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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

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's carbon emissions-cutting pledge faces tough climb

Image from the Rhodium Group study "Pathways to Paris." Courtesy of the Rhodium Group.

The verdict is in: President Biden's U.S. emissions-cutting pledge isn't a fantasy, but the path to meeting it is very difficult and relies on forces outside of White House control.

Driving the news: The Rhodium Group just released an analysis of policy combinations that could close the gap between the current U.S. trajectory and Biden's vow under the Paris Agreement to cut emissions in half by 2030.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Updated 6 mins ago - Economy & Business

Johnson & Johnson pulls the trigger on Texas talc gambit

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It's official: Johnson & Johnson has invoked a Texas legal loophole in an attempt to protect the bulk of its corporate assets from claims that its baby powder caused ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.

Why it matters: It's the biggest and boldest invocation yet of the so-called Texas two-step defense. But it's still not clear whether it's going to work.

Poll: U.S. leadership approval rebounds from Trump low

A Gallup report published Tuesday found approval of United States leadership in 46 countries and territories hit 49% — up from 30% at the end of Donald Trump's presidency, and matching former President Obama's first year (2009).

Why it matters: Biden's efforts to reengage with the international community following the Trump administration appear to be improving the global approval ratings for U.S. leadership, though this poll does not take into account the withdrawal from Afghanistan in August.