Good morning, NBC News readers.
Today we're taking a look at the alleged Medicaid minefield former President Donald Trump left behind for the Biden administration, a freshman GOP congresswoman who has come under pressure for her incendiary social media posts and the Wall Street head-scratcher GameStop.
Here is what's happening this Thursday morning.
Trump tried to 'booby trap' Medicaid expansion. Biden now has a fight ahead.
The Biden administration hopes to quickly help some of the millions of Americans without medical insurance by providing incentives to a dozen states to expand Medicaid.
The efforts won't be easy though, NBC News' Phil McCausland reports.
Some state leaders, like Georgia's Gov. Brain Kemp last year, pursued a variation of Medicaid expansion pushed by the Trump administration — a version that undercuts the federal insurance program, implements work requirements and still leaves hundreds of thousands of people without access to coverage.
Critics say requiring people to work to get health care coverage during a pandemic that has sparked the worst employment crisis since the Great Depression completely misses the mark.
"The fact that during a pandemic, when Medicaid is a first responder, they were spending so much time trying to booby-trap the program and handcuff the Biden administration when they walked in the door is abhorrent," said Joan Alker, executive director of Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families.
It all adds up to a major policy and political headache for the Biden administration, as well as for the states that hope to hang on to the Trump deal they agreed to.
GOP congresswoman under pressure for posts appearing to endorse violence against Democrats
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., is facing a backlash after a CNN review of her Facebook page showed she endorsed posts calling for violence against prominent Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Greene has served in Congress for only a few weeks but has already faced calls to resign over spreading false election misinformation in the run-up to the Capitol riot.
Now, some Republican leaders are suggesting House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy should strip Greene of her committee assignments, as he did following Rep. Steve King's comments about white supremacy.
Meantime, the Department of Homeland Security issued a national terrorism advisory Wednesday warning that domestic extremists may be "emboldened" by the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
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- What's up with GameStop? Reddit? Here's an explanation of the frenzy happening in the stock market and why it matters.
- The Biden administration is likely to delay its roll out of a string of executive orders on immigration, including a task force to reunite families, two sources familiar with the discussions say.
- Teachers say they want the Covid-19 vaccine before they head back to the classroom.
- Can the U.S. keep the many emerging Covid-19 variants in check? Experts say, yes, but here's what it will take.
- As if Covid alone wasn't bad enough, the pandemic is raising risks for seasonal affective disorder.
THINK about it
Biden must remember that Trump followed Obama. He needs to avoid his old boss's mistakes if he really wants to unite the country, W. James Antle III, politics editor at the Washington Examiner, writes in an opinion piece.
Check out the 3-step plan one woman used to build a Covid-19 emergency fund.
Not sure what to surprise your family and friends with this Valentine’s Day? Here are 15 Valentine's Day gift ideas to help show your loved ones you care.
Quote of the day
"The world is watching us intently right now. They want to know if we can heal our nation."
— Secretary of State Antony Blinken pledged to restore American leadership in the world on Wednesday, his first full day on the job as America's top diplomat.
RIP: Cloris Leachman
Cloris Leachman, who won an Academy Award for her portrayal of a lonely housewife in "The Last Picture Show," died Wednesday. She was 94.
The incredibly versatile actress was probably most fondly remembered for getting laughs as the fearsome Transylvanian housekeeper Frau Blücher in "Young Frankenstein" and the neighbor Phyllis on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."
Leachman, who won eight Emmy Awards in her storied television career, insisted that she went into every awards night assuming she wasn't going home with a statue.
"I never had a speech because I never thought I was going to win," Leachman told the TV academy in a 2015 interview.
"But if you are good at what you do — and I always intend to be good at what I do — then the acclaim is just the follow-through. But it is a wonderful feeling," she said.
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