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Satya Nadella. Photo: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Microsoft is pledging $500 million to the Seattle region to address affordable housing issues, the New York Times reported and Microsoft confirmed in a blog post.

Why it matters: This kind of move from such an industry powerhouse will spur debate over what kind of responsibilities fall on companies to find "solutions for those who have not benefited from the industry's fortunes," per the Times. A report from December said the Seattle region needs 156,000 more affordable housing units and will need 84,000 more by 2040 if growth continues.

"The tech sector needs to contribute more to the communities in which they operate," said Brad Smith, Microsoft president and chief legal officer, at a gathering of editors at the company’s headquarters this week. "Explosive economic growth that came to tech hubs, such as Seattle and Northern California, put major strain on the cities’ infrastructure, such as education, transportation, and in particular, housing."

  • "We recognize that jobs came but housing wasn’t built for the people who started to fill them," Smith added. "It’s forced out of the community the school teacher, the nurses, the first responders, many of the people who work at tech companies themselves. What it’s required them to do is live farther away and spend more of their day commuting. It has undermined the health of the communities in which our companies are prospering."

Go deeper

Updated 29 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas — Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements.
  3. Politics: Joint Chiefs chair Gen. Mark Milley tests positive for COVID-19 — Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health."
  4. Economy: Report: World's 10 richest men doubled wealth during pandemicAmerica's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic.
  5. States: America struggles to keep schools open — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers.
  6. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — French parliament passes COVID vaccine passport legislation.
  7. Variant tracker

Joint Chiefs chair Gen. Mark Milley tests positive for COVID-19

Photo: Olivier Douliery - Pool/Getty Images

Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday.

State of play: Joint Staff spokesperson Col. Dave Butler said in a statement that Milley — who is fully vaccinated and has received a booster shot — is experiencing "very minor symptoms" and is "working remotely and isolating himself."

Momentum builds to ban lawmakers from trading stocks

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Some progressive Democrats and MAGA Republicans are uniting on a proposal to ban sitting lawmakers from trading individual stocks, although it's unlikely that leadership will bring the bill up for a vote.

Why it matters: Members of Congress have great power to move stock prices, and great financial incentives to do so.