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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi at a press conference on March 18. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The House voted 247-174 on Thursday to pass a bipartisan bill that would allow an estimated 1 million undocumented farmworkers and their children to gain legal status through continued employment.

Why it matters: Farmworkers and crop hands were designated essential workers during the pandemic. The bill would allow them to apply for legal status after working in agriculture for at least 180 days over two years.

  • Nine representatives did not vote on the bill.

The big picture: The Farm Workforce Modernization Act is part of Democrats' first push this year to overhaul the country's immigration laws.

  • Lawmakers are also considering a bill to create a path to citizenship for Dreamers, immigrants brought into the country illegally as children and who grew up in the U.S.

What they're saying: "Farmworkers are getting infected and dying from COVID at a much higher rate than the general public. They are literally dying to feed you ... we must protect and secure our food supply chain," Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.), chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said in a statement to reporters on Thursday.

  • "Without the immigrant farmworkers, the undocumented immigrant farmworkers, we couldn't grow our crops or feed our people," House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said.

Context: The Biden administration faces a growing crisis at the border with the arrival of hundreds of undocumented children, most fleeing violence and extreme poverty in Central America.

What to watch: Reps. Dan Newhouse of Washington and Mike Simpson of Idaho on Thursday are among the 12 Republican co-sponsors in the House. The bill's future in the Senate, however, is uncertain.

Go deeper

The startup that wants to disrupt big internet providers

Maura Losch/Axios

A new startup backed by funding from AOL founder Steve Case and Laurene Powell Jobs wants to break up broadband monopolies across the country.

Why it matters: Internet access has been crucial during the pandemic, but it's not ubiquitous, and it can be both slow and unaffordable in swaths of the country.

37 mins ago - World

Top general: China's hypersonic missile test "very close" to a "Sputnik moment"

Gen. Mark Milley. Photo: Rod Lamkey-Pool/Getty Images

Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned Wednesday that China's test of a hypersonic missile is "very concerning" and "very close" to the kind of "Sputnik moment" that triggered the Space Race during the Cold War.

Why it matters: The comments by America's top uniformed general underscore the depths of U.S. concerns about China's rapid military expansion and development of advanced weaponry.

Climate reckoning for oil and gas CEOs

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Top executives from ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron and Shell will face a reckoning on Capitol Hill Thursday, as they're grilled on evidence that their companies knew for years that their products were driving climate change but chose to downplay or deny it.

Why it matters: The hearing before the House Oversight Committee will be the first time these executives have been brought together to provide sworn testimony regarding what they knew about the ties between their company's products and climate change, and when they knew it.