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Sen. Lamar Alexander. Photo: William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images.

Sen. Lamar Alexander — chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee — announced his retirement yesterday morning, and so is officially in legacy-making mode.

The backdrop: Earlier this month, he said that a priority for next Congress would be addressing health care costs, a point he reiterated at an Axios event last week. This includes getting rid of wasteful spending, making prices more transparent and addressing surprise medical bills.

"Lowering health care costs is an obvious path towards getting lasting results to help the American people, and Alexander views it as a possible legacy item where he can drag both parties to a consensus before he retires," a person familiar with Alexander's thinking told me yesterday.

Our thought bubble: Alexander is retiring, and Sen. Chuck Grassley has only two years to chair the Finance Committee before he's term-limited out of the position. That makes two chairmen of health care committees who are incentivized to do something big before they leave their position.

  • "Two chairmen who are lame ducks free to do anything they want and the Leader in cycle," one former GOP aide-turned-lobbyist emailed. "What could go wrong?"

Go deeper: How the Senate's bipartisan ACA effort went off the rails

Go deeper

U.S. grants temporary protected status to thousands of Venezuelans

Venezuelan citizens participate in the vote for the popular consultation in December 2020, as part of a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in Doral, Florida. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP

Venezuelans living in the United States will be eligible to receive temporary protected status for 18 months, the Department of Homeland Security announced Monday.

Why it matters: Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have fled to the U.S. amid economic, political and social turmoil back home. Former President Trump, on his last full day in office, granted some protections to Venezuelans through the U.S. Deferred Enforced Departure program, but advocates and lawmakers said the move didn't go far enough.

"She-cession" threatens economic recovery

Illustration: Sarah Grillo

Decades of the slow economic progress women made catching up to men evaporated in just one year.

Why it matters: As quickly as those gains were erased, it could take much, much longer for them to return — a warning Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen issued today.

The Week America Changed

Sandberg thought Zuckerberg was "nuts" on remote work in January 2020

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Paul Marotta/Getty Image

Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg thought Mark Zuckerberg was "nuts" when he raised the possibility in January 2020 that 50,000 Facebook employees might have to work from home. By March 6, they were.

Why it matters: In an interview Monday with Axios Re:Cap, Sandberg explained how Facebook moved quickly to respond to the pandemic with grants for small businesses and work-from-home stipends for its employees, and how the company has been watching the unfolding crisis for women in the workforce.