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Sen. Joe Manchin announced via Twitter on Monday that he would vote to confirm CIA Director Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State —  joined later by Sen. Joe Donnelly.

Why it matters: Pompeo needed two votes from Democrats to ensure his confirmation. Republicans currently control the Senate 51-49, but they're down as many as three votes: Sen. John McCain is at home receiving cancer treatment, Sen. Rand Paul has repeatedly stated he'd vote against Pompeo, and Sen. Jeff Flake has not yet announced his vote. Manchin and Donnelly now join fellow Dem Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who announced her support last week, in backing Pompeo.

From Donnelly's statement:

"We need a Secretary of State who will give the president an honest assessment on critical issues, including Russia, Syria, and the defeat of ISIS. I believe Director Pompeo is capable of advancing U.S. interests and leading the State Department, and I will support his nomination."

Go deeper

New Zealand aims to create smoke-free generation with tobacco ban

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a December news conference in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand officials announced Thursday legislative plans to outlaw smoking by making it illegal to sell or supply tobacco products to the next generation as part of a lifetime ban.

Why it matters: "People aged 14 when the law comes into effect will never be able to legally purchase tobacco," Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said in a statement announcing the proposed law, part of the Smokefree 2025 Action Plan.

FDA approves AstraZeneca COVID drug for people with immune problems

Photo: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for an AstraZeneca COVID-19 antibody drug for people with compromised immune systems.

Why it matters: The drug, Evusheld, is the first antibody therapy authorized in the U.S. to prevent coronavirus symptoms before virus exposure.

Scoop: U.S. begins denying Afghan immigrants

Afghan refugees on a bus bound for temporary housing after arriving in Greece. Photo: Byron Smith/Getty Images

The Biden administration has begun issuing denials to Afghans seeking to emigrate to the United States through the humanitarian parole process, after a system that typically processes 2,000 applications annually has been flooded with more than 30,000.

Why it matters: Afghans face steeper odds and longer processes for escaping to the U.S., despite the earlier sweeping efforts by the Biden administration to assist its allies. Immigration lawyers and advocacy groups say the government has set untenable barriers to a safe haven in the U.S.