Nancy Pelosi has been reelected to lead Democrats in the House

1 hr 8 min ago House Speaker Pelosi reelected as Democratic leader

From CNN's Daniella Diaz

J. Scott Applewhite/AP J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Nancy Pelosi was reelected to lead Democrats in the House during virtual elections that took place Wednesday. 

"Congratulations to. @SpeakerPelosi, once again elected by House Democrats to be our fearless leader and nominee for Speaker of the House for the 117th Congress! #DownWithNDP #ForThePeople," the House Democrats account tweeted.

A full House floor vote for the speakership won't take place until the new Congress is sworn in. 

The fact that Pelosi is expected to remain on as speaker is a sign of how strong her hold is over House Democrats even after they suffered disappointing losses in the 2020 elections. 

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Top House Democrats had confidently predicted they would expand their majority only to instead see a number of incumbents ousted by Republicans, who are now emboldened and on the offensive, though they are still in the minority. 

Those Democratic losses have sparked tense infighting among moderates and progressives with both factions of the party pointing fingers and casting blame. That rift, and a smaller majority, may create new challenges for Pelosi as she leads House Democrats in the next Congress. 

Pelosi has remained defiant even after the losses, telling reporters last week, "I take credit for winning a majority and holding the House."  

Pelosi is expected to hold a presser at 12:30 p.m. ET to discuss the leadership. 

2 hr ago Biden Covid-19 adviser: "We will be ready on day one"

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

 “We will be ready on day one,” Rick Bright, a member of President-elect Joe Biden’s Covid-19 advisory board, told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on Wednesday, when she asked about what they would do if there was no plan from the administration for vaccine distribution.

Bright said they won’t be starting from scratch, as they are working hard to make sure they are communicating with health care professionals and others around the country, and getting a lot of expert advice.

“There is a transition plan and we’re translating that plan into a blueprint for action,” he said.

Bright did say that the idea the administration didn’t have a plan was a good point.

“We’ve waited 10 months for a plan to be shared with the American public and health care experts on the vaccine program. We waited for a plan on national testing strategies. We waited for plans on ramp-up of production of PPE and other critical medical supplies,” Bright said. “We haven’t yet seen any of those plans. I don’t think those plans exist.”

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Bright said he hopes there has been planning done “beyond dropping it off at a warehouse by the military.”

After that, there needs to be delivery of the vaccines to the health care providers who will be administering it, and communication within communities at all levels to ensure there is interest in the vaccine.

“The administration unfortunately has politicized so much of this response, including the vaccine,” he said. “And there are many Americans across our country who are hesitant on whether or not they can trust this vaccine because of the political pressure that we've seen from the administration.”

A lot of work needs to be done with the new transition team to make sure that confidence and trust can be rebuilt, to ensure that Americans take a vaccine when it become available and has been certified as safe and effective, Bright said.

Watch:

1 hr 54 min ago Biden Covid-19 adviser says lack of official contact with administration “is really setting us back”

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

Greg Nash/Pool/Getty Images Greg Nash/Pool/Getty Images

Rick Bright, a member of President-elect Joe Biden’s Covid-19 advisory board, said on Wednesday that a lack of official contact between the current and incoming administrations is setting them back, and they don’t want anything to get in the way of the delivering vaccines to the American people as soon as they can.

“We haven’t had any official contact between the transition team coming in and the current administration. It is really setting us back,” Bright said on CNN’s New Day.

They are working hard to ensure that the best plans are in place for equitable distribution of the vaccine and that everyone who needs it first is prioritized and can get it, he said.

“We haven’t been able to sit down with the administration at all, to be able to understand what plans are in place, where the gaps are, where help is needed, and how we can make sure there’s a smooth handoff after January 20, where the bulk of these vaccines will be administered after that date,” he said.

Bright said the Biden team doesn’t “want to have to step back, rewrite a plan, fix the communication gap or do anything. We want to keep running as quickly as and efficiently as possible to make sure Americans can get the vaccine as they become available.”

Remember: has refused to concede the race and blocked his administration from taking any of the administrative steps typically taken in a transfer of power. This includes allowing the General Services Administration to declare that there is a president-elect  — a move that triggers the transition process. 

Watch:

2 hr 45 min ago Inside a government bureaucrat's pressured-filled decision to delay the transition

From CNN's Kristen Holmes and Jeremy Herb

As the only obstacle between President-elect Joe Biden and the formal start of the presidential transition, General Services Administrator Emily Murphy is struggling with the weight of the presidential election being dropped on her shoulders, feeling like she's been put in a no-win situation, according to people who have spoken to her recently.

This was never a position that Murphy thought she would find herself in, the people said. But as the government official in charge of signing off on the election result, President 's refusal to concede the election has thrown Murphy into the middle of a political firestorm.

Facing mounting pressure from both sides, and even death threats, the sources say Murphy is working to interpret vague agency guidelines and follow what she sees as precedent to wait to sign off on the election result, a process known as "ascertainment" that would allow the official presidential transition to begin.

Still, Murphy's stalled sign-off is one of the more confounding decisions made since the election, since it's clear Biden won and 's legal challenges won't change the outcome.

Biden's team has warned the delay has real-world consequences to national security and their Covid-19 response.

Sources who spoke to CNN could not say whether Murphy has been in touch with the White House on the issue.

"She absolutely feels like she's in a hard place. She's afraid on multiple levels. It's a terrible situation," one friend and former colleague of Murphy's told CNN. "Emily is a consummate professional, a deeply moral person, but also a very scrupulous attorney who is in a very difficult position with an unclear law and precedence that is behind her stance.

