticking point is that we need unemployment benefits and more Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) money in there. A lot of the moderate Democrats have told Speaker Pelosi we need to put something positive on the table.

Question 2: What is the Problem Solvers Caucus?

It’s a group of 25 Democrats and 25 Republicans who work in a bipartisan way to solve big problems, who seek compromise. There is a lot of bipartisan work happening in Congress, it just doesn’t get reported. The Problem Solvers Caucus has driven changes in the minority and majority in our push for compromise. I believe in free markets, and there are so many things that need to be done. We need to be willing to work together on things. 

I do think there are a lot of good people still trying to address major issues in our country.

The Problem Solvers Caucus works under the rules of the majority who rule with brute force. It’s a team sport in the House. We have drafted ways to have the minority have more influence. 

It takes 218 to pass any bill, and there are bills that have more than 218 votes, but if the Pelosi leadership team doesn’t like it they don’t allow it to go to the floor. I think the biggest thing is the pressure from our group is to keep the stimulus talks going. We had enough steam behind it to just not walk away. Because of the pressure Pelosi is still in those conversations with the Trump administration. We have the votes to pass the stimulus bill and they know it. It’s soft power.

Herrera Beutler

Question 3: What are your top legislative priorities in the next Congress should you be re-elected?

First and foremost, we have to make sure we address the health and safety of people here, as well as economic safety. You have to empower the right leaders, like small businesses, into recovery. We need another COVID package. We did the CARES Act, and it needs additional support. 

We have saved 95,000 jobs in the 3rd District because of the CARES Act, which I helped draft. Those figures come from the Small Business Administration (SBA). In my mind, that is stopping the bleeding. We also need put out the unemployment insurance. Carolyn (Long) promises to get rid of the Trump tax cuts, which I think is the wrong approach. Both housing and small businesses will lead our recovery. But, we have to be laser focused on growing jobs. In this pandemic, small businesses are looking for more assistance with PPP. Small businesses don’t want us to raise taxes. My opponent has promised to raise taxes by 20 percent. 

Our hydrosystem has been a priority for me. We have to do something on health care. I am passionate about access to health care. This is part of our working economy. I understand it as a mother as I have a daughter who needed a kidney transplant. We have to replace the ACA because if you need real access it can really limit you. They need access to care. We have to fix that. We need to work on energy, health care, and a good tax and regulatory environment so that small businesses aren’t put on the back end. 

We have to protect trade, as well. It was right to stand up for more fair trade practices. 

Question 4: Why should citizens of this district re-elect you?

I grew up here, that’s part of why I’m a good fit. People here want us to be about solving problems. I know how to move legislation, such as the bill to protect the Columbia River salmon. I was informed that if we didn’t do something about this we would see whole salmon runs go extinct. We worked on this bill for a long time, and by the time we got to the House floor all GOP House members voted for it. I got the administration to sign it.

That’s what I’m good at. I’ve had my own challenges with the Trump administration, but I know because of how I operate I will be successful with any administration. Would Carolyn Long be able to work with the other party? You have to be able to work with people. 

Part 2 addresses more issues, the life of a member of Congress, working with constituents, and navigating political personalities and strategies.

To learn more, visit www.votejaime.com

Collin Kartchner, a Utah-based Instagram influencer who gained national attention for his #savethekids campaign urging parents to keep their children away from social media, has died.

His death Tuesday was confirmed by his wife, Elizabeth, in an Instagram story posted Wednesday. The cause of death has not been made public. Kartchner was 40, and lived in Pleasant Grove, Utah with Elizabeth and their four children.

He spoke to Clark County audiences last Fall in multiple sessions with parents and youth about the dangers of social media, and provided solutions on how to navigate today’s problems.

Three years ago, Kartchner started this would-be second career by making funny and satirical videos for his Instagram account about the internet’s obsession with perfection. Once, he offered advice on how to do children’s hair: “Supes easy. So, step one, I make the nanny do it.”

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, who hosted this journalist two years ago as part of our #MarchKindness campaign, said Wednesday he was “devastated” by the news of Kartchner’s death.


“Collin was a great partner and warrior in the fight to protect our children and youth,” Reyes said in a statement. “His energy, enthusiasm and incredible ability to positively impact young minds will be missed tremendously. Our deepest sympathies along with our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”

Kartchner turned his Instagram account into a #savethekids campaign after learning about a teen suicide. The attention he gave to fighting the ills of social media morphed into a national movement, and Kartchner traveled the nation to give presentations and speeches. 

Audiences were always left with solutions after each event.

Here’s a link to one of his presentations in Vancouver: https://youtu.be/8Q_53e283rA