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America's child care sticker shock

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Parents looking to return to the job market may find child care options have gotten pricier — and that's if they can enroll their kids at all.

Why it matters: The fate of the recovery partially relies on the return of parents who left the workforce to care for their children.

Biden's major border shake-up

A migrant family waits to be taken to a Border Patrol processing facility after crossing the Rio Grande River. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris' trip to the border on Friday will play out amid the Biden administration widening shake-up of U.S. border policy and leadership.

Driving the news: Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Tex.) tells Axios that he's been advised by a border official that as soon as mid-July the Biden administration will end all use of Title 42, a Trump-era policy citing coronavirus as rationale to block migrants at the border.

Listen to “Axios Today”
Catch up on the news that matters in just 10 minutes. Listen wherever you get your podcasts.

DeSantis signs law requiring college faculty, students to take surveys on beliefs

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed legislation requiring state colleges and universities to annually survey their students, faculty and staff about their beliefs to ensure "viewpoint diversity and intellectual freedom."

Why it matters: The legislation doesn't specify for what the survey results will be used, but at a press conference on Tuesday DeSantis said that schools found to be "indoctrinating" students aren't "worth tax dollars" and are "not something we’re going to be supporting going forward."

5 hours ago - World

Scoop: U.S. and Israel huddle on drone threat from Iran

iranian Army drones on display in January. Photo: Iranian Army via Getty

The Biden administration and the Israeli government held talks recently on countering the proliferation of Iranian drones and cruise missiles among its proxies in Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Lebanon, Israeli and U.S. officials tell me.

Why it matters: After several drone attacks from pro-Iranian militias in recent weeks, some of which were thwarted, the U.S. and Israel are highly concerned that the technology will spread to additional groups who could target their forces in the region.

Kamala Harris to visit U.S.-Mexico border this week

Vice President Harris speaking outside of Air Force Two in Atlanta, Georgia on June 18. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

Vice President Harris will visit the U.S.-Mexico border while in El Paso, Texas, on Friday, Politico first reported and Axios confirmed.

Why it matters: Harris, who President Biden put in charge of solving the migrant surge at the southern border, has faced accusations of ignoring the crisis — primarily from Republicans — for not visiting the border.

Biden recalls how the late GOP Sen. John Warner "forged consensus"

"In the battle for the soul of America today, John Warner is a reminder of what we can do when we come together as one nation," President Biden said in remarks Wednesday at the funeral of former GOP Sen. John Warner, who endorsed Biden during the 2020 election.

The big picture: Biden has long been an advocate of bipartisanship and forging consensus in the U.S. Senate, which has been at the center of debate in recent weeks due to the Republican filibusters of a Jan. 6 commission and a sweeping voting rights bill spearheaded by Democrats.

8 hours ago - World

Gaza ceasefire under strain as Israel and Hamas feud over rebuilding

Egyptian excavators clear rubble on Wednesday in Gaza City. Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP via Getty Images

The indirect talks between Israel and Hamas to stabilize the ceasefire in Gaza and begin the reconstruction process have made little progress, raising concerns of renewed violence.

State of play: Five weeks on from the ceasefire, Israel is threatening to hold up the reconstruction process, and Hamas this week rejected a UN plan to fund it, Israeli officials and Western diplomats tell me.

Pacific Northwest's hottest weather on record takes aim this weekend

Computer model projection showing the jet stream winds and "misery index" of surface temperatures on June 27, 2021. ( The circulation of jet stream winds shows the location of the "heat dome" over the Pacific Northwest.

A "historic" and potentially deadly heat wave is on tap for the Pacific Northwest into southwestern Canada this weekend into early next week, with never-before-seen temperatures possible in cities like Portland, Ore., and Spokane, Wash.

Why it matters: The heat wave will affect a region where many people lack central air conditioning, raising the likelihood for public health impacts. In addition, power demand is likely to spike at a time when hydropower resources are running relatively low due to drier than average conditions.

Supreme Court rules for cheerleader punished by school for Snapchat expletives

The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, June 22, 2021. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Supreme Court ruled 8-1 Wednesday that a school district in Pennsylvania violated the First Amendment by punishing a cheerleader who used expletives in a Snapchat post sent while off campus.

Why it matters: The case pushed the boundaries of students' First Amendment rights and what schools can enforce outside school grounds, especially in the digital age.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
9 hours ago - Economy & Business

The mobile gaming gold rush

Illustration: AĂŻda Amer/Axios

Electronic Arts this morning announced that it will pay $1.4 billion to buy Playdemic, a mobile gaming studio whose titles include "Golf Clash," from Warner Bros.

