MCCARTHY’S HISTORIC LOSS: House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday failed to secure the necessary 218 votes to be the next House speaker, the first time in nearly a century that the majority party’s nominee needed a second vote. Reps. McCarthy, R-Calif., Andy Biggs, R-Arizona, and Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., split most of the votes three ways. None of the nominees was able to reach the 218 vote threshold needed on the first or the second ballot, triggering a third round of voting. The House cannot conduct any other businesses until a speaker is elected, and its unclear how many rounds of votes it will take for a consensus. Read more from Fox News’ Jessica Chasmar and Peter Kasperowicz: First House vote for speaker ends in stalemate as McCarthy, Jeffries and Biggs split votes

‘BULL’ FIGHT: The embattled majority leader attempted to rally Republicans to his side hours before the vote for House speaker — which didn’t go well, with one conservative firebrand whispering that the meeting was “bullsh–” Read more from Fox News’ Jessica Chasmar: House speaker battle: Profanities fly as Republican factions get heated over McCarthy speakership bid


THE SUNSHINE STRATEGY: Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis was inaugurated to his second term Tuesday, hailing the Sunshine State as a “land of liberty and the land of sanity,” while taking aim at the “floundering federal establishment.” But all eyes are on DeSantis for his 2024 plans. Read more from Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser: DeSantis to be sworn in for second term as Florida governor, but everyone is waiting for his 2024 plans

2023 RISING STARS: The new year and new Congress add up-and-coming political figures, as well as familiar faces with changing roles, to the list of those who have the potential to shape the future of politics. In no particular order, here are a dozen Republican and Democratic rising political stars to watch in 2023. Read more from Fox News’ Aubrie Spady and Andrew Murray here: Rising political stars on the right and left: 12 people to watch in 2023

Sen.-elect John Fetterman beat his GOP challenger, Dr. Mehmet Oz, in the Pennsylvania Senate race on Nov. 8, 2022.

Sen.-elect John Fetterman beat his GOP challenger, Dr. Mehmet Oz, in the Pennsylvania Senate race on Nov. 8, 2022.

HOSTILE WORKPLACE: The office of Rep. Katie Porter, D-Calif., is taking heat for how she treated a veteran and former staffer in July for allegedly violating “office protocols” by catching COVID-19. Screenshots of text messages between Porter and her former Wounded Warrior program fellow, Sasha Georgiades, were published by the Dear White Staffers Twitter account on Thursday. “She has made multiple staffers cry and people are generally so anxious to even staff her because if ANYTHING goes wrong she flips out on whatever staffer is present,” Georgiades said. “She just talks to staffers however she wants.” Read more from Fox News’ Houston Keene: Dem Rep. Katie Porter under fire for treatment of veteran fellow as former staffer decries culture of fear

ESCAPE HATCH: “As you know, I’m covered by the Hatch Act” is a phrase many in the White House Briefing Room are used to hearing from White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. In fact, Jean-Pierre has invoked the Hatch Act on 33 occasions at the podium since September. The Hatch Act, a New Deal-era federal law, prohibits government employees from engaging in political activities or promoting a political campaign — the president and vice president are notably exempted. Some White House reporters have expressed frustration with the press secretary’s frequent use of the Hatch Act, accusing Jean-Pierre of misusing the law in order to evade tough questions. Read more from Fox News’ Sophia Slacik: ‘Somewhat evasive’: Karine Jean-Pierre accused of hiding behind obscure law to avoid tough questions

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre seems to avoid tough questions with Hatch Act Video

HOUSE PAY DAY: Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday issued a new directive raising the maximum rate that lawmakers can pay House staff to $212,100 annually — $38,000 more than what members of Congress make. The move comes after Pelosi already issued a directive earlier this year raising the maximum pay staffers can make from $199,300 to $203,700. At the time, Pelosi also instituted a minimum salary level of $45,000 for House staff. The move was seen as precedent-breaking since for decades there were no official House rules governing staffer pay. Instead, House offices were free to negotiate staff pay individually. Read more from Fox News’ Haris Alic: Nancy Pelosi boosts maximum pay for House staff to $212,000 as she ends speakership

DARK MONEY TALKS: A dark money group tied to Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss poured tens of millions of dollars into organizations leading major left-wing campaigns, according to recently released tax filings. Fund for a Better Future (FBF), which has received a majority of its funding from two nonprofit foundations overseen by Wyss in recent years, pushed large sums of cash last year to groups dedicated to overhauling the Supreme Court, supporting President Biden’s “Build Back Better” initiative, addressing alleged voter suppression and advocating for aggressive climate change policies. Read more from Fox News’ Thomas Catenacci: Dark money group linked to foreign billionaire infused millions of dollars to major Dem, left-wing causes

2024 WATCH

AGE, NOT JUST A NUMBER: According to a new poll, Americans want someone younger and new to the White House in the 2024 presidential race, which could be trouble for the nation’s oldest-serving president and for former President Donald Trump, the only declared Republican candidate to date. A Wednesday poll from Suffolk University/USA Today shows that a majority of Americans consider 51 to 65 years old to be the ideal age for the country’s next president, preferring someone other than President Biden or former President Trump as candidates. Read more from Fox News’ Sophia Slacik: Voters want out with the old, in with the new for presidential candidates in 2024 election: poll

President Joe Biden told reporters before the holidays that he would make a determination on his re-election bid "early next year" in 2023. 

President Joe Biden told reporters before the holidays that he would make a determination on his re-election bid "early next year" in 2023. 
(Anna Moneymaker)

PARTING SHOTS: One-party control in the nation’s capital will come to an end next week as Democrats are forced to relinquish control of the House to Republicans, but that didn’t prevent Democrats and President Biden’s administration from offering last minute jabs during their final days in power. Democrats from the House Ways and Means Committee released a partially redacted version of former President Trump’s tax returns Friday, completing a longtime objective of Democrats to make Trump’s finances public after the former president unsuccessfully tried to stop them in court. “It’s all politics,” said Fox News contributor Mark Penn, a former advisor to President Clinton and Hillary Clinton. “These are final parting shots as the Democrats lose control of the committees and the power they had in the House. Who really cares about Donald Trump’s tax returns the day before New Years?” Read more from Fox News’ Kyle Morris: ‘PARTING SHOTS’: Dems blasted for attempt to score last-minute ‘cheap political points’ with Trump taxes


Lori Lightfoot is seeking a second term as mayor of Chicago. The general election will take place on February 28, 2023. 

Lori Lightfoot is seeking a second term as mayor of Chicago. The general election will take place on February 28, 2023. 
(Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

2023 RACES: The dust has settled following the 2022 midterms, and Americans in certain cities and states around the country are looking ahead to elections slated to take place in the new year. While there is sure to be a great deal of focus on the 2024 presidential election, thousands of voters are gearing up to head to the polls in 2023 to elect state and local leaders in different corners of America. Read more from Fox News’ Kyle Morris: 2023 elections: Chicago chooses a mayor, states vote on legislatures in contentious upcoming races


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