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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The latest Brexit extension takes the prospect of an economically calamitous "no deal" Brexit off the table until Jan. 31, but businesses remain in a state of very expensive limbo.

Why it matters: "It is hugely costly, in terms of money but also in terms of effort and energy. So much has been put into this process and into emergency 'no deal' planning that could have been used in other areas," says Catherine McGuinness, policy chair at the City of London Corporation.

  • While warnings of a "Brexit recession" following the referendum haven't come to fruition, the impact has already been felt — and Brexit hasn't actually happened yet.
  • "The real implications will play out over time," says McGuinness, whose organization represents London’s powerful financial services sector. "But we’ve seen investments slow down, we’ve seen people put decisions on hold, and we hear about people having problems recruiting."

What to watch: “The big worry I have is we have an inconclusive election, and where does that take us? We can’t just keep going on this treadmill where no progress is made.”

  • Brexit will also not be over when it's over — the trading relationship between the U.K. and EU must still be negotiated, and more deadlines loom in 2020 and beyond.
  • McGuinness points out that Switzerland, which isn't an EU member, has been in a "constant state of negotiation" with the bloc for years.

The bottom line: McGuinness is confident London will remain a global financial center after Brexit. But she worries that the economic pain that comes along with it will make it even harder to "put back together this rather fractured society."

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Harris breaks tie as Senate proceeds with lengthy debate on COVID relief bill

Photo: Oliver Contreras/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Senate on Thursday voted 51-50 — with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie — to proceed to debate on President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package, likely setting up a final vote this weekend.

The state of play: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is forcing the Senate clerk to read the entire 628-page bill on the floor, a procedural move that will likely add 10 hours to the 20 hours already allotted for debate.

2 hours ago - World

Netanyahu campaigns against Biden's plan to save Iran deal

Netanyahu campaigns at a gym last month. Photo: Pool/AFP via Getty

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indirectly criticized the Biden administration for its intention to return to the Iran nuclear deal and told his supporters he was prepared to "stand against the entire world" to stop it.

Why it matters: This is a major change of tune for Netanyahu, who had been careful in his statements on the Iran deal and avoided publicly criticizing President Biden. The statement was part of Netanyahu's attempt to rally his base ahead of Israel's election on March 23.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Tech: "Fludemic" model accurately maps COVID hotspotsVirtual doctor's visits and digital health tools take off.
  2. Politics: Schumer says Senate will stay through weekend to vote on COVID relief — Republican governor of West Virginia says there's no plan to lift mask mandate.
  3. World: Canada vaccine panel recommends 4 months between doses.
  4. Business: Firms develop new ways to inoculate the public.
  5. Local: Ultra-rich Florida community got vaccinations in January.