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AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson earlier this year. Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images

AT&T said on Wednesday that it would give $1,000 bonuses to "more than 200,000 AT&T U.S. employees" when President Trump signs the tax reform bill passed by Congress on Wednesday. It will also, it says, fulfill a $1 billion capital investment pledge when the bill becomes law.

Why it matters: It's a calculated move to get credit from GOP lawmakers and the White House as the Trump Justice Department sues to block AT&T's proposed $85 billion purchase of Time Warner.

Real talk: Both the employee payout and capital investment are both relative drops in the bucket for AT&T. The more than $200 million in bonuses the company will give out is far less than the $500 million breakup fee the telco would owe Time Warner if regulators block the deal.

Go deeper

Cyber war scales up with new Microsoft hack

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Last week's revelation of a new cyberattack on thousands of small businesses and organizations, on top of last year's SolarWinds hack, shows we've entered a new era of mass-scale cyber war.

Why it matters: In a world that's dependent on interlocking digital systems, there's no escaping today's cyber conflicts. We're all potential victims even if we're not participants.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
15 mins ago - Science

Spaceflight contests and our future in orbit

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Wealthy private citizens are increasingly becoming the arbiters of who can go to space — and some of them want to bring the average person along for the ride.

Why it matters: Space is being opened up to people who wouldn't have had the prospect of flying there even five years ago, but these types of missions have far-reaching implications for who determines who gets to make use of space and for what.

1 hour ago - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: America looks for the exits after a year of COVID

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

A year after the coronavirus abruptly shut down much of the country, Americans are watching for a clear signal of when the pandemic will be over — and most won't be ready to ditch the masks and social distancing until they get it, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

The big picture: The poll found that more Americans are expecting the outbreak to be over sooner rather than later, as vaccinations ramp up throughout the country — but that very few are ready to end the precautions that have upended their lives.