"She's doing what she believes is her honest duty as someone who has sworn true allegiance to the Constitution of the United States of America, and the laws that govern her position," the friend added.

Murphy declined an interview request, and GSA declined to comment.

Read the full story here.

2 hr 15 min ago has no public events scheduled today — the 11th time since Election Day 

From CNN's Kevin Liptak, Kate Bennett and Kaitlan Collins 

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

President currently has no public events on his schedule for Wednesday. It is the 11th time since Election Day where he has not had any public events listed on his schedule.

has answered no questions from reporters, invited no cameras into the Oval Office and ventured no further than his namesake golf course, 25 miles from the White House in Virginia.

Troop drawdown plans he long sought for Afghanistan and Iraq were announced Tuesday by a new Pentagon chief whose own hiring unveiled a week ago by tweet — neither occasion warranting the President's emergence from self-sequester inside the White House.

Even as workers dismantle and truck away the temporary metal mesh fencing that surrounded the White House on Election Day, the President remains fortified inside the building as he continues to deny losing to President-elect Joe Biden.

When he looks out his north-facing windows, he can see the reviewing stand for Biden's inaugural parade — the same one he sat in four years ago — being re-erected on his front lawn.

When he ventures downstairs for meetings in the Oval Office, he often remains late into the evening conferring over his chaotic legal efforts and wondering why more of his lawyers aren't on television defending him.

During a particularly heated session last Thursday, his deputy campaign manager accused his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, who was on speakerphone, of being a "f**king a**hole."

Some days there is talk of a public appearance, but few have materialized since Biden was projected the election's winner, securing the same number of electoral votes — 306 — that had previously deemed a landslide when he took office in 2016.

1 hr 54 min ago Biden will participate in virtual roundtable with health care workers today

From CNN's Sarah Mucha

Joe Raedle/Getty Images Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden will participate in a virtual roundtable with frontline health care workers Wednesday afternoon in Wilmington, Delaware, the transition team said.

As the US nears 250,000 coronavirus deaths and cases continue to surge, Biden has moved to tackle the pandemic and announced a team of coronavirus advisers.

3 hr 40 min ago Biden team for confirmation battles takes shape

From CNN's Arlette Saenz

As he prepares to build out his Cabinet, President-elect Joe Biden has assembled a team that will lead his confirmation battles in the Senate.

Jen Psaki, who served as communications director in President Obama’s White House, will oversee the nominations team, according to a list provided to CNN by a transition official.

Olivia Alair Dalton, a former aide to Biden in the Senate, will lead the communications strategy, and Reema Dodin, the floor director for Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin, will lead legislative strategy. Jorge Neri, a former senior adviser to Biden’s campaign, will be deputy outreach director for confirmations.

Others joining the team include Andrew Bates, the rapid response director for Biden’s campaign, who is taking on a leadership role; Sean Savett, former rapid response director on Pete Buttigeig campaign; and Saloni Sharma, former deputy communications director for the Elizabeth Warren campaign.

Stephanie Valencia is handling the Biden transition team outreach, and Louisa Terrell is handling congressional affairs for the transition.

As they prepare for the Senate confirmation process, the team will also prepare to “introduce nominees to the American people and set them up for success as leaders in the Biden administration,” the official said. The official noted this includes “throwing away the old playbook dictating that nominees say nothing in public until their hearings.”

Politico was first to report on the formation of this team.

3 hr 42 min ago CNN's Election 101 Podcast discusses the presidential transition

What exactly is supposed to happen during a normal presidential transition? How does one administration smoothly handover to the next? And what is the impact of the administration’s resistance to this process?

CNN's Kristen Holmes sits down with the director of the Center for Presidential Transition, David Marchick, to answer all our questions.

Listen here.

3 hr 44 min ago Here are the 10 climate executive actions Biden says he will take on day one of his presidency

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

President-elect Joe Biden is planning a flurry of executive actions when he takes office on Jan. 20, and many focus on combating the global climate crisis.

Biden's legislative agenda on climate will largely depend on whether Democrats gain control of the US Senate, which will be decided in two run-off elections in Georgia taking place on Jan. 5. But regardless of which party controls the Senate, Biden has pledged to sign a series of executive orders, which do not require congressional approval.

The 10 executive actions Biden has said he will take on his first day as president to combat the crisis and reduce emissions are:

Require limits on methane pollution for oil and gas operations. Use the federal government procurement system to work towards 100% clean energy and zero-emissions vehicles. Ensure US government buildings and facilities are more efficient and climate-ready. Implement the already-existing Clean Air Act, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation by developing new fuel economy standards to ensure all new sales for light- and medium-duty vehicles will be electrified, and annual improvements for heavy duty vehicles. Double down on liquid fuels like advanced biofuels and make agriculture a key part of the solution to the climate crisis. Reduce emissions and cut consumer costs through new standards for appliance and building efficiency. Require federal permit decisions to consider effects of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, and ensure every federal infrastructure investment reduces climate pollution. Require public companies to disclose climate risks and greenhouse gas emissions in their operations and supply chains. Protect biodiversity, slow extinction rates and conserve 30% of America's lands and waters by 2030. Permanently protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, establish national parks and monuments, ban new oil and gas permits on public lands and waters, modify royalties to account for climate costs and creating programs to enhance reforestation and develop renewable energy on federal lands and waters to double offshore

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