Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

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!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

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!

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A dispute between two powerful Senate committees effectively scuttled an effort to step up federal scrutiny of foreign donations to U.S. research universities, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Chinese influence in higher education has fueled espionage and human rights concerns. But an effort to address it within a sprawling Senate package of measures designed to boost U.S. competitiveness against China sparked a jurisdictional spat that spiked the legislative language.

What's happening: The version of the United States Innovation and Competition Act the Senate took up this week explicitly bars the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) from monitoring large foreign gifts to U.S. universities.

  • Despite that prohibition, the legislation includes a measure passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee authorizing that work by CFIUS, an interagency body chaired by the Treasury secretary that vets foreign investments for potential national security concerns.
  • The bill, though, was amended Tuesday with additional language explicitly prohibiting CFIUS from performing that work or appropriating federal funds for that purpose.
  • While both provisions remain in the overarching bill released by the office of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the most recent language barring that CFIUS authority appears to be the operative provision.

The big picture: The original CFIUS language was championed by Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), the top Republican on Foreign Relations.

  • It was designed to address concerns that the Chinese government, in particular, uses its influence at large research institutions to monitor or steal U.S. technology, develop tech to repress Chinese Muslim minorities and seed ideologically aligned campus groups.
  • In a statement to Axios, Risch called the measure "a small investment, given the large cost of the (legislation), to protect our ideas, research and intellectual property before it’s too late, which is often the case.”

Between the lines: Three sources with knowledge of the situation told Axios the change in language was the result of a dispute between the Foreign Relations and Senate Banking committees.

  • "The provision is designed effectively to nullify the (Foreign Relations) CFIUS provision, because we believe, along with CFIUS, that it is completely unworkable," one of the sources said. "CFIUS is not designed, staffed or structured to assess potentially tens of thousands of university gifts."
  • The two other sources said the dispute also had to do with jurisdictional turf.
  • CFIUS falls under Banking's purview, and the sources, who requested anonymity to candidly discuss the matter, said Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), the committee's top members, felt they weren't adequately consulted.

Yes, but: The legislative package does include language that would require universities to disclose large foreign gifts.

  • It also contains provisions designed to safeguard research by U.S. labs and agencies from foreign theft and espionage.
  • CFIUS's role in the process, though, appears to have been excised.

Go deeper

Exclusive: Quartz, NYT vets launch new media company about work

Photo credit: Emma Howells for Charter

Quartz co-founders Kevin Delaney and Jay Lauf, along with New York Times veteran Erin Grau, are launching a new media and services company called "Charter" that is centered around the future of work, the founders told Axios.

Why it matters: "There are other media companies that write about this topic — some occasionally and some more frequently, but it's one topic among many things that they do," Delaney said. "This is a driving focus for us."

Biden endorses bill to end sentencing disparity for crack and powder cocaine

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Biden administration endorsed a bill Tuesday that would end sentencing disparities for crack versus powder cocaine offenses.

The big picture: Supporting the legislation follows through on one of Biden's campaign promises. But it's a shift from decades ago, when Biden spearheaded efforts to pass the legislation that implemented the disparities in the first place.

White House to acknowledge U.S. will miss July 4 vaccination goal

Fireworks in New York City to celebrate the state reaching a 70% vaccination rate. Photo: Liao Pan/China News Service via Getty Images

The Biden administration plans to acknowledge on Tuesday it will likely miss its goal of vaccinating 70% of U.S. adults with at least one dose by July 4, NBC News first reported and Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: Despite falling short of the goal, the White House still believes most Americans will be safe to fully celebrate Independence Day, as COVID-19 cases and deaths remain at low levels throughout much of the country.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!