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Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Divided government returned to America with a day of celebration for Democrats that swept Capitol Hill with new diversity and determination.

Driving the news: Seven and a half hours after Pelosi took the gavel, the newly empowered Democrats passed a plan to re-open the government without funding for President Trump's wall — a measure that's already dead because the Republican-controlled Senate won't take it up.

Pelosi told reporters at a news conference last night: "We're not doing a wall. Does anyone have any doubt that we're not doing a wall?"

"We've had so little joy in politics in these last months," historian Doris Kearns Goodwin said on MSNBC. "So, to see families together at this moment, to see the joy of new people thinking that maybe things will be different — that maybe there something will change and this fever will break."

Pelosi and a fellow Californian, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the new leader of the House Republicans. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images
  • N.Y. Times Quotation of the Day ... McCarthy: "To the speaker of the House, Ms. Pelosi, I extend to you the gavel."
Pelosi celebrates with her grandchildren and other kids in the chamber. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Photo: Pelosi greets a child with Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), the first Somali-American elected to Congress, during a ceremonial swearing-in. Alex Brandon/AP
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) takes a selfie with Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (D-N.H.) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology

Scoop: Google is investigating the actions of another top AI ethicist

Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Photo by Mateusz Wlodarczyk/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Google is investigating recent actions by Margaret Mitchell, who helps lead the company's ethical AI team, Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: The probe follows the forced exit of Timnit Gebru, a prominent researcher also on the AI ethics team at Google whose ouster ignited a firestorm among Google employees.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Joe Biden's COVID-19 bubble

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The incoming administration is planning extraordinary steps to protect its most prized commodity, Joe Biden, including requiring daily employee COVID tests and N95 masks at all times, according to new guidance sent to some incoming employees Tuesday.

Why it matters: The president-elect is 78 years old and therefore a high risk for the virus and its worst effects, despite having received the vaccine. While President Trump's team was nonchalant about COVID protocols — leading to several super-spreader episodes — the new rules will apply to all White House aides in "high proximity to principals."

Justice Department drops insider trading inquiry against Sen. Richard Burr

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) walking through the Senate Subway in the U.S. Capitol in December 2020. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Department of Justice told Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on Tuesday that it will not move forward with insider trading charges against him.

Why it matters: The decision, first reported by the New York Times, effectively ends the DOJ's investigation into the senator's stock sell-off that occurred after multiple lawmakers were briefed about the coronavirus' potential economic toll. Burr subsequently stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.