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Biden transition starts congressional outreach even as Trump still refuses to concede

The Biden transition team is officially reaching out to Democratic lawmakers, telling them that President-elect Biden is eager "to seize this transition period to get started."

Why it matters: The transition is signaling that it wants to work with congressional offices and draw on their expertise — and personnel — to implement Biden's agenda.

  • Louisa Terrell, a McKinsey executive and Facebook veteran who served in several capacities in the Obama administration before leading the Biden Foundation from 2017 to 2019, is leading legislative affairs for the transition.

Details: Terrell is telling House congressional offices that Biden will build a Cabinet that "looks like America and reflects President-elect Biden’s core values," according to an email circulating on Capitol Hill.

  • "This means recruiting staff that bring a diversity of perspectives and backgrounds," the email reads.
  • The transition will "be poised to receive all personnel requests and route them to the right transition teams."

The big picture: Lawmakers and staff on Capitol Hill — as well as K Street lobbyists — are eagerly awaiting the release of Biden's "agency review teams," which will work directly with federal agencies and departments to smooth the transition.

  • They will also provide a clue as to who will staff the departments below the Cabinet secretary level, as well as the likely policy direction of those agencies.
  • The Biden transition has announced restrictions — and exemptions — on lobbyists joining the transition.
  • "Transition OLA (Office of Legislative Affairs) will soon reach out to committees of jurisdiction to schedule listening sessions with the applicable ARTs, to take place in November and early December," the email reads.

But, but, but: The agency review teams. which the Trump transition called "landing teams," will have a difficult time getting to work unless the General Services Administration makes a so-called "ascertainment" to declare Biden the victory.

  • The transition is threatening legal action to give those teams access to office space and classified information.

Rahm Emanuel floated for Transportation secretary

President-elect Biden is strongly considering Rahm Emanuel to run the Department of Transportation, weighing the former Chicago mayor’s experience on infrastructure spending against concerns from progressives over his policing record.

Why it matters: The DOT could effectively become the new Commerce Department, as infrastructure spending, smart cities construction and the rollout of drone-delivery programs take on increasing economic weight.

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Biden turns to experienced hands for White House economic team

Joe Biden plans to announce Cecilia Rouse and Brian Deese as part of his economic team and Neera Tanden to head the Office of Management and Budget, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: These are experienced hands. Unveiling a diverse group of advisers also may draw attention away from a selection of Deese to run the National Economic Council. Some progressives have criticized his work at BlackRock, the world's largest asset management firm.

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Kushner to visit Saudi Arabia and Qatar seeking deal to end crisis

Jared Kushner will travel in the coming days to Saudi Arabia and Qatar in a last-ditch effort to resolve the dispute between the Gulf countries.

Why it matters: Fixing the rift between Saudi Arabia and Qatar would bring a sense of stability back to the Gulf and notch a last-minute achievement for Kushner and the Trump administration before Jan. 20.

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Wisconsin recount reaffirms Biden's victory in the state

The two recounts in Wisconsin requested by the Trump campaign were completed Sunday and confirmed that President-elect Joe Biden won the state, the Washington Post reports.

Driving the news: Biden won Wisconsin by more than 20,000 votes. Recounts in the state's most populous and liberal areas — Dane and Milwaukee counties — netted him an additional 87 votes.

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Michelle Lujan Grisham is Congressional Hispanics choice to lead Health and Human Services

Hispanic lawmakers are openly lobbying to have New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham be named Health and Human Services secretary, according to a letter obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: These members are now following the example some Black lawmakers have used for weeks: trying to convince Joe Biden his political interests will be served by rewarding certain demographic groups with Cabinet picks.

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Vanderbilt kicker becomes first woman to play in Power 5 football

Vanderbilt senior Sarah Fuller became the first woman to play in a Power 5 football game yesterday "when she delivered the opening kickoff of the second half for Vanderbilt against Missouri," ESPN reports.

Details: "Fuller, a senior goalkeeper on Vanderbilt's SEC championship soccer team, sent the low kick to the 35-yard line where it was downed by Missouri," as the play was designed. Vandy lost, 41-0.

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Map: A look at world population density in 3D

This fascinating map is made by Alasdair Rae of Sheffield, England, a former professor of urban studies who is founder of Automatic Knowledge. It shows world population density in 3D.

Details: "No land is shownon the map, only the locations where people actually live. ... The higher the spike, the more people live in an area. Where there are no spikes, there are no people (e.g. you can clearly identify ... the Sahara Desert)."

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Biden's Day 1 challenges: The immigration reset

President-elect Biden has an aggressive Day One immigration agenda that relies heavily on executive actions to undo President Trump's crackdown.

Why it matters: It's not that easy. Trump issued more than 400 executive actions on immigration. Advocates are fired up. The Supreme Court could threaten the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and experts warn there could be another surge at the border.

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