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Photo: Stefani Reynolds - Pool/Getty Images

The Senate on Wednesday voted 86-13 to confirm Pete Buttigieg as secretary of transportation.

Why it matters: The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor is the first openly gay man to be confirmed as a Cabinet member. At 39, he is also the youngest person to head the department.

The big picture: The Department of Transportation will play an important role in President Biden’s plans to fight climate change and revitalize the country's infrastructure as part of his "Build Back Better" agenda.

  • During his confirmation hearings, Buttigieg pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by pushing the use of electric vehicles and introducing new federal automotive fuel economy standards.
  • While Republican senators warned of potential disagreements in regard to updating infrastructure, they also said they looked forward to having future discussions with Buttigieg on the topic.

Catch up quick: The Senate has already confirmed several other Cabinet nominees:

Go deeper

Fed: Rate hikes "will soon be appropriate"

The Federal Reserve's headquarters building. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Federal Reserve officials expect "it will soon be appropriate" to raise the central bank's main target interest rate, setting the stage for a rate hike at its next meeting in mid-March.

Driving the news: In a statement following a two-day meeting published Wednesday afternoon, however, the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee teed up its next move without taking new action.

How long it’s taken to confirm Supreme Court justices

Expand chart
Data: Axios research, U.S. Supreme Court, Supreme Court Historical Society; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

It takes a U.S. president an average of 70 days from the date a Supreme Court seat is vacated to nominate a replacement, according to data from the Supreme Court Historical Society.

Why it matters: With news outlets reporting liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's plans to retire, Democrats will be looking to confirm President Biden's nominee with enough time to refocus the national political debate ahead of the midterms.

Updated 58 mins ago - Science

Blizzard likely to hit New England this weekend as "bomb cyclone" forms

Computer model projection of the precipitation and wind field from the weekend storm in the Northeast. (Earth.nullschool.net)

A powerful blizzard is likely to strike parts of New England and the Mid-Atlantic beginning Friday and lasting into the weekend, with snow totals that are likely to be measured in feet.

The big picture: The joining of weather systems embedded in both the polar, or northern branch, of the jet stream and the southern branch is projected to create a bomb cyclone. Such storms undergo a process known as bombogenesis, with their minimum central air pressure readings plunging at least 24 millibars in 24 hours.

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