DMLNews Morning Briefing Wed. Jan 4: A logjam in congress… and its consequences, plus more…

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Today is January 4. Below are some of the stories grabbing headlines this morning. I hope you share this briefing as doing so will make you the smartest person in the room. And don’t forget to download the free DML App from the Google Play or Apple App Store to remain connected to me throughout the day.

1 – McCarthy, GOP hope to break House speaker logjam after whiffing on Tuesday
Fox News reports: Republicans failed three times on Tuesday to elect a House speaker, but they’ll convene the House again at noon Wednesday to try again.

Tuesday’s failure marked the first time the House failed on the first vote for speaker since 1923, which was the only instance since the Civil War.

But it was more than a historical oddity. It forced a hasty adjournment aimed at giving GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy’s camp and members of the House Freedom Caucus a chance to see if they can find some way forward.

By late Tuesday night, more than a dozen pizzas were wheeled into McCarthy’s office, a sign of ongoing strategizing on how to deliver at least 218 votes to McCarthy.

The would-be speaker topped out at 203 during the day, compared to the 19 and 20 votes collected by the preferred alternative of GOP hardliners, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio.

The House GOP caucus was set to meet early Wednesday morning in the hopes of finding some kind of agreement.

ANNETA G: Shouldn’t Republicans have had all this settled long before it came time to vote?

2 – With no Speaker, line of succession is again two women
The Hill reports: As Republican infighting continues to delay the election of a House Speaker, the first two spots in the line of presidential succession are once again held by women.

Vice President Harris and President Pro Tempore Patty Murray (D-Wash.) are currently first and second in line to the presidency, after a small group of Republicans blocked Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) bid for Speaker on Tuesday and dragged the process into a second day.

While Harris will remain first in line as vice president, Murray will shift to third in line once a Speaker is elected.

Murray was elected president pro tempore on Tuesday, becoming the first woman to hold the position. The most senior member of the majority party typically becomes president pro tempore. However, after Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) declined to take up the mantle, the position went to Murray as the second most senior senator in the Democratic Party.

ANNETA: Are you wide awake now?

3 – Cruise ships save 2 dozen migrants on boats near Florida Keys
ABC News reports: Two cruise lines rescued two dozen people on small boats on Monday, cruise officials told ABC News.

Staff on the Fort Lauderdale-bound Celebrity Beyond ship rescued 19 people from a boat Monday and provided them food, shelter and medical services, the ship’s Capt. Kate McCue said in a video posted on Instagram on Tuesday.

“We are grateful for our crew’s quick action and the lives saved as a result,” Celebrity Cruises told ABC News in a statement.

Additionally, crew members from the Carnival Celebration noticed five people about 29 miles northwest of Cuba and stopped to help them, company spokesperson Matt Lupoli told ABC News in a statement. The crew reached out to the U.S. Coast Guard and met up with them near Key West, Florida.

The rescues came the same day as Dry Tortugas National Park in the Florida Keys announced Monday it would close to the public after an influx of migrant landings over the past few days shut down operations at the park there.

ANNETA G: So now the illegal aliens know they can always hitch a free road aboard a cruise ship as well.

4 – Elon Goes Red: Tesla Promotes China Boss to Head of U.S. Plants and Sales
Breitbart reports: Elon Musk has reportedly promoted executive Tom Zhu, Tesla’s chief of operations in China, to the head of U.S. plants and sales, making him the company’s number two executive after Musk himself.

Business Insider reports that Tesla has announced the promotion of Tom Zhu, its current China chief, to the role of Head of Plants and Sales in the United States. The news was initially reported by Reuters, which obtained access to an internal posting detailing the new reporting lines.

Zhu’s promotion makes him the second highest-ranking executive at the electric vehicle company, behind only CEO Elon Musk. There have been calls from some shareholders for Musk to resign following a significant decline in Tesla’s market capitalization, which saw a drop of over $700 billion in the past year.

In response to these challenges, Tesla has promoted Tom Zhu, who joined the company in 2014, to the position of Head of Plants and Sales in the US. Zhu will continue in his role as Vice President for Greater China while also assuming responsibility for assembly plants, sales operations, services, and deliveries in the North American region.

ANNETA G: I don’t feel very good about his one.

5 – GOP Reps Rip Army’s ‘Galling’ Decision Not To Repeal Vaccine Mandate For National Guard, Reserves
The Daily Caller reports: The Army’s recent guidance enforcing the vaccine requirement for National Guard and reserve troops is “galling” and contradicts Congress’ intent in repealing the mandate, Republican lawmakers told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

A recently-issued update to the Army’s COVID-19 protocol appears to state that the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which overturned the Department of Defense’s (DOD) vaccination requirement, does not apply to the National Guard and reserves. However, Republican members of Congress who fought to include the mandate repeal in this year’s defense bill reaffirmed the GOP’s intention to strike down the order for all members of the military in exclusive comments to the DCNF.

“The will and intent of Congress was clear,” Florida Republican Rep. Mike Waltz told the DCNF in an interview. “To try to parse out the National Guard from the rest of the military is galling. It’s offensive.”

“This year’s NDAA was clear: the COVID-19 vaccine mandate must be repealed for all servicemembers — including members of the Reserves and National Guard,” Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin told the DCNF.

ANNETA G: This is infuriating, and plain wrong!

VIDEO OF THE DAY:  Look who was sworn in yesterday for a six-year term:

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