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The EU's chief Brexit negotiatior Michel Barnier (L) carrying the 2000-page Brexit deal with the Greek ambassador at an EU meeting on Dec. 25. Photo: Olivier Hoslet/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Ambassadors for the European Union's 27 member states have unanimously approved the provisional application of a post-Brexit trade deal on Jan. 1, a German spokesperson confirmed on Monday.

Why it matters: It's an expected, but crucial step in staving off a potentially catastrophic "no-deal" Brexit on Jan. 1, coming days after the U.K. government and European Commission announced they had reached a stunning breakthrough after months of stalled negotiations.

What to watch: The U.K.'s House of Commons will meet to vote on the deal on Wednesday.

  • The leader of the opposition Labour Party, Keir Starmer, has urged lawmakers to back the deal, all but ensuring that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will have the votes he needs for the agreement to sail through Parliament.
  • The European Parliament will vote to fully approve the deal in the new year, but it will still take effect on a provisional basis to avoid a cliff-edge Brexit on Jan. 1.

The big picture: Even with the application of the deal, which outlines many of the terms of the U.K.'s new relationship with its closest and largest trading partner, the British government has warned businesses and citizens to prepare for some "bumpy moments" when the Brexit transition period ends on Dec. 31.

Go deeper: U.K. and EU reach historic post-Brexit trade deal

Go deeper

Jan 21, 2021 - World

World leaders react to "new dawn in America" under Biden administration

President Biden reacts delivers his inaugural address on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

World leaders have pledged to work with President Biden on issues including the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, with many praising his move to begin the formal process for the U.S. to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement.

The big picture: Several leaders noted the swift shift from former President Trump's "America First" policy to Biden's action to re-engage with the world and rebuild alliances.

Jan. 6 panel subpoenas 2 far-right "America First" activists

The House panel investigating the Capitol riot, from left; Reps. Bennie Thompson, Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger and Jamie Raskin on Capitol Hill in December. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Capitol riot issued subpoenas Wednesday for far-right leaders Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey, who allegedly encouraged followers to go to D.C. and challenge the 2020 election results.

Why it matters: The action underscores the panel's increasing focus on rallies held ahead of the Capitol attack and how extremists were drawn to former President Trump's baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, per the New York Times.

Democrats fail to change Senate rules to pass voting rights bill

Senate Majority Leader during a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democrats failed Wednesday night to change Senate filibuster rules to pass the voting rights bill, with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) voting with Republicans.

The big picture: The failed effort came after Senate Republicans blocked the voting rights measure from coming to a final vote earlier Wednesday.