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J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Mattis skipping hearing has House committee up in arms

Gen. James Mattis won't be attending a House Armed Services committee hearing today, despite earlier saying he'd be in attendance. Mattis needs a waiver law passed to allow him to serve at Defense. That requires 60 Senate votes, so he'll need Democratic votes.

Why it matters: If Mattis can get that waiver, he's in.

What to watch today: Senate Democrats could turn his confirmation hearing into a forum on the waiver. The big ticket item is civilian control of the military, so watch Kirsten Gillibrand, who Mattis met with last week. Will the dialogue spill over into the public?

Congress responds to intel leaks against Trump
  • House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes has reached out to the intel community, per Politico.
  • Senate Intelligence Chair Richard Burr hinted they're also looking into it.

Intel agencies are hard at work tamping down this fire. DNI Director Clapper called Trump last night to express his "profound dismay," but said he doesn't think the leaks came from the intel community.

Obamacare repeal process goes to the House

Where people are already looking ahead to next steps. Ways and Means Chair Kevin Brady told Hugh Hewitt yesterday that budget reconciliation will kill Obamacare's medical device tax and the mandate to buy insurance.

What's left: Getting everyone on board. Republicans have the votes to pass a budget resolution on their own... if they can stay united. They'll face pressure to find a way to get some of the Obamacare replacement policy items within reconciliation, but will have to be careful not to trigger the Byrd Rule.

The big picture, via Axios Vitals:

"I think that we're all on the same sheet of music." — Mark Meadows, chair of the House Freedom Caucus, to reporters

Go deeper

Updated 27 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

Screenshot: Fox News

President Trump has delivered a farewell speech and departed Washington for the last time on Air Force One, kicking off the day that will culminate with President-elect Joe Biden taking office.

What's next: The inaugural celebration for young Americans is being livestreamed, starting at 10am.

Updated 43 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump departs on final Air Force One flight

President Trump and his family took off on Air Force One at 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning for the final time en route to Florida.

The big picture: Trump's final hours as president were punctuated by his decisions to snub his successor's inauguration and grant pardons to many of his allies who have been swept up in corruption scandals.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Janet Yellen said all the right things to reassure the markets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Treasury Secretary nominee and former Fed chair Janet Yellen's confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday showed markets just what they can expect from the administration of President-elect Joe Biden: more of what they got under President Trump — at least for now.

What it means: Investors and big companies reaped the benefits of ultralow U.S. interest rates and low taxes for most of Trump's term as well as significant increases in government spending, even before the coronavirus pandemic.