Sunday’s top stories

2020 Senate fights spark breathtaking fundraising totals

Data: FEC; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The battle for control of the U.S. Senate has triggered unprecedented fundraising at the congressional level, with one Democratic candidate out-raising Al Gore in his presidential race just 20 years ago.

By the numbers: The top 10 Senate fundraisers in 2020 brought in more than double the money raised by the top 10 campaigns in 2018, raking in over $1 billion collectively, according to data filed with the Federal Election Commission by Dec. 24.

Jan 3, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Trump's powers backfire

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

President Trump’s caught-on-tape effort to bully the Georgia secretary of state shows that the powers Trump used to cajole his way to the top of business — and into the presidency — are now failing him in his White House final days.

Why it matters: “The clock is ticking," a longtime friend and Trump adviser told me. "The only thing that has made it sound more desperate is he knows that come Wednesday, it’s game over. The closer he gets to [Congress accepting the Electoral College vote], the more desperate he's getting.”

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Jan 3, 2021 - Politics & Policy

What to expect from the new Congress

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wields the Speaker's gavel on Jan. 3. Photo: Erin Scott/pool/AFP via Getty Images

House Democrats plan to reintroduce nine of their most-favored bills during the 117th Congress that began today, but how far the legislation gets will hinge on the outcome of the Georgia Senate races later this week.

Why it matters: Today was filled with pomp and circumstance, including Nancy Pelosi winning another term as House speaker after some recently COVID-positive members came into the chamber to vote in her favor. But whether Republicans maintain the Senate or Democrats win a narrow majority will determine if she and President-elect Joe Biden can enact their agendas.

Nancy Pelosi narrowly wins another term as Speaker of the House

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was reelected as Speaker of the House at the start of the new session of Congress on Sunday.

Why it matters: Pelosi had little wiggle room to lose votes from members of her party, as absences from the coronavirus pandemic complicated the matter. She needed the majority of votes from lawmakers present in the chamber.

WaPo: Trump urged Georgia's secretary of state to "find" votes to overturn Biden win

President Trump walks to the Oval Office on Dec 31. Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump on Saturday tried to convince Georgia's Republican Secretary of State to "find 11,780 votes" — enough to overturn Joe Biden's win in the state — in an hourlong phone call obtained by the Washington Post.

Why it matters: Trump's personal appeal to Brad Raffensperger, which included suggesting that the secretary of state could face legal trouble if he did not take action on Trump's grievances, comes as several Senate Republicans plan to object to certifying election results in a last-ditch effort to support the president's unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.

Inside the GOP rebellion

Via CNN

Here's the thinking of Republicans who plan to object Wednesday to certifying the Electoral College victory of President-elect Biden — a band that's up to a dozen senators and at least 140 House members, backed by Vice President Pence.

The big picture: They know there's no state where the results are in any kind of doubt, and they know their protests won't change the outcome.

Mike Allen, author of AM
Jan 3, 2021 - Politics & Policy

American fury invades 2021

Graffiti on the Louisville front door of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo: Timothy D. Easley/AP

America's 2020 fury is already scarring 2021.

Why it matters: Every day brings raw, even shocking new evidence that November's election, despite a clear result, did nothing to tame the turmoil in torn America.

Jan 3, 2021 - Economy & Business

Car buying has changed forever

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It took a pandemic to drag the car-buying process into the 21st century — and consumers are never going back.

Why it matters: After COVID-19, consumers can now buy cars online as they do almost everything else, with the ability to complete the entire transaction digitally and take delivery without ever setting foot in a showroom.

Jan 3, 2021 - World

Israel leads world in coronavirus vaccinations: Over 1M receive doses

A COVID-19 vaccination at the Kupat Holim Meuhedet clinic in Jerusalem. Photo: Menahem Kahanna/AFP via Getty Images

Israel has administered more COVID-19 vaccinations than any other nation, with over 1 million people receiving jabs — a rate of 12.59 doses per 100 people, new data from an Oxford University-run tracking site shows.

Why it matters: As countries like the U.S. fall behind on immunization goals, Israel has given coronavirus doses to over 10% of its population of 9.2 million since it began administering Pfizer/BioNTech's vaccine on Dec. 19.

Updated Jan 3, 2021 - Politics & Policy

New Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi declares "fiscal emergency"

Pedro Pierluisi. Photo: Alejandro Granadillo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

New Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi declared a "fiscal emergency" and ordered the island's Department of Justice to step up anti-corruption efforts Saturday — hours after being sworn in, per Bloomberg.

Why it matters: Puerto Rico has experienced a tumultuous period politically and economically, with three governors in four years and a billion-dollar public debt.