Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sen. Mike Lee. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

GOP Sen. Mike Lee (Utah) on Thursday blocked legislation to establish a National Museum of the American Latino and American Women's History Museum as part of the Smithsonian Institution.

Why it matters: The Smithsonian Institution operates more than a dozen museums and galleries, but none are dedicated to the contributions and history of Latino Americans and women.

  • The legislation had bipartisan support, and Lee's objections were immediately criticized by senators on both sides of the aisle.

What he's saying: "I understand what my colleagues are trying to do and I respect what they're trying to do. ... But the last thing we need is to further divide an already divided nation with an array of segregated, separate-but-equal museums for hyphenated identity groups," Lee said from the Senate floor.

  • "At this moment in the history of our diverse nation, we need our federal government and the Smithsonian Institution itself to pull us closer together and not further apart."
  • "American history is an inclusive story that should unite us."
  • Of note: The Smithsonian Institution includes the National Museum of African American History and Culture the National Museum of the American Indian.

Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) immediately slammed Lee for his objection to the legislation.

  • "The House of Representatives passed this on voice. The Rules Committee passed it on voice in a bipartisan manner. And tonight, one colleague stands in the way," Menendez said, adding that Lee's move was "outrageous."
  • "One Republican colleague from Utah stands in the way of the hopes and dreams and aspirations of seeing Americans of Latino descent having their dreams fulfilled and being recognized," he added.
  • Collins said that "surely in a year where we're celebrating the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage, this is the time, this is the moment to finally pass the legislation unanimously recommended by an independent commission to establish an American Women's History museum in our nation's capital."
  • "I regret that that will not occur this evening, but we will not give up the fight," she added.

Worth noting: A task force issued a report in 1994 that said the Smithsonian Institution "almost entirely excludes and ignores Latinos in nearly every aspect of its operations," per the New York Times.

Go deeper

Updated Dec 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Congress passes massive coronavirus relief and government spending package

Photo: Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images

The House and Senate passed a $900 billion coronavirus relief bill and a $1.4 trillion government funding measure Monday night after months of gridlock on Capitol Hill.

Why it matters: The bill’s passage comes before many of the existing coronavirus relief measures were set to expire on January 1. It also staves off a government shutdown.

49 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Stalemate over filibuster freezes Congress

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell's inability to quickly strike a deal on a power-sharing agreement in the new 50-50 Congress is slowing down everything from the confirmation of President Biden's nominees to Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Why it matters: Whatever final stance Schumer takes on the stalemate, which largely comes down to Democrats wanting to use the legislative filibuster as leverage over Republicans, will be a signal of the level of hardball we should expect Democrats to play with Republicans in the new Senate.

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Biden opts for five-year extension of New START nuclear treaty with Russia

Putin at a military parade. Photo: Valya Egorshin/NurPhoto via Getty

President Biden will seek a five-year extension of the New START nuclear arms control pact with Russia before it expires on Feb. 5, senior officials told the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The 2010 treaty is the last remaining constraint on the arsenals of the world's two nuclear superpowers, limiting the number of deployed nuclear warheads and the bombers, missiles and submarines which can deliver them.