Good morning, NBC News readers.
There is more reason for optimism on the Covid-19 vaccine front, President Joe Biden has set American diplomacy on a new course and an unprecedented House vote.
Here is what we're watching this Friday morning.
J&J seeks FDA authorization for one-shot vaccine
Johnson & Johnson applied to the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday for emergency use authorization for its experimental one-dose Covid-19 vaccine. The FDA could grant the authorization within weeks.
The news comes after the Biden administration announced earlier this week that the federal government will begin shipping 1 million doses directly to 6,500 retail pharmacies in order to expand how and where Americans can get inoculated.
In places like California, the vaccines can't come soon enough.
California’s vaccine distribution has been slow, confusing and frustrating for many of its 40 million residents. Critics say the vaccine distribution woes reflect a state long troubled by wealth and class divides.
Early Friday morning the Senate passed a budget resolution to fast-track Covid relief after a "vote-a-rama."
The resolution passed in a 51-50 party-line vote just after 5:30 a.m. ET, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting one of her first two tie-breaking votes to help Democrats approve the measure.
The measure now goes back to the House for further action.
'America is back': Biden lays out new foreign policy agenda in State Department speech
President Joe Biden criticized Russia in his first visit to the State Department on Thursday, part of the new leader's effort to reverse the foreign policy posture of his predecessor.
"The days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russia's aggressive actions — interfering with our elections, cyber attacks, poisoning its citizens — are over," Biden said in his first major foreign policy speech since assuming office.
In addition to signaling a new approach towards Russia, Biden announced a number of steps he will take to unwind Trump's foreign policy.
Biden said he will order an end to arms sales and other support to Saudi Arabia for the war in Yemen that he called a "humanitarian and strategic catastrophe."
He also said he will order a freeze on the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Germany initiated by Trump and that he will sign an executive order to restore the refugee admission program that had been drastically cut under Trump.
The president also tried to shore up morale among the ranks of the State Department's 70,000 employees who Trump frequently criticized as part of the "deep state."
"I want the people who work in this building and in our embassies and consulates around the world to know that I value your expertise, and I respect you," said Biden, who spent decades in the Senate on the Foreign Relations Committee. "I will have your back. This administration is going to empower you to do your jobs, not target or politicize you."
Want to receive the Morning Rundown in your inbox? Sign up here.
- The House voted to remove GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor from her committees over her extremist remarks. The unprecedented vote was 230-199, with 11 Republicans joining Democrats to support the move.
- "Pillow fight": Parkland school shooting survivor and gun control advocate David Hogg announced plans to launch his own pillow company to "put MyPillow out of business."
- "Beyond unusual": Law enforcement experts say they are puzzled by developments in the Kyle Rittenhouse case.
- "Who cares!": In a rambling letter former President Donald Trump preemptively resigned from the Screen Actors Guild amid a disciplinary probe.
- Voting tech company Smartmatic has sued Fox News for more than $2.7 billion over the network's false rigged election claims. Fox anchors Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo and Jeanine Pirro, as well as frequent guests Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell are named in the suit.
THINK about it
Rep. Majorie Taylor Greene losing committee seats is a good first step. But she deserves expulsion, Democratic Congressman from California Jimmy Gomez writes in an opinion piece.
From West African to Caribbean, Creole and Southern, we've rounded up 22 recipes from Black chefs to celebrate Black History Month.
Stylish and disposable Evolvetogether face masks, which boast a water-absorbing inner layer, have amassed a significant following since their 2020 launch.
Meet the 'vaccine hunters'
With demand for the Covid-19 vaccine far exceeding the current supply in the U.S., some people are going to extreme measures to get inoculated.
NBC News’ Kerry Sanders reports on some Americans searching for leftover doses of the vaccine at the end of each day.
Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown. Have a good weekend.
If you have any comments — likes, dislikes — send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you'd like to receive this newsletter in your inbox Monday to Friday, please sign-up here.