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J. Scott Applewhite / AP

The Senate Majority Leader prevented former President Obama from filling Justice Scalia's seat for nearly a year, saying he wanted to allow the next president, be they Republican or Democrat, to fill the seat. Now he's pushing Democrats to give him those rewards without having to blow up a Senate tradition.

McConnell has an op-ed at Politico today that urges Chuck Schumer to allow Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch to be confirmed without a filibuster.

I invite Leader Schumer and his party... to now follow through on their refrain of 'we need nine' by giving this tremendously well-qualified nominee fair consideration and an up-or-down vote.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
4 hours ago - Health

Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.

Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.

The case of the missing relief money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.

Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.

The post-Trump GOP, gutted

McConnell (L), McCarthy (R) and Trump. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Republicans will emerge from the Trump era gutted financially, institutionally and structurally.

The big picture: The losses are stark and substantial.