Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

House Republican leaders are beginning to give significant thought to what their exit-for-August bills look like if they don't have healthcare to leave on.

  • What we're hearing: House members are super-anxious about health care, and the pessimism levels are rising about getting a bill from the Senate. As everyone predicted, including Mitch McConnell: the July 4 recess made a bad situation worse.
  • The brutal math: Assuming Vice President Pence as the tie-breaker, Republicans can only lose 2 senators. There are at least 3 "hard" nays (Susan Collins of Maine, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Dean Heller of Nevada), and perhaps 5 (add Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas). Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is on the bubble.

The WashPost has a bearish story at the top of column 1 today, "GOP is far from goals as recess approaches," by Mike DeBonis and Ed O'Keefe: "Virtually every piece of their ambitious legislative agenda is stalled, according to multiple Republicans inside and outside of Congress."

"The fallout, according to these Republicans, could be devastating in next year's midterm elections."

Be smart: The doomsday forecasts fail to account for the fact that in Congress, everything is always in trouble until politics creates momentum. But at the moment, that looks about as likely as Vladimir Putin finding the real hacker.

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Axios-SurveyMonkey poll: Harris boosting Biden ticket with key voters

Data: SurveyMonkey poll of 2,847 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 11–12, 2020 with ±3% margin of error; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Kamala Harris is accomplishing what Joe Biden's campaign hoped she would in her first two days as his running mate — doing no harm, while exciting parts of the base with whom Biden needs the most help.

The big picture: Black women especially, but also Black men, Hispanics and Democrats and independents across the board say they are more likely to vote for Biden with Harris on the ticket, according to a new Axios-SurveyMonkey poll.

25 mins ago - Technology

Epic sues Apple over developer tax as Fortnite is pulled from App Store

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Fortnite maker Epic Games on Thursday escalated its battle over Apple's App Store tactics, suing the tech giant over antitrust claims while also baiting Apple into dropping Fortnite from the App Store.

The big picture: Epic is just one of several developers clashing with Apple. They argue the company harms competition by taking a cut of up to 30% on in-app purchases and subscriptions and blocking most developers from getting around the tax by charging their users directly.

Biden calls for 3-month national mask mandate: "Be a patriot"

Joe Biden called on governors to issue a three-month mandatory outdoor mask mandate on Thursday, telling reporters after receiving a coronavirus briefing that experts say it could save over 40,000 lives.

Why it matters: Biden was more aggressive and specific than he has been in previous calls to wear a mask, arguing that it will allow children to return to school sooner, businesses to reopen and help "get our country back on track."