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Analysis: Biden charts mask-free future while GOP brawls

It served as yet another sign of former President Donald Trump’s fingerprints on the party. Cheney would not back down from her criticism of Trump, and thus, House Republicans had enough.
Cheney’s replacement, Rep. Elise Stefanik, an upwardly mobile New York Republican who has fully embraced Trumpism, was diplomatic about Trump’s dwindling naysayers in the House.
“Liz Cheney is a part of this conference,” Stefanik said after the vote. “Adam Kinzinger is a part of this conference. They were elected and sent here by the people in their district. They’re part of this Republican conference.”
At the White House, the Biden administration courted members of the Republican conference (as well as Democrats) in their ongoing negotiations over a massive infrastructure package. There was a real-world reminder of the need for investment, Democrats argue, when traffic and shipping had to be shut down due to a critical crack in Memphis’ Hernando de Soto Bridge on Interstate 40.

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And then there’s digital infrastructure. The Colonial Pipeline hack, and subsequent supply issues in the Southeast — exacerbated, in part, by a crush of anxious drivers filling up with extra gasoline — served as a reminder of the unseen but ever-present cyber threats to entities both private and public.
Despite it all, the week closes with some optimism. With vaccinations steadily increasing, the CDC delivered news that felt like a victory declaration: Masks are no longer needed for those who are fully vaccinated (except in certain circumstances). 
As a maskless President Joe Biden put it: “If you’re fully vaccinated, and can take your mask off, you have earned the right to do something that Americans are known for all around the world: greeting others with a smile.”
The Point: There’s a lot going on, but let’s just savor the good news: For those who are fully vaccinated, it’s OK to begin to ditch the masks.
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