May 31, 2018

News Shapers: Infrastructure Week

Axios Executive Editor Mike Allen interviews National Eocnomic Director Larry Kudlow. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios

In the midst of Infrastructure Week, a stacked line up of news shapers joined Mike Allen to discuss infrastructure policy and the news of the day.

Why it mattered: We heard from both sides of the aisle on how to fix our country's infrastructure, as well as Larry Kudlow's view on the looming trade war with China: "Blame China, not Trump."

The news shapers:

  • T.H. Larry Kudlow, Director, National Economic Council, The White House.
  • T.H. James Inhofe, U.S. Senator, Oklahoma. Chairman, Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
  • T.H. Eleanor Holmes Norton, U.S. Representative, District of Columbia. Ranking Member, House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.
  • T.H. Steve Adler, Mayor, Austin, Texas. Vice Chair, U.S. Conference of Mayors Subcommittee on Highways.
  • Mr. Steven Brill, Author, Tailspin.
Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton and Mike Allen. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios

On the infrastructure bill:

Dead vs. alive: Senator Inhofe says the infrastructure bill is "not dead on arrival. We're actively working on it right now."

Tomorrow vs. never: Mayor Adler says he'd "rather [an infrastructure bill] happen tomorrow than not happen at all."

Old vs. new: Typically, infrastructure funding is raised by implementing a gas tax, but Rep. Holmes Norton says "we may have to look for a new way to fund our infrastructure" due to Republicans resistance this time around.

Senator James Inhofe and Mike Allen. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios
Even the most far-left Democrats and the most far-right Republicans all agree on the need to improve our roads and ports.
— Senator James Inhofe (R-OK)
NEC Director Larry Kudlow and Mike Allen.

Takeaways from NEC Director Larry Kudlow

On China:

  • "I don't believe [the President] wants a trade war [with China]. I don't want a trade war."
  • "I believe trade deals are good things, but, China has to reform its system. They've been behaving like a third-world country."
  • 🌈➡️💰: "If you can get through this process, with China [...] then, at the end of that rainbow you're going to have economic growth."

Why it matters: Kudlow is pushing for China to lower its trade barriers in the wake of Trump's announced tariffs on Chinese products that signaled a potential trade war.


  • On getting a better deal: there's a "51-49" chance.

Why it matters: President Trump has walked back from his original threat to pull out of NAFTA entirely. His adminisitatrion is now working to cut a better deal in the U.S.'s favor but the odds aren't great, according to Kudlow.

Go deeper: Larry Kudlow puts faith in Trump-Xi "bromance"

Thank you to Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

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NYC races to build field hospitals as coronavirus death toll tops 1,000

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announces at the USTA Bille Jean King tennis center that the venue will be transformed into a 350-bed temporary hospital. Photo: Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio detailed plans at a news briefing Tuesday to turn buildings and facilities into makeshift hospitals across the Big Apple — including U.S. open tennis courts.

The big picture: New York City now accounts for a quarter of all deaths from the novel coronavirus in the U.S. — more than 1,000 as of Wednesday morning. De Blasio said the city had "about 20,000 working hospital beds in our major hospitals" before the outbreak. Officials need to triple that number in the coming weeks.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 859,556 — Total deaths: 42,332 — Total recoveries: 178,300.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 189,510 — Total deaths: 4,076 — Total recoveries: 7,109.
  3. Business updates: Should you pay your rent or mortgage during the coronavirus pandemic? Find out if you are protected under the CARES Act.
  4. Public health updates: More than 400 long-term care facilities across the U.S. report patients with coronavirus — Older adults and people with underlying health conditions are more at risk, new data shows.
  5. Federal government latest: President Trump said the next two weeks would be "very painful," with projections indicating the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans.
  6. Coronavirus in custody: Inmates in all U.S. federal prisons are set to enter a 14-day quarantine on April 1. A federal judge on Tuesday ordered U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to release 10 detained immigrants who are at risk of contracting COVID-19 while in confinement.
  7. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Captain of nuclear aircraft carrier docked in Guam pleaded with the U.S. Navy for more resources after more than 100 members of his crew tested positive.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll tops 4,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The novel coronavirus has now killed more than 4,000 people in the U.S. — with over 1,000 deaths reported in New York City alone, per Johns Hopkins data. The number of deaths are still much lower than those reported in Italy, Spain and China.

Of note: Hours earlier, President Trump noted it's "going to be a very painful two weeks," with projections indicating the novel coronavirus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans — even with strict social distancing guidelines in place. "They are going to be facing a war zone," he said of medical workers.

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