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!

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!

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!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Marco Rubio, Susan Collins and other Senate Intelligence Committee members during an election security hearing on March 21. Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

With the midterm elections less than six weeks away, policymakers are ramping up their focus on election meddling. Earlier this year, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) introduced the Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines (DETER) Act to deal with foreign interference. The bill is currently pending in the Senate Banking Committee and could get considered before the midterms.

Why it matters: The DETER Act requires the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to determine within one month of a federal election whether any foreign government has interfered. If the DNI were to make such a finding about Russia, the Treasury Department would be required within 10 days to impose a set of severe sanctions on specific individuals and businesses that could not be removed for two presidential election cycles.

It is easy to understand why some members of Congress would want to bypass presidential discretion and impose automatic sanctions on Russia. And this type of action could act as an effective deterrent.

Yes, but: Automatic mechanisms like those proposed in the DETER Act limit the administration's foreign policy flexibility. The act would tie the intelligence community's collection and analysis of information to specific and far-reaching policy actions, the responsibility for which now lies with other agencies, such as State or Treasury.

Moreover, Congress is not best positioned to identify individuals and businesses to be sanctioned. Policymakers in the executive branch have access to broader and more current information, along with the ability to weigh trade-offs of different approaches. Otherwise, the law could end up hurting U.S. businesses more than Russian companies or its economy. And eight years is an eternity in foreign policy. Locking in any policy for that amount of time could prove counterproductive.

The bottom line: There are better ways to send a message to countries using cyber tools to interfere in our elections or economy. Lawmakers could add some greater flexibility into the DETER Act. Or they could consider the Cyber Deterrence and Response Act, which provides a framework for combating cyberattacks, but provides the president more leeway in identifying those threats and imposing sanctions.

Jeffrey Kupfer is an adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College. He previously served in the Treasury Department and the White House.

Go deeper

CDC lets child migrant shelters fill to 100% despite COVID concern

Intensive care tents at overflow shelter in Carrizo Springs, Texas. Photo: Sergio Flores/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control is allowing shelters handling child migrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border to expand to full capacity, abandoning a requirement that they stay near 50% to inhibit the spread of the coronavirus, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The fact that the country's premier health advisory agency is permitting a change in COVID-19 protocols indicates the scale of the immigration crisis. A draft memo obtained by Axios conceded "facilities should plan for and expect to have COVID-19 cases."

8 Senate Democrats vote against adding $15 minimum wage to COVID relief

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Eight Democratic senators on Friday voted against Sen. Bernie Sanders' amendment to ignore a ruling by the Senate parliamentarian and add a $15 minimum wage provision to the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

The state of play: The vote was held open for hours on Friday afternoon — even after every senator had voted — due to a standoff in negotiations over the next amendments that the Senate will take up.

CDC: Easing mask mandates led to higher COVID cases and deaths

Customer at a supermarket chain in Austin, Texas. Montinique Monroe/Getty Images

Easing mask restrictions and on-site dining have increased COVID-19 cases and deaths, according to a study out Friday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: The report's findings converge with actions from governors this week easing mask mandates and announcing plans to reopen nonessential businesses like restaurants.