Biden’s big test on COVID-19 tests: The Note

There are frustrated parents and emboldened unions.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

There are frustrated parents and emboldened unions. There are contracts that need awarding and supply chains prone to disruption.

Soon but maybe not soon enough, there will be a new government website and the postal service to rely on, half a billion times over.

For all the focus on mandates, quarantines, vaccines, masks and treatments, the not-so-simple task of getting COVID-19 tests to all Americans who want or need them could be the task that puts the most stress on the Biden administration through what's shaping up to be a dismal winter.

President Joe Biden practically invited the scrutiny on the topic, with his early and continuous critique of the lack of testing available under his predecessor. He has also acknowledged that he could have and would have pushed "quicker" to procure tests if he had known how critical they would be with the emergence of omicron.

His current commitment, for 500 million tests distributed free of charge, is still most likely weeks away from becoming reality, and will rely on multiple levels of the government working in tandem. In the meantime, Biden's stated preference for keeping schools open is already coming under politically perilous stress at state and local levels.

Biden's team has long argued that ending the pandemic would be the most meaningful political metric of his presidency. That sets up challenges along the way -- of public health and straightforward messaging, and also of competent and efficient governance.

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

While lawmakers across the country pass legislation to restrict access to the ballot box, legislators in New York City have made a move to expand access to noncitizens.

As early as 2023, about 800,000 noncitizens will be able to vote in municipal elections in the nation's largest city.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams had previously raised concerns about the legislation, because it only requires that a noncitizen reside in the city's five boroughs for 30 days before being allowed to cast a ballot. He said conversations with officials alleviated those worries.

"I think it's imperative that people who are in a local municipality have the right to decide who's going to govern them, and I support the overall concept of that bill," Adams told CNN.

Adams had until Sunday to veto the bill. When asked if this legislation undermines the citizenship process, Adams said it does not.

"Membership has its privileges," Adams said. "Being a member of what we call the United States of America is a great privilege."

The TIP with Alisa Wiersema

After months of speculation about incumbent reelection plans, Sens. John Thune and Ron Johnson finally announced they would be running for office again in 2022. The two senators were the last two members of the upper chamber to make their 2022 plans public.

For Thune, who serves as the Senate minority whip, the move affirms Republicans' confidence heading into this year's midterm election cycle. As the Senate GOP's second in command, Thune is widely thought to be the successor to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Despite his leadership position, Thune faces a potentially complicated political landscape after going head-to-head with former President Donald Trump. In December 2020, Thune pushed back on Trump-backed efforts to delegitimize the outcome of the presidential election in the Senate and said those attempts would go "down like a shot dog;" however, since then, Thune hasn't completely shunned Trump's influence in politics and even offered his backing to Trump-favored Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker.

Johnson's decision to run for another term is also going to keep a spotlight on the fallout of the 2020 election among Republicans and across the country. Following Biden's victory, the senator took on an active role in spreading misinformation about election administration, as well as the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection. So far, a dozen Democrats have lined up to challenge Johnson, but it remains to be seen how their crowded primary season affects what is expected to be one of the nation's closes contests.


ABC News' Soorin Kim reports on how more than a year after the 2020 presidential election, the GOP, in an unusual move, is still covering numerous legal bills for the benefit of Trump.


ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. Start Here begins Monday morning with reporting from ABC's Aaron Katersky on the deadly fire in a New York City high-rise building. Then, ABC's Anne Flaherty walks us through the debate schools are having on whether to stay open or go virtual in the face of surging omicron cases. And, ABC's Britt Clennett breaks down the battle between tennis star Novak Djokovic and Australia.


  • President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden return to the White House from Camp David at 9:30 a.m.
  • The Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Gallardo v. Marstiller at 10 a.m.
  • Press secretary Jen Psaki holds a press briefing at 1:30 p.m.
  • The House convenes at 6:30 p.m. for legislative business.
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