Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: George Frey/Getty Images

The U.S. Census Bureau is requesting information from drivers' license records and public assistance recipients in an effort to make documenting citizenship a key aspect of the 2020 Census, the Associated Press reports.

Why it matters: The request has alarmed civil rights advocates who believe it will discourage immigrant participation in next year's population count, which will be used to determine congressional seat apportionment and how federal funding is distributed.

The big picture: The Trump administration controversially sought to include a citizenship question in the 2020 Census, but the Supreme Court blocked the question earlier this year — arguing the administration lacked a credible explanation for why the question was necessary.

  • In response to the Supreme Court ruling, Trump issued an executive order allowing the Commerce Department to request administrative records from "all executive departments and agencies" to help it compile citizenship data.

What they're saying: The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators told AP that most states received requests for information containing citizenship status, race, birthdates and addresses, but that states can choose for themselves how to respond.

  • Experts said that state records are a poor choice for tracking citizenship because they may contain inaccuracies.
  • The Census Bureau said the records it receives are stripped of identifiable information and are only used for statistical purposes.

Illinois' secretary of state has denied the request, according to AP. Florida's Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has received the request but has not yet responded.

Our thought bubble, per Axios' Stef Kight: Trump's administration has made multiple attempts to penalize immigrants who use or are likely to use certain public benefit programs. The actions may not have a direct impact on most immigrants in the U.S., but the fear and uncertainty the policies create could keep immigrants from benefits they qualify for or result in an undercount of Latino populations in the 2020 Census.

What's next: The bureau said it will decide on a methodology for tracking citizenship by by March 31, 2020. The Census count officially begins on the next day, April 1.

Go deeper: Judge blocks Trump plan to penalize immigrants likely to use public benefits

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
56 mins ago - Economy & Business

Trump blocks banks from limiting loans to gun and oil companies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big banks are no longer allowed to reject business loan applicants because of the industry in which they operate, according to a new rule finalized on Thursday by the Trump administration.

Why it matters: Wall Street has curtailed its exposure to industries like guns, oil and private prisons, driven by both public and shareholder pressures. This new rule could reverse that trend.

Former FDA commissioner: "Reliable drug supply is absolutely critical"

Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Having a reliable supply of pharmaceutical drugs throughout America will be "absolutely critical" to boosting affordability in health care during the Biden administration, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Mark McClellan said at a virtual Axios Event on Friday.

The big picture: McClellan, who served under President George W. Bush, says drugs having limited supply and limited competition leads to elevated pricing. He considers drug supply to be a national security and public health issue.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Americans are still spending money

Source: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans spent more money at stores and restaurants in 2020 than they did in 2019 — even in the face of a devastating global pandemic that shut down broad sectors of the economy.

Why it matters: The monthly retail sales report this morning came in well below expectations, and showed consumer spending falling on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Total expenditures were still higher in December 2020 than they were a year previously, however.