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Carolyn Kaster / AP

Sarah Sanders kicked off Tuesday's briefing with a lengthy statement defending the Trump administration's decision to end the Obama-era DACA program, stating "President Trump took the responsible and constitutional step" today.

She then turned the heat up on Congress, saying it's now their job to pass legislation: "They should be rested and ready to take on some big challenges that America faces... That's their job and if they can't do it they should get out of the way."

Briefing highlights:

  • How is this move treating DREAMers with great heart? "By allowing an orderly process to take place... it's not cold-hearted for the president to uphold the law... you can't allow emotion to govern."
  • Will Trump extend DACA if Congress fails to act in 6 months? Sanders wouldn't say.
  • Does Trump support DACA on the merits? "The president... this is not an easy one.... He wants to be able to make a decision with compassion but at the same time you can't allow emotion to govern... The president wrestled with this decision all throughout the weekend."
  • On backlash from Democrats: "The most heartless thing I've heard all day is Democrats like Nancy Pelosi using this decision for fundraising."
  • How did Trump come to his decision to end DACA? "He made the final decision over the weekend.... [and] has had several conversations with DACA enrollees and with those who are part of the program."
  • Why did Sessions make the announcement? "It was a legal issue."

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

U.S. surpasses 25 million COVID cases

A mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 22 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The U.S has confirmed more than 25 million coronavirus cases, per Johns Hopkins data updated on Sunday.

The big picture: President Biden has said he expects the country's death toll to exceed 500,000 people by next month, as the rate of deaths due to the virus continues to escalate.

GOP implosion: Trump threats, payback

Spotted last week on a work van in Evansville, Ind. Photo: Sam Owens/The Evansville Courier & Press via Reuters

The GOP is getting torn apart by a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
6 hours ago - Economy & Business

The limits of Biden's plan to cancel student debt

Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Axios Visuals

There’s a growing consensus among Americans who want President Biden to cancel student debt — but addressing the ballooning debt burden is much more complicated than it seems.

Why it matters: Student debt is stopping millions of Americans from buying homes, buying cars and starting families. And the crisis is rapidly getting worse.