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Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) and Executive Editor Mike Allen. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios

Thursday morning, Axios Executive Editor Mike Allen kicked off this year's first News Shapers event, hosting a series of legislative leaders for a look into Congress' plans for 2019.

Why it matters: Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) touched on everything from the Green New Deal and health care to infrastructure and President Trump.

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Executive Editor Mike Allen. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios
  • The shutdown: "I would have preferred we not had the shutdown."
  • Legislation preventing future shutdowns: "At a minimum, if someone is deemed essential they should be paid while on the job."
  • The Green New Deal: It would cripple our economy to get rid of fossil fuels in 10 years. Everyone ought to know about it and we all ought to vote on it.
  • The reintroduction of the Born Alive Act, which gives legal protection to infants born after a failed abortion attempt: "This will be the signature pro-life issue of this year ... you will see the full focus of the pro-life community coming behind this bill.

Go deeper: Steve Scalise: Green New Deal "would cripple our economy"

Democratic Policy and Communications Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow
Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios
  • The Green New Deal: “I support the goals as it relates to climate change. I think some of the wording is of concern because it leaves things wide open and allows folks opposing it to say it mandates the government provide everybody a job, which is not true.”
  • Medicare at 50: “This can be done now while people are debating what should happen as far as larger structural changes.”
  • Trump's 2020 chances in Michigan: He won by 10,000 votes in 2016 and there were a lot of folks who decided not to vote or voted 3rd party. "Because of the chaos and instability in the country ... people are going to be much more engaged in this election."
House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY). Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios
  • What can be done between House Democrats and Trump: “Reducing the high price of life-saving prescription drugs.”
  • The Green New Deal: "I think the Green New Deal is an important addition to what is needed as it relates to a robust discussion about doing something meaningful about climate change."
  • Goals for this Congress: "If we can do something bipartisan on criminal justice reform, seems to me we should be able to do something on health care ... and infrastructure."

Thank you Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”