2020 candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden launched his campaign inside a union hall in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Monday with an appeal to the blue collar workers who helped hand Trump his electoral college victory in 2016.

"There are three basic reasons why I am running for president of the United States. First, to restore the soul of the nation. The second is to rebuild the backbone of the nation. And the third is to unify this nation. We always do better when we act as one America."

The big picture: On the heels of this morning's attacks by President Trump over earning the endorsement of the nation's largest firefighter's union, Biden told a largely white crowd: "I make no apologies. I am a union man." Biden used the rally to endorse a $15 minimum wage, call for free community college and the prohibition of "non-compete" agreements for low-wage workers, and advocate for a public option instead of Medicare for All.

Other highlights:

  • In striking a pro-labor tone, Biden took aim at Trump's economic policies and vowed to roll back the Republican tax cuts.
  • He lauded organized labor and berated Wall Street leaders and companies that used the Trump tax cuts to purchase their stocks.
  • "The country wasn't built by Wall Street bankers, CEOs and  hedge fund managers. It was built by you. It was built by the great American middle class. And America, America middle class was built by unions, by you. The stock market is roaring, but you don't feel it," Biden said.
  • The former vice president also sought to appeal for a more hopeful and inclusive vision of America, saying: "The only thing that stands in our way is our broken system that's continually being undermined by our president. Donald Trump is the only president who's decided not to represent the whole country. The president has his base. We need a president that works for all Americans."

Go deeper: Everything you need to know about 2020 candidate Joe Biden

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Over 73 million people watched the first debate on TV

Data: Nielsen; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

More than 73.1 million people watched the first presidential debate on television on Tuesday night, according to Nielsen ratings.

Why it matters: While that's a sizable audience for any American TV program, it's down more than 13% from the record number of TV viewers who tuned in for the first debate of the 2016 election. The chaotic nature of the debate and the overall uncertainty around this year's election may have pushed some viewers away.

Senate passes bill funding government through December

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Senate on Tuesday passed legislation to fund the federal government through Dec. 11, by a vote of 84-10.

Where it stands: The legislation will avert a government shutdown before funding expires Wednesday night and before the Nov. 3 election. The House passed the same measure last week by a vote of 359-57 after House Democrats and the Trump administration agreed on the resolution.

  • Both sides agreed early in negotiations that the bill should be a "clean" continuing resolution — meaning each party would only make small changes to existing funding levels so the measure would pass through both chambers quickly, Axios' Alayna Treene reported last week. The bill now goes to President Trump for his signature.
Bryan Walsh, author of Future
2 hours ago - Technology

The age of engineering life begins

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Synthetic biology startups raised some $3 billion through the first half of 2020, up from $1.9 billion for all of 2019, as the field brings the science of engineering to the art of life.

The big picture: Synthetic biologists are gradually learning how to program the code of life the way that computer experts have learned to program machines. If they can succeed — and if the public accepts their work — synthetic biology stands to fundamentally transform how we live.

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