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Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Sixteen current and incoming House Democrats have signed and released a letter stating that they are "committed to voting for new leadership in both our Caucus meeting and on the House floor."

Why it matters: As the Washington Post's Aaron Blake points out, Democrats currently have 232 seats, with 5 races still to be called. Meanwhile, 2 of the 16 signatures opposing Rep. Nancy Pelosi as House speaker belong to Democrats in races that haven't been called. But regardless, 14 guaranteed no-votes is enough to put Pelosi in jeopardy, as that would leave her with a maximum of 218 votes. She needs all 218 to win a simple majority in the House.

The big picture: The dispute has become a national debate, as the new speaker would serve as a de facto opposition leader to President Trump. The 16 Democrats who signed the letter thanked Pelosi for her years of service, but explained that the party's success in the midterm elections came with "a message of change" and that they intend to deliver on that promise.

Yes, but: Despite the letter, Axios' Jonathan Swan reported Sunday that Hill Democrats who oppose Pelosi have privately conceded that she still looks like a lock for the speakership. "She'll clear the caucus vote on Nov. 28. Then anti-Pelosi rebels will be able to say they kept their promise to oppose her in the conference and backed her on the floor to keep Kevin McCarthy from becoming speaker," Swan wrote.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect Pelosi's chances at securing the speakership.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Health

CDC panel recommends Pfizer boosters for high-risk individuals, people 65 and up

Photo: Marco Bello/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A key panel at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday recommended the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus booster shots for people 65 years old and older, as well as those at high risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: The approval is the near-final step in making the booster shots available to tens of millions of Americans, and comes a day after the FDA approved Pfizer boosters for the two groups. CDC director Rochelle Walensky is expected to accept the recommendation.

DHS temporarily suspends use of horse patrol in Del Rio

U.S. Border Patrol agents watch as Haitian immigrant families cross the Rio Grande from Mexico into Del Rio, Texas on Sept. 23, 2021. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security on Thursday temporarily suspended the use of horse patrol in Del Rio, Texas a DHS spokesperson confirmed.

Why it matters: The suspension comes after images showing border patrol agents whipping at and charging their horses at migrants surfaced earlier in the week, prompting widespread criticism of the Biden administration's handling of the crisis at the border.

Southwest drought is worst on record, NOAA finds

In a stark new report, a team of NOAA and independent researchers found the 2020-2021 drought across the Southwest is the worst in the instrumental record, which dates to 1895.

Why it matters: They also concluded that global warming is making it far more severe, primarily by increasing average temperatures, which boosts evaporation.