Photo: Timothy D. Easley / AP

After taking a hit for the loss on health reform, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) restored his reputation as a skilled tactician with the passage of a tax package that few thought would make it out of the Senate before year's end.

McConnell-watchers deconstruct his secret sauce:

  • "Fear, electoral anxiety and anger burn off through the open amendment process. His patience and discipline allowed him to move past the political posturing into positioning on issues. He is the modern day political alchemist — making the chaos into policy gold."
  • "Classic McConnell: tight team, member-by-member lobbying, deploying every possible outside influencer, and — this part is easily overlooked — drawing on a huge reservoir of trust and loyalty from many (though not all, of course) members in his caucus."
  • "He prepared all year for Friday's vote by delegating surrogates, unifying House, Senate and [White House] teams, and learning from the failures of O'Care repeal. He also never let the daily distractions and frustrations of the WH interfere."
  • "McCain, who complained about the lack of regular order in the Obamacare repeal debate, voted with us after a lengthy process [that still landed zero Dems]. ... McConnell brought in small groups of members ... several days a week, several meetings — to update them."

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Harris: "Women are going to be a priority" in Biden administration

Sen. Kamala Harris at an event in Wilmington, Del. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In her first sit-down interview since being named Joe Biden's running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris talked about what she'll do to fight for women if elected VP, and how the Democrats are thinking about voter turnout strategies ahead of November.

What they're saying: "In a Biden-Harris administration women are going to be a priority, understanding that women have many priorities and all of them must be acknowledged," Harris told The 19th*'s Errin Haines-Whack.

Facebook goes after Apple

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Facebook is seeking to force a face-off with Apple over its 30% in-app purchase commission fee, which Facebook suggests hurts small businesses struggling to get by during the pandemic.

The big picture: Facebook has never publicly gone after Apple, a key strategic partner, this aggressively. Both companies face antitrust scrutiny, which in Apple's case has centered on the very fee structure Facebook is now attacking.

2 hours ago - World

Exclusive: UAE wants Israel normalization finalized "as soon as possible," minister says

The UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, told me in an exclusive interview that his country wants to implement its normalization deal with Israel “as soon as possible."

What he's saying: Gargash said he was confident that the U.S.-brokered deal moved Israeli annexation of the West Bank off the table for a “long time.” He also said Israeli tourists would soon be able to travel to the UAE.