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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday condemned Democratic support for abolishing the legislative filibuster, arguing that it would create a "scorched-earth Senate."

Why it matters: Many Democrats are pushing to use their newfound majority to eliminate the 60-vote threshold needed for major legislation, which would make it easier to pass progressive priorities. Resistance from Republicans and moderate Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (W.V.) has made that unlikely.

The big picture: McConnell and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) this week appeared unable to reach a power-sharing agreement to organize the Senate after McConnell demanded a written commitment that Democrats would not abolish the filibuster.

  • McConnell dropped the demand on Monday night. Schumer cast this as a win, but McConnell said on the Senate floor Tuesday that he only did so because he had received public commitments not to abolish the filibuster from Sinema and Manchin.
  • Proponents of the filibuster argue it protects the interests of the minority party, while opponents say it kneecaps lawmakers from passing legislation.

What they're saying: "If your legislation can't pass the Senate, you don't scrap the rules or lower the standards. You improve your idea, take your case to the people, or both," McConnell said in a speech on the Senate floor.

  • "Four years ago, Republicans had just won unified control. President Trump and others pressured us heavily, me in particular, to scrap this rule when it was protecting the Democratic minority," McConnell continued.
  • "But we stood firm. I stood firm, endured many tweets on the subject. I said we would not do that to our colleagues in the minority. No short term policy win justifies destroying the Senate as we know it."

Go deeper

Young people want checks on Big Tech's power

Data: Generation Lab; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The next generation of college-educated Americans thinks social media companies have too much power and influence on politics and need more government regulation, according to a new survey by Generation Lab for Axios.

Why it matters: The findings follow an election dominated by rampant disinformation about voting fraud on social media; companies' fraught efforts to stifle purveyors of disinformation including former President Trump; and a deadly Jan. 6 insurrection over the election organized largely online.

13 mins ago - World

Scoop: Israel's "top priority" mission to discredit UN probe

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett addresses the UN. Photo: John Minchillo/Pool via Getty

Israel is planning a campaign to discredit a UN commission formed to investigate the violence in Gaza last May and the root causes of the protracted conflict in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, according to an Israeli Foreign Ministry cable seen by Axios.

Why it matters: Israeli officials say they are highly concerned that the commission’s report will refer to Israel as an "Apartheid state" and that its findings could damage Israel's reputation, particularly among progressives in the West. The report is expected in June.

Updated 14 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer to retire: reports

Justice Stephen Breyer. Photo: MANDEL NGAN / AFP via Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will retire, NBC news first reported and multiple outlets confirmed on Wednesday, giving President Biden his first — and maybe only — chance to put a stamp on the high court.

What’s next: Appointing a new Supreme Court justice will be one of the longest-lasting pieces of Biden’s legacy — and could give Democrats a jolt of energy ahead of next year's midterms.