1 🏛️ thing
Today’s top stories
1 🏛️ thing
The notion of the car as a "computer on wheels" is moving past the realm of hype and closer to reality, which will transform the driving experience and improve road safety, too.
Why it matters: The arrival of long-promised technologies like 5G connectivity and new high-performance computers means cars will improve over time, instead of depreciating the minute they leave the dealer lot.
Civil rights leaders and Black sports icons are publicly taking COVID-19 vaccines to encourage African Americans to follow their example as social media misinformation exploits Black distrust of vaccines.
Why it matters: The coronavirus has disproportionately struck Black, Latino, and Native American communities, and health officials are racing to reassure skeptical populations that the vaccines aren't clandestine experiments, but needed measures to tame the pandemic.
President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.
Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.
A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.
Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.
The Senate Intelligence Committee has postponed a confirmation hearing — originally scheduled for Friday — for President-elect Biden's nominee for director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, until next week.
Why it matters: Biden's team has pushed for swift confirmation hearings for his national security nominees, especially in the context of last week's attack on the Capitol, threats of violence surrounding next week's inauguration and global political tensions.
Veteran communications and campaign strategist Anita Dunn will join Joe Biden's White House on a temporary basis, helping him to advance his opening agenda from inside the West Wing, people familiar with the plans tell Axios.
The big picture: Dunn, a former communications director to President Barack Obama, took on an expanded role in Biden's campaign when it faltered last winter, helping guide it through a party nomination and general election victory.
A crisis is a terrible thing to waste — and President-elect Joe Biden, emboldened by Democratic Senate victories in Georgia, signaled in his speech Thursday night he has no intention of wasting this one.
Why it matters: The president-elect rolled out a $1.9 trillion package headlined for its coronavirus relief but including billions in spending for cybersecurity, transit, wages, health care and other progressive programs.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is endorsing Terry McAuliffe's campaign in a very crowded Democratic primary that will winnow the field of those seeking to be the next governor of Virginia.
Why it matters: McAuliffe, who already served one term as governor, faces competition from four other Democrats. He's looking to Pelosi to help burnish his credentials with female and progressive voters in this year's contested race.
Democrats are in a dilemma of their own making, and now they want incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to wrap up President Trump's impeachment trial as fast as possible, two sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.
Why it matters: The party wanted to hold the president accountable for helping incite last week's Capitol attack but the actual mechanism for doing so — a Senate trial — is a balky tool that will inhibit President-elect Joe Biden from launching his effort to heal the country and its economy.
Here’s your guide to President Trump’s second impeachment trial. Remember, his first began almost exactly a year ago, on Jan. 16, 2020.
The state of play: Assuming the House sends the article of impeachment to the Senate on or before Jan. 19 (the day the Senate returns from recess):
Last week's assault on the Capitol felt personal to Black Americans, who found the violence similar to what they experienced during the civil rights riots of the 1960s, Rep. James Clyburn told Axios.
Why it matters: Clyburn said the pitched assault by President Trump's supporters, some of whom have ties to white supremacist movements, has prompted an important question for him and many African Americans: "Are we getting ready to repeat some history that we thought we'd successfully gotten behind us?"
- Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — America has tuned out the coronavirus at the peak of its destruction — 1/3 of people in L.A. County believed to have been infected with coronavirus.
- Politics: Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat — Joe Biden will seek nearly $2 trillion in COVID relief spending.
- Vaccine: Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
- Economy: Unemployment filings explode again — Fed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon — Inflation rose more than expected in December.
- World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.
President-elect Biden called for a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan this evening, including money to combat the spread of the virus, vaccinate millions of Americans and provide direct relief to individuals in the form of an additional $1,400 in cash payments.
Why it matters: Biden’s “American Rescue Plan” is his opening bid to Congress on the first of two massive proposals requiring approval in the House and Senate. He'll return in February, in his first address to Congress, to ask for additional infrastructure spending, as Axios reported and Biden confirmed Thursday night.
Ugandans faced a stark choice at the ballot box Thursday between strongman Yoweri Museveni and singer-turned-opposition icon Bobi Wine, who was just 3 years old when Museveni took power 35 years ago.
Why it matters: Wine has tapped into the discontent and aspirations of young people, particularly in cities like Kampala. Two-thirds of Ugandans have known no leader but Museveni, and many are struggling to find jobs. When Wine's campaign caravan rolls into a neighborhood, massive crowds rise up to meet it.