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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

Scoop: FDA chief called to West Wing

Stephen Hahn. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has summoned FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn to the West Wing for a 9:30am meeting Tuesday to explain why he hasn't moved faster to approve the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, two senior administration officials told Axios.

Why it matters: The meeting is shaping up to be tense, with Hahn using what the White House will likely view as kamikaze language in a preemptive statement to Axios: "Let me be clear — our career scientists have to make the decision and they will take the time that’s needed to make the right call on this important decision."

Scoop: Schumer's regrets

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images   

Chuck Schumer told party donors during recent calls that the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the fact that Cal Cunningham "couldn't keep his zipper up" crushed Democrats' chances of regaining the Senate, sources with direct knowledge of the conversations tell Axios.

Why it matters: Democrats are hoping for a 50-50 split by winning two upcoming special elections in Georgia. But their best chance for an outright Senate majority ended when Cunningham lost in North Carolina and Sen. Susan Collins won in Maine.

Trump's coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas resigns

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Scott Atlas, a controversial member of the White House coronavirus task force, handed in his resignation on Monday, according to three administration officials who discussed Atlas' resignation with Axios.

Why it matters: President Trump brought in Atlas as a counterpoint to NIAID director Anthony Fauci, whose warnings about the pandemic were dismissed by the Trump administration. With Trump now fixated on election fraud conspiracy theories, Atlas' detail comes to a natural end.