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Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel during a Senate confirmation hearing in October 2021. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted Wednesday to send President Biden's nomination of former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel as U.S. ambassador to Japan to the full Senate for a confirmation vote.

Why it matters: Two Democrats on the committee, Sens. Jeff Merkley (Ore.) and Edward Markey (Mass.), voted against Emanuel's nomination over his handling of the 2014 police shooting of Laquan McDonald during his tenure as the city's mayor.

Emmanuel faced criticism over his handling of the shooting, which triggered massive protests against police violence, during his his Senate confirmation hearing in October..

  • Progressive activists in Chicago also planned two days of demonstrations around city to protest Emanuel's nomination last month.
  • Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also objected to Emanuel's nomination.

What they're saying: “Black Lives Matter. Here in the halls of Congress, it is important that we not just speak and believe these words, but put them into action in the decisions we make," Merkley said in a statement before the vote.

  • "I have carefully considered Mayor Emanuel’s record—and the input of civil rights leaders, criminal justice experts, and local elected officials who have reached out to the Senate to weigh in—and I have reached the decision that I cannot support his nomination to serve as a U.S. Ambassador."

Go deeper: Breaking Biden's diplomatic logjam

Go deeper

House passes Biden's social spending bill

Nancy Pelosi: Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Democrats on Friday succeeded in their months-long quest to pass a behemoth social spending bill, but the legislation still needs to be hammered out by the Senate before it can become law.

Why it matters: The $1.75 trillion bill would tackle a host of Democratic priorities on health care, education and climate change and is a centerpiece of President Biden’s economic agenda.

Americans are super-sizing their holiday travel

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans are rushing back into holiday travel, and many are taking even longer trips now than they did before the pandemic began.

The big picture: After skipping Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings last year, many people are eager to maximize this year's celebrations with friends and family. And flexible remote working arrangements make that easier than ever.

Updated 16 hours ago - Sports

The potential GOAT of chess faces intriguing challenger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Chess Championship between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi began on Friday, 1,094 days after Carlsen won his fourth consecutive title.

Why it matters: During the long, COVID-fueled layoff, chess entered a new era, and with the championship finally here, the age-old game is ready for its close-up.