Why it matters: This comes just months after EA paid $2.1 billion to buy Glu Mobile. It also resolves talk that not all of WB Games would get included in the Discovery merger.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
11 hours ago - Economy & Business

Warren Buffett resigns from Gates Foundation board

Buffett and Bill Gates in 2015. Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — the second-largest philanthropy in the world — is now governed by just two trustees, after Warren Buffett announced on Wednesday that he had resigned his position there.

Why it matters: The two remaining trustees, Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates, are going through a divorce.

Updated 11 hours ago - World

U.K. denies Russia fired warning shots at destroyer in Black Sea

The HMS Defender in the port of Odessa on Ukraine's Black Sea coast on June 18. Photo: Konstantin Sazonchik\TASS via Getty Images

Russia's defense ministry claimed Wednesday that a Russian warship and fighter jet fired "warning" shots at the British Royal Navy’s HMS Defender destroyer for encroaching on waters near Crimea in the Black Sea.

The latest: The U.K.'s ministry of defense disputed that any warning shots were fired, saying in a statement, "We believe the Russians were undertaking a gunnery exercise in the Black Sea and provided the maritime community with prior-warning of their activity."

Mike Allen, author of AM
Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

First look: WaPo Trump book's secret title revealed

Cover: Penguin Press

The Washington Post's Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker will be out July 20 with "I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year," Penguin Press announced.

Breaking: Axios has learned that The Wall Street Journal's Michael Bender is moving "Frankly, We Did Win the Election" up to July 20, matching Leonnig-Rucker, from his earlier pub date of Aug. 10.

Shell and GM unveil partnership on Texas power and car-charging

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

General Motors and a Shell-owned power company will unveil a partnership on Wednesday aimed at providing renewable electricity to Texas customers and free overnight charging to state residents who own GM electric cars.

Why it matters: It’s a new way for two corporate giants to expand their operations in a way that lowers emissions at the customer and supplier level.

The Democrats' wake-up call

Eric Adams, a former cop who leads the New York mayoral race, speaks last night at the Schimanski nightclub in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

Democrats, in private and public, are warning that rising crime — and the old and new progressive calls to defund the police — represent the single biggest threat to their electoral chances in 2022.

Why it matters: There has been a big spike in big-city crime, a dynamic increasingly captured in local coverage and nationally on CNN and Fox News.

13 hours ago - Economy & Business

The robotaxi era will require a rethinking of vehicle safety

Zoox's robotaxi is bidirectional and includes more than 100 safety innovations. Photo: Zoox

Vehicles are being reimagined as autonomous, electric, toaster-shaped robotaxis. Now their safety has to be reworked too.

The big picture: There's more to self-driving cars than just removing the steering wheel and pedals. The entire vehicle needs to be redesigned for riders, not drivers, so their safety can be assured even when they're not in control.

Apple puts antitrust bills in privacy spotlight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Apple warned Wednesday that new antitrust legislation would place iPhone customers' privacy and security at risk by limiting the company's control over what apps users can install.

Driving the news: Apple CEO Tim Cook called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats to argue that the antitrust bills would hurt innovation and consumers, per a New York Times report.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
14 hours ago - Economy & Business

The small business boom

Expand chart
Data: Census Bureau via John C. Haltiwanger of the University of Maryland; Chart: Axios Visuals

One of the most unexpected pandemic winners might just turn out to be new small businesses.

Why it matters: The number of entrepreneurs starting a business easily hit a record high in 2020, according to a new analysis by University of Maryland economist John Haltiwanger. That's a surprising result, given the severity of the crisis.

Biden administration to launch drive tackling gun violence spike

Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty Images

President Biden on Wednesday will announce new strategies to prevent and respond to gun violence, according to senior administration officials.

Why it matters: Officials say the pandemic has seen a surge in gun violence, with the U.S. witnessing mass shootings on a weekly basis this year, per the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive. Homicides jumped 30% in large cities in 2020, officials said.

14 hours ago - Health

The pandemic is a much bigger deal in some states than others

Expand chart
Data: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Chart: Axios Visuals

The coronavirus pandemic has essentially ended in some states, while others are still experiencing outbreaks.

Why it matters: The wide variation in states' vaccination rates means that stark disparities in case rates could be America's norm for awhile.

Democrats' losing hand on voting rights

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The 50-50 Senate, GOP-controlled state legislatures, gerrymandering and a conservative Supreme Court are blunting Democrats' ability to fight back against historic efforts to restrict voting in states across the U.S.

