Discussions are ongoing at the Federal Communications Commission on how to tackle the controversial 2015 net neutrality rules, new chairman Ajit Pai made clear on Thursday, as he assiduously avoided making news on how the agency might roll the regulations back.

But Pai did indicate what outside considerations are weighing on commission staffers:

  • The courts: Pai said that whether a federal court will rehear a legal challenge to the rules "is one of the factors that is going into our thinking."
  • Congress: He also said he had been "meeting with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to hear their views about this issue."
  • The legal risks: Morning Consult reported in December that it could be difficult for the commission to explain in court why they so quickly changed course, despite a deep record of evidence the previous commission developed in favor of the rules. "I mean that's part of what we're trying to figure out, what the lay of the land is in terms of the legal landscape as well," Pai said when asked about that story. "So I can't say what that is but I'm aware of people who have made those comments, of course."

What's next: We'll be watching for what happens once the federal courts say whether they will rehear the case over the rules, and for whether Congress starts moving in earnest on a compromise on the issue.

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In photos: Deadly wildfires devastate California's wine country

The Shady Fire ravages a home as it approaches Santa Rosa in Napa County, California, on Sept. 28. The blaze is part of the massive Glass Fire Complex, which has razed 46,600 acres at 2% containment. Photo: Samuel Corum/Agence France-Presse/AFP via Getty Images

Some 18,700 firefighters are battling 27 major blazes across California, including in the heart of the wine country, where one mega-blaze claimed the lives of three people and forced thousands of others to evacuate this week.

The big picture: 8,155 wildfires have burned across a record 3.86 million acres, killing 26 people and razing almost 7,900 structures in California in per Cal Fire. Just like the deadly fires of 2017, the wine country has become a wildfires epicenter. Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma, and Shasta counties.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 33,560,877 — Total deaths: 1,006,564 — Total recoveries: 23,297,593Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 7,190,036 — Total deaths: 205,974— Total recoveries: 2,809,674 — Total tests: 103,155,189Map.
  3. Health: Americans won't take Trump's word on the vaccine, Axios-Ipsos poll finds.
  4. Politics: 7 former FDA commissioners say Trump is undermining agency's credibility
  5. States: NYC's coronavirus positivity rate spikes to highest since June.
  6. Sports: Tennessee Titans close facility amid NFL's first coronavirus outbreak.
  7. World: U.K. beats previous record for new coronavirus cases.
  8. Work: United States of burnout — Asian American unemployment spikes amid pandemic
Mike Allen, author of AM
Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The first Trump v. Biden presidential debate was a hot mess

Photos: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

This debate was like the country: Everybody’s talking. Nobody’s listening. Nothing is learned. It’s a mess.

  • We were told President Trump would be savage. Turned out, that was a gross understatement. Even the moderator, Fox News' Chris Wallace, got bulldozed.

Why it matters: Honestly, who the hell knows?