Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

House Speaker Paul Ryan pledged Wednesday to pass a "strong, bold" Russia sanctions bill, referring to himself as "a Russia hawk," per the AP.

Context: A sanctions bill passed the Senate by a 97-2 vote, but Democrats are accusing House Republicans of stalling, per Reuters. Ryan said a procedural issue is causing the holdup.

Why it matters: Axios' Jonathan Swan reports that the White House is racing to stop Congress from sending the bill to Trump's desk. Legislative Director Marc Short says the bill "greatly hampers the executive branch's diplomatic efforts," and CIA Director Mike Pompeo told Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy the bill would affect his "ability to do his work and his job, a few elements of it."

The Dem stance: Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said delays make it look as though House leaders are "in protective mode" for the White House.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Coronavirus surge is sinking consumer confidence

Data: Hamilton Place Strategies, CivicScience; Chart: Axios Visuals

The rise in coronavirus cases in certain parts of the U.S. is stunting confidence across the country, a crop of new reports show.

Driving the news: After stalling during the previous two-week period, overall economic sentiment declined for the first time in two months, according to the Economic Sentiment Index, a biweekly survey from data firm CivicScience and Hamilton Place Strategies (HPS).

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Obama: Trump is "jealous of COVID's media coverage."
  2. Health: Mask mandates help control the rise in coronavirus hospitalizations. Hospitals face a crush.
  3. Business: Coronavirus testing is a windfall. Winter threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. World: Putin mandates face masks.

The GOP's monstrous math problem

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Republicans, win or lose next week, face a big — and growing — math problem.

The state of play: They're relying almost exclusively on a shrinking demographic (white men), living in shrinking areas (small, rural towns), creating a reliance on people with shrinking incomes (white workers without college degrees) to survive.