In our news wrap Tuesday, Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell publicly recognizes Joe Biden as president-elect for the first time, Biden selects Pete Butttigieg for transportation secretary, Congress shows signs of progress on economic relief, Boko Haram claims responsibility for abductions, and the International Criminal Court rejects a plea to investigate China's treatment of Uighur Muslims.
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In the day's other news, the top Republican in Congress, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, for the first time, publicly recognized Joe Biden as president-elect.
It came six weeks after the election. McConnell spoke on the Senate floor a day after the Electoral College confirmed the outcome.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.:
Many millions of us had hoped the presidential election would yield a different result, but our system of government has processes to determine who will be sworn in on January the 20th.
The Electoral College has spoken. So, today, I want to congratulate president-elect Joe Biden.
Some other top Republicans have also recognized the Biden win since the Electoral College vote.
The president-elect responded today at the airport in New Castle, Delaware.
President-Elect Joseph Biden:
I had a good conversation with Mitch McConnell today. We talked to him. I called him to thank him for the congratulations, told him, while we disagree on a lot of things, there's things we can work together on. We have always been straight with one another. And we agreed we would get together sooner than later.
And I'm looking forward to working with him.
At the White House, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany declined to say if President Trump now considers Mr. Biden to be president-elect. Instead, she said the Electoral College outcome is — quote — "one step in the constitutional process."
A former Biden presidential rival, Pete Buttigieg, is Mr. Biden's choice for secretary of transportation. The "NewsHour" confirmed it today. The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, was the first openly gay man to be a leading presidential contender. He dropped out before Super Tuesday.
The "NewsHour" has also confirmed that former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm is the pick for secretary of energy.
Top leaders in Congress met today on new economic relief. They reported progress and plan more talks this evening. A bipartisan plan worth nearly $750 billion is on the table. It includes jobless benefits and other aid. It leaves out help that Democrats wanted for state and local governments and liability shields for business that Republicans wanted.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.:
Those two things are — if they're not on the table, what you're left in are the things that I just mentioned, which enjoy broad bipartisan support, which should make this really a pretty easy negotiation.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.:
On state and local, everyone knows my position. It has broad bipartisan support and I'm not going to get into negotiations in any way.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin joined those talks, in another sign that a deal might be near. It would be attached to a so-called omnibus spending bill that must pass by Friday in order to avert a government shutdown.
In Nigeria, the jihadist group Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for abducting hundreds of boys. More than 330 students are missing from a secondary school in Katsina state after a Friday night attack. Classroom seats have been empty there since the assault. Boko Haram opposes non-Islamic education and had abducted more than 270 girls in 2014.
The International Criminal Court has rejected a plea to investigate China's treatment of Uyghur Muslims. Exiled Uyghurs had claimed crimes against humanity, including internment camps and forced labor. The court said that it lacks jurisdiction because China, like the United States, does not recognize its authority.
Back in this country, Wall Street rallied on signs that Congress might finally agree on an economic stimulus bill. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 337 points to close at 30199. The Nasdaq rose 155 points and the S&P 500 added 47.
And the actress and Tony Award-winning choreographer Ann Reinking has died. She performed on Broadway for nearly 30 years, first gaining fame in "Chicago" in 1977. Nearly 20 years later, she reprised her role as Roxie Hart, opposite co-star Bebe Neuwirth, in the revival of the musical.
Ann Reinking was 71 years old.