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Zach Gibson / AP

As the only nominee who has served at the cabinet-level and in the private sector (and the wife of the Senate majority leader), Elaine Chao's confirmation hearing for transportation secretary was breezy as expected. Here's what you need to know.

Chao called Trump's infrastructure plan "ambitious" and said the government alone couldn't fund it.

As mentioned, the government does not have the resources to address all the infrastructure needs within our country. So all of us need to put our best thinking forward as to how to fund the aging infrastructure.

Tech alert: Although Chao said there are some concerns with the development of autonomous vehicles and drones, she said DOT should "not dampen the basic creativity and innovation of our country."

Chao sidestepped questions about implementing positive train control, saying she "hoped to get briefed" on it, and FAA privatization, by joking that she wanted to get confirmed before detailing her position.

Smooth sailing. Roger Wicker's take: "Most members of this committee are delighted that you have been chosen for this position. I think you'll be confirmed with a nice bipartisan vote."

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
55 mins ago - Technology

Scoop: Google is investigating the actions of another top AI ethicist

Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Photo by Mateusz Wlodarczyk/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Google is investigating recent actions by Margaret Mitchell, who helps lead the company's ethical AI team, Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: The probe follows the forced exit of Timnit Gebru, a prominent researcher also on the AI ethics team at Google whose ouster ignited a firestorm among Google employees.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Joe Biden's COVID-19 bubble

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The incoming administration is planning extraordinary steps to protect its most prized commodity, Joe Biden, including requiring daily employee COVID tests and N95 masks at all times, according to new guidance sent to some incoming employees Tuesday.

Why it matters: The president-elect is 78 years old and therefore a high risk for the virus and its worst effects, despite having received the vaccine. While President Trump's team was nonchalant about COVID protocols — leading to several super-spreader episodes — the new rules will apply to all White House aides in "high proximity to principals."

Justice Department drops insider trading inquiry against Sen. Richard Burr

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) walking through the Senate Subway in the U.S. Capitol in December 2020. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Department of Justice told Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on Tuesday that it will not move forward with insider trading charges against him.

Why it matters: The decision, first reported by the New York Times, effectively ends the DOJ's investigation into the senator's stock sell-off that occurred after multiple lawmakers were briefed about the coronavirus' potential economic toll. Burr subsequently stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.