Dec 20, 2019

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 475 words.

  • 🎄🎅 PM will be in your inboxes all next week. Expect holiday themes and pics.
1 big thing: The year of the Speaker

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

2019 started as the year of The Squad, and ends as the year of The Speaker.

The big picture: House Speaker Pelosi ushered in 2019 with a new Democratic majority that is the most diverse in the history of Congress, Axios' Alayna Treene notes.

  • That new majority included The Squad — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar — who were younger and far to the left of House leadership.
  • But Pelosi became the first speaker in 60 years to reclaim the gavel after losing it — ultimately using it to impeach President Trump.
  • Under her leadership, the House has passed the first major gun-safety bill in decades, comprehensive voting-rights legislation, and the bipartisan U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.

What they're saying:

  • Hillary Clinton: "Pelosi is living proof that when it comes to getting the job done, more often than not, it takes a woman."
  • Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.): “This will be a stain on Pelosi’s legacy ... She’ll be historic in many ways ... But in terms of abusing the power of Congress to settle a personal vendetta, I think that’s playing out before our eyes right now.”

The bottom line: Prior to the Trump administration, Pelosi would have been best remembered as the first female Speaker, and for losing the gavel over the Obamacare vote.

  • "Would I rather be speaker or would I rather 20 million people have health care?” she told the N.Y. Times in an interview this year.

What's next: The State of the Union is February 4th, by which time the Senate might have already started its Trump trial.

Bonus: Pic du jour

Photo: Matthew Bruin via Reuters

A Carnival cruise ship scraped another while trying to dock in the Mexican resort of Cozumel today, the AP reports.

  • Videos shot by startled passengers and posted on social media showed the noisy, slow-moving accident, which damaged both ships and resulted in minor injuries for six people.
2. What you missed
  1. U.K. lawmakers approved Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Brexit deal with a 358-234 vote. Go deeper.
  2. Boeing's Starliner will not make it to the International Space Station after a serious, post-launch malfunction. Go deeper.
  3. Facebook has removed two networks "for engaging in foreign and government interference." Go deeper.
  4. The Supreme Court in the Netherlands ordered cuts to national greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by the end of 2020. Go deeper.
  5. "Twitter has banned almost 6,000 accounts for being part of an alleged state-backed information operation originating in Saudi Arabia." (BBC)
3. 1 reality check

Images: Amanda Daley via AP

Researchers are looking at labeling foods with “exercise calories,” or the amount of physical activity needed to burn them off, the AP reports.

  • A chocolate bar might say it has 230 calories, alongside icons indicating that amounts to 42 minutes of walking or 22 minutes of running.

Why it matters: With calorie counts, experts worry the information doesn’t mean much if people don’t know how much they should be eating anyway.

  • The other side: “The idea that exercise is a punishment for eating does not strike me as a good way to promote exercise or healthy attitudes around food,” said Yoni Freedhoff, an obesity expert at the University of Ottawa.