Tuesday morning news – February 2, 2021

Biden hosts Republicans for relief bill talks » President Biden sat down with a group of Republican senators at the White House on Monday. 

They’re asking him to consider a smaller and more targeted COVID-19 relief bill than the nearly $2 trillion package he is seeking. 

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Monday

PSAKI: The president has been clear since long before he came into office that he’s open to engaging with both Democrats and Republicans in Congress about their ideas, and this is an example of doing exactly that. 

But it will not be an easy sell, especially with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer prepared to cut Republicans out of the process. 

SCHUMER: It makes no sense to pinch pennies when so many Americans are struggling. The risk of doing too little is far greater than the risk of doing too much. 

Schumer has already declared that if Republicans don’t play ball on the $1.9 trillion package, he’ll seek to pass the measure without them, using a process called budget reconciliation. 

GOP Senator John Cornyn on Monday cautioned against that. 

CORNYN: Before we rush out and throw trillions of dollars—I should say more dollars—at this problem, we need to see how what we’ve done is already working. 

The GOP proposal is just over $600 billion. 

Many Republicans are reluctant to pile on to a national debt now approaching $28 trillion. 

Blinken: Iran could be weeks away from nukes » Secretary of State Tony Blinken is warning that Iran could be just “weeks away” from having enough material to make a nuclear weapon. 

He told NBC News that if Iran continues to operate outside the framework of the 2015 nuclear deal, it could have the weapons very soon. 

Blinken said President Biden is willing to return the United States to the nuclear agreement. The Trump administration pulled out of the pact in 2018. 

Trump hires new lawyers ahead of Senate impeachment trial » Former President Donald Trump announced a new impeachment legal defense team, just one day after lead attorneys on the case stepped down. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: With the Senate impeachment trial set to begin next week, Trump has hired defense lawyer David Schoen, a frequent television legal commentator and Bruce Castor, a former district attorney in Pennsylvania.

The announcement came just one day after Trump and his lead impeachment lawyers parted ways. Sources told the Associated Press that they left over a difference of opinion on the defense strategy. 

House Democrats and some Republicans charged that Trump incited insurrection after the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6th.

But a Senate conviction is very unlikely. Many GOP lawmakers say it’s time to move on. And all but five Senate Republicans last week voted in favor of dismissing the trial before it begins.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

Winter storm piles on snow in Northeastern U.S. » AUDIO: [SNOWBLOWER]

Snowblowers are hard at work in the Northeast today as a winter storm continues to pile on. 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned on Monday…

DE BLASIO: Blizzard conditions, stay off the roads, stay off the streets and sidewalks. Stay inside. If there’s any way you can avoid traveling, avoid traveling today. 

The Big Apple could be buried under more than a foot-and-a-half of snow by the end of the day. 

Lara Pagano with the National Weather Service said a nor’easter is bringing heavy snow and strong winds through the rest of today. 

PAGANO: Snowfall in excess of 8 inches from Pennsylvania to Maine with many places exceeding 12 inches. 

She said some spots could even get as much as two feet of snow. 

The winter storm is again wreaking havoc on travel. Airlines canceled hundreds of flights at the region’s major airports on Monday. 

Tony Bennett still rehearsing twice a week despite Alzheimer’s » Singer Tony Bennett has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, but it hasn’t quieted his iconic voice.

AUDIO: [Who Can I Turn To]

The singer’s wife, Susan, said his moments of clarity are increasingly rare, but he continues to rehearse and twice a week goes through his 90-minute set with his longtime pianist. And the 94-year-old is still on pitch with every note. 

She said “He’s not the old Tony anymore, but when he sings, he’s the old Tony.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million Americans are living with the disease and one in 10 people age 65 and older has Alzheimer’s dementia.

‘Saved by the Bell’ star Dustin Diamond dies of cancer at 44 » Actor Dustin Diamond died Monday at the age of 44 after a brief battle with cancer. 

Diamond was best known for playing Screech on the ’90s teen sitcom Saved by the Bell

AUDIO: Actually, you’ve helped me. You’ve made me realize that there are a million fish in the sea and I’m just the worm to attract them.

Diamond’s spokesman Roger Paul said in a statement that “Dustin did not suffer” and “for that, we are grateful.”

The actor was hospitalized last month in Florida and he later announced that doctors diagnosed him with stage 4 small cell carcinoma.

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., left, speaks during a news conference with Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., right, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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