The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: The Once and Future Speaker?

House Democrats officially nominated Representative Nancy Pelosi to be speaker.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks to media at Longworth House Office Building to announce her nomination by House Democrats to lead them in the new Congress. (Carolyn Kaster / AP)

Written by Olivia Paschal (@oliviacpaschal), Elaine Godfrey (@elainejgodfrey), and Madeleine Carlisle (@maddiecarlisle2).

Today in 5 Lines

  • By a vote of 203–32, House Democrats officially nominated Representative Nancy Pelosi, who ran unopposed despite facing early vocal opponents, to be speaker. Pelosi will need to secure several more votes to win the vote of the full House in January.

  • A Senate committee delayed a vote on Ronald Vitiello, President Donald Trump’s nominee to head Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, after ICE unions sent the committee a letter expressing concern over, among other things, a tweet from Vitiello comparing Trump to Dennis the Menace.

  • The Senate voted to move forward with a bill that would end United States support for the Saudi-backed war in Yemen in retaliation to Saudi involvement in the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. In a closed-door briefing earlier in the day, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis had asked senators not to pass the bill.

  • A Miami Herald investigation reveals that current Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta was part of a prosecutorial team that gave an unusually lenient plea deal to Jeff Epstein, a financier who allegedly sexually abused more than 100 underage girls.

  • In the last Senate race of the midterms, the Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith defeated the Democrat Mike Espy in Mississippi. Espy was the third high-profile black candidate this year to lose a race for statewide office in the Deep South, following gubernatorial candidates like Andrew Gillum in Florida and Stacey Abrams in Georgia.

Today on The Atlantic

  • Peace in the Korean Peninsula?: Reconciliation, rather than denuclearization, seems to be bringing about an end to the Korean War. That might be unacceptable for the United States. (Uri Friedman)

  • Closing the Door: The Trump administration’s new deal with Mexico could make obtaining asylum nearly impossible for immigrants. That might be the point. (Priscilla Alvarez)

  • Sight Unseen: Congress is blocking federal investigations into the deaths of hundreds of workers on small farms. Why? (Eli Wolfe)

  • The System’s Fault: America’s system of government makes it nearly impossible for the country to effectively address big problems, argues Julian E. Zelizer.


Mari Keels transfers a front end of a General Motors Chevrolet Cruze during assembly at a Jamestown Industries plant outside of Youngstown, Ohio. GM said Monday that it is ceasing production of the Chevy Cruze, which will cause the plant to close. (Tony Dejak / AP)

What We’re Reading

Tester-ing a Theory: Senator Jon Tester won reelection in the very conservative state of Montana. His victory could be a blueprint for more red-state Democrats. (Kevin Robillard, HuffPost)

Not Just Speech: Arguments over incivility miss one important thing, writes ZZ Packer: It’s not just civil discourse that’s breaking down, but our civic community. (The New York Times)

‘Hillary Can’t Have It Both Ways’: Hillary Clinton was right to say that Europe needs to “get a handle on migration,” but she’s wrong to paint all those worried about migration as morally void, argues Jonah Goldberg. (National Review)

Family Separation Continues: Immigrant families are still being separated at the border—just under a new justification, ProPublica reports. (Ginger Thompson)

Newbies: Meet the 110 new members of Congress, broken down by demographics and political ideology. (Catie Edmondson and Jasmine C. Lee, The New York Times) 

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