Why it matters: Voting rights advocates say the moves could artificially prop up conservative, white power structures for a decade or longer by installing hurdles that disproportionally hit people of color. Democrats increasingly see this as an existential threat.

Updated 15 hours ago - World

Hong Kong pro-democracy paper to close amid Beijing crackdown

A customer grabs a copy of Apple Daily newspaper at a newsstand in Hong Kong on Tuesday. Photo: Miguel Candela/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Apple Daily, Hong Kong's biggest pro-democracy newspaper, announced Wednesday that it will close at the weekend following the freezing of its assets under China's national security law.

Why it matters: It's the latest blow to the Asian financial hub's democracy movement and to free speech. Authorities have used the law that gives the government broad power to limit people's political freedom to arrest several journalists at the news outlet, founded by imprisoned tycoon Jimmy Lai.

Defense secretary backs overhaul to military sexual assault prosecutions

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill earlier this month. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced Tuesday that he supports changes to the military justice system in cases of sexual assault.

Why it matters: This is the first time Austin has publicly commented on a proposed overhaul of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which would see independent military prosecutors replace commanders in deciding whether to try serious criminal cases in court.

Updated 19 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Yang concedes NYC mayor's race, but primary winner may not be named for weeks

Andrew Yang outside a Manhattan hotel as he concedes in his campaign for mayor in New York City on Tuesday night. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Andrew Yang announced Tuesday night that he's dropping out of the New York City mayoral race.

Why it matters: The 46-year-old Democrat gained a following during his 2020 presidential campaign and was an early front-runner in the Democratic mayoral primary, which is for the first time taking place under a ranked choice voting system.

DOJ seizes 36 U.S. website domains for Iranian government disinformation

Iran's President-Elect Ebrahim Raisi holds a press conference at Shahid Beheshti conference hall in Tehran on Monday. Photo: Majid Saeedi/Getty Images

American officials seized 36 news website domains linked to Iran's government for spreading disinformation as part of a propaganda campaign, the Department of Justice said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The action comes at a time of heightened tension between the two countries, with Iran's hardline President-elect Ebrahim Raisi on Monday ruling out negotiating over missiles or meeting with President Biden as the two nations hold talks on returning Tehran to the 2015 nuclear deal.

NYT: Khashoggi's killers had paramilitary training in U.S.

A vigil for journalist Jamal Khashoggi outside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, following his killing in 2018 in Turkey. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Several Saudis who took part in the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi had paramilitary training in the U.S. under a State Department contract a year before his 2018 death, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

Why it matters: While there's no evidence the department knew that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sanctioned Saudi officials to detain, kidnap and torture dissidents in 2017, the approval of such training underscores how "intensely intertwined" the U.S. has become with a nation known for human rights abuses, per the NYT.

U.S. attorney finalist trashes Labor secretary

Rachael Rollins and Marty Walsh. Photos: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images (Rollins); Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images (Walsh)

A finalist for U.S. attorney in Boston is publicly trashing the city's former mayor — Labor Secretary Marty Walsh.

Why it matters: Rachael Rollins’ approach is perpetuating scrutiny of a troubled Cabinet secretary and fellow Democrat — and hints at the independence she may exhibit if tapped for top federal prosecutor for the eastern half of Massachusetts.

Parties pounce on China as midterm issue

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Democrats and Republicans in purple states are already leaning into U.S. competition with China as a key issue in the fight to control the Senate in 2022.

Why it matters: American voters hold increasingly negative feelings toward the Chinese government, particularly around bilateral economic relations and following the nation’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Hans Nichols, author of Sneak Peek
23 hours ago - Economy & Business

Scoop: Pandemic's "wake-up call" for restoring industry

Brian Deese. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

National Economic Council director Brian Deese will label the coronavirus pandemic a "wake-up call" to bring manufacturing jobs back to America in a speech Wednesday unveiling the Biden administration’s industrial policy, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: President Biden’s campaign was predicated on providing well-paying jobs for millions of Americans who've seen the country’s industrial heartland hollowed out by automation and competition for lower-cost labor from other countries.

23 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Progressives draw infrastructure red lines

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

As the White House moves closer to endorsing the G20's bipartisan infrastructure deal, progressive Democrats are making clear they won't get on board without a guarantee.

Why it matters: Left-leaning Democrats want a commitment the Senate will also act on a reconciliation bill — and some are insisting they vote on one first. They fear getting left behind as lawmakers from both parties increasingly sign on to the G20 framework.