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Amazon's regional headquarters in Sunnyvale, California. Photo:

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that Amazon has decided to split the planned HQ2 across two cities, with the New York Times later adding that the locations are likely to be the Crystal City neighborhood of Arlington, Va., and the Long Island City district in Queens, N.Y. Supposedly, a decision could come in the next week.

Our thought bubble: So much for bringing high tech to Middle America, assuming the Times report is correct. The decision to split HQ2 in two raises questions about whether either of the locations will really emerge as a true second headquarters. Putting at least part of HQ2 near D.C. could help the company as it seeks to deflect antitrust action, which President Trump told Axios is under consideration.

What they're saying: The internet had a lot of fun with the reports of two HQ2s. Here are a few of my favorites...

  • Business Insider's Matt Weinberger: "Each sub-HQ2 will be required to pick cities for two additional HQs, which will then be required to pick two more cities each."
  • Axios' Dan Primack: "You get an HQ2. And you get an HQ2. And you get an HQ2..."
  • There was also some serious introspection, including this, from The Information's Nick Wingfield: "This should serve as a moment of reflection for everyone involved in the HQ2 hype (me included). If Amazon ends up splitting its expansion into mini HQs, that is called...opening satellite offices, which scarcely deserves the buckets of ink spilled so far."
  • And the Seattle Times' Mike Rosenberg: "Amazon parlayed HQ2 into incredibly outsized media attention. Search Amazon HQ2 on Google News: 1.8M results. In the end it was for office expansions to increase jobs by 0.2% in the NY metro area & 0.8% in the DC area, two of the richest places on Earth."

The bottom line: We'll have to wait to see the details to learn just how good a deal this is for the "winning" communities.

Go deeper

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker will not seek re-election in 2022

Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker (R) speaking during a press conference in November 2021. Photo: Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), a moderate who typically ranks as one of the nation's most popular governors, said Wednesday that he and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito (R) will not seek third terms in 2022.

Why it matters: The decision leaves the gubernatorial race wide open and will likely affect multiple down-ballot races next year. Baker was expected to be the front-runner had he joined the race.

4 hours ago - Health

CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers

Travelers with their luggage arrive at a COVID-19 testing location at the airport in Los Angeles, Calif., on Nov. 23, 2021. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday night that it is working to impose stricter testing requirements for international travelers due to the spread of the new Omicron variant.

The big picture: The new rules would require all international travelers, regardless of vaccination status, to show a negative test taken a day before their flight to the U.S. Currently, the CDC says fully vaccinated travelers are allowed to show a test taken no more than three days before their departure, AP reports.

Republicans threaten to shut down government over vaccine mandates

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in the Capitol in November 2020. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Conservative Republicans in the House and Senate are planning to force a government shutdown Friday to deny funding needed to enforce the Biden administration's vaccine mandates on the private sector, according to Politico.

Why it matters: Congress has until the end of the week to pass a stopgap measure to extend funding into 2022, though objection from a small group of Republicans could shut down the government.