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Photo: AP file

Roughly 8.8 million people signed up for Affordable Care Act coverage through HealthCare.gov during this year's open enrollment period, the administration said today. That's close to the number that some experts saw as a best-case scenario, and is only a little bit shy of last year's total of 9.2 million.

The bottom line: This is a good number. A lot of factors were working against ACA enrollment this year — including a shorter sign-up window and cuts to outreach programs. Falling a lot shorter of last year's totals would not have been surprising. But there are more challenges still to come.

Go deeper

CDC approves boosters for Moderna and J&J and allows mix-and-match

Boxes containing vials of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's independent advisory panel voted unanimously to recommend booster doses of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine for certain populations and allow people to mix-and-match doses.

The big picture: The agency aligns with the Food and Drug Administration authorization Wednesday night which said people could switch to whichever vaccine they wanted for their booster shot.

1 hour ago - World

Israel to approve new construction in West Bank settlements

Bennett (L) and Biden discussed the settlements issue. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Israel will approve the construction of 4,400 new homes in the West Bank next week: 3,10o in the Jewish settlements and 1,300 in Palestinian villages.

Why it matters: This will be the first time Israel has approved new settlement building since President Biden assumed office, and it's the first time since 2007 that it approves a significant number of new homes for Palestinians in "Area C" of the West Bank, which is controlled by Israel.

House votes to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress

Steve Bannon. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

The House of Representatives voted 229-202 on Thursday to hold former Trump strategist Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena from the Jan. 6 select committee.

Why it matters: The Justice Department will now consider bringing criminal charges against Bannon, marking a significant escalation in the Jan. 6 committee's efforts to enforce subpoenas against Trump allies who refuse to cooperate.