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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Almost a week after taking control of the House, Democrats on Wednesday voted on a resolution to allow them to intervene in a lawsuit challenging a Texas federal judge's ruling that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional.

The big picture: Democrats campaigned on health care as a major priority during the midterm elections, which helped them flip 40 seats and take control of the lower chamber. The vote puts Democrats on record seeking to protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions, while putting vulnerable Republican incumbents in an awkward position on health care. Three GOP congressmen — Reps. Tom Reed (N.Y.), John Katko (N.Y.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.) — voted in favor of the resolution.

Go deeper: ACA ruling tosses "political bomb" into Trump's 2020 re-election bid

Go deeper

Former FDA commissioner: "Reliable drug supply is absolutely critical"

Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Having a reliable supply of pharmaceutical drugs throughout America will be "absolutely critical" to boosting affordability in health care during the Biden administration, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Mark McClellan said at a virtual Axios Event on Friday.

The big picture: McClellan, who served under President George W. Bush, says drugs having limited supply and limited competition leads to elevated pricing. He considers drug supply to be a national security and public health issue.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Americans are still spending money

Source: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans spent more money at stores and restaurants in 2020 than they did in 2019 — even in the face of a devastating global pandemic that shut down broad sectors of the economy.

Why it matters: The monthly retail sales report this morning came in well below expectations, and showed consumer spending falling on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Total expenditures were still higher in December 2020 than they were a year previously, however.

The deplatforming fight shifts to the courts

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Capitol riot and tech firms' sweeping attempt in its wake to dislodge the online far right are kicking up efforts to have the courts settle knotty questions about online speech and power.

Why it matters: Legal battles could force the people angry at Big Tech to bring more rigor to arguments that have often devolved into messy sideshows.