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Thursday briefing: Republicans win the House; same-sex marriage bill; Karen Bass; Starbucks ‘Red Cup Day’ strike; and more

(Jordan Robertson for The Washington Post)


Republicans won control of the House.

  • The latest: California’s 27th Congressional District was called for Republicans yesterday. That gave the party 218 seats, enough for a majority.
  • What that means: With the Senate in Democrats’ hands, the balance of power in Congress is split for the next two years, which will make governing harder for President Biden.
  • What’s next? Republicans will choose a new House speaker in January, and current Speaker Nancy Pelosi will announce today whether she wants to continue leading the Democrats.


The Senate took a big step toward protecting same-sex marriage.

  • How? By advancing the Respect for Marriage Act. Twelve Republicans joined Democrats to support the bill yesterday, which means it could pass as early as this week.
  • Why it’s needed: Democrats have warned that marriage equality and other rights could be at risk after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade earlier this year.


Multiple explosions were reported across Ukraine today.


Los Angeles elected its first woman as mayor.

  • Who? Current U.S. Rep. Karen Bass. After a close race, she defeated billionaire real estate developer and fellow Democrat Rick Caruso yesterday.
  • The task ahead of her: The nation’s second-largest city is reeling from a racism scandal and is struggling to find solutions for violent crime, homelessness and corruption.


Starbucks employees in dozens of cities plan to walk off the job today.

  • Why? To protest how the company is handling union negotiations. The strike at over 100 stores coincides with “Red Cup Day,” when Starbucks hands out free reusable mugs.
  • The bigger picture: This is the first time unionized Starbucks baristas have banded together across the country, and it’s part of a wave of increased labor activity this year.


Harvard and Yale law schools pulled out of a major college ranking system.

  • Why? The schools said yesterday that the U.S. News & World Report’s influential annual rankings are problematic and don’t put students first.
  • The bigger picture: The rankings have been facing growing criticism for years, but it’s unclear whether the schools’ decisions will have a wider impact.


Lab-grown meat moved closer to your dinner plate yesterday.

  • Why? The FDA said it’s safe to eat. That paves the way for products made from real animal cells — but that don’t require slaughter — to be sold in stores in the coming months.
  • What’s the point? Animal-based foods are responsible for as much as 20% of greenhouse gas emissions, and experts think this technology could help change that.

And now … speaking of climate solutions: Here are some others gaining traction at COP27. Plus, Thanksgiving is one week away: Ask our reporters travel questions today.

Tess Homan contributed to today’s briefing.

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