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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 NAFTA:

  • 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.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Scoop: Jake Sullivan discussed Saudi-Israel normalization with MBS

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg and Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan raised normalization with Israel during his recent meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, three U.S. and Arab sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Saudi Arabia would be the biggest regional player to sign onto the "Abraham Accords" peace agreement with Israel, and such a major breakthrough would likely convince other Arab and Muslim countries to follow suit.

Tech's leaky world

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Tech companies are learning what everyone in Washington already knows: Leaks of confidential info are inevitable, and "plumbing" operations to close them rarely work.

Why it matters: Most tech firms talk up the power of transparency but prefer to keep details of their operations secret from competitors and the public. Researchers, regulators and the media are increasingly relying on information provided by dissident employees and whistleblowers to see inside companies' workings.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

First look: Harris wants more union membership in fed workforce

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at a virtual town hall with Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) on Oct. 14. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh will today announce new guidelines to encourage federal workers to join unions, according to a White House official.

Why it matters: The Biden administration wants to bolster the collective bargaining power of workers across the country – and they are starting at home, with changes in the federal workforce.