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Pence addresses troops based in Jordan. Photo: screengrab via MSNBC

Vice President Mike Pence, currently on a Middle East tour, praised President Trump effusively in a notably partisan speech to troops in Jordan. He also issued blame over the government shutdown:

"I'm sure you're all aware of what's going on in Washington D.C. Despite bipartisan support for a budget resolution, a minority in the Senate has decided to play politics with military pay. But you deserve better.... so know this: your president, your vice president and the American people are not going to put up with it. We're going to demand that they re-open the government, in fact we're not going to re-open negotiations on illegal immigration until they re-open the government..."

Worth noting: Addresses to the troops in the Trump administration have consistently been overtly political, something that used to be unusual.

Go deeper

Biden condemns Russian aggression on 7th anniversary of Crimea annexation

Putin giving a speech in Sevastapol, Crimea, in 2020. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

President Biden reaffirmed U.S. support for the people of Ukraine and vowed to hold Russia accountable for its aggression in a statement on Friday, the 7th anniversary of Russia's 2014 invasion of Crimea.

Why it matters: The statement reflects the aggressive approach Biden is taking to Russia, which he classified on the campaign trail as an "opponent" and "the biggest threat" to U.S. security and alliances.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

What's really going on with the labor market

Source: YCharts

The labor market is showing some signs of improvement: Jobless claims fell to 730,000 — a dramatic drop from 841,000 the previous week. And the latest jobs report showed a pandemic-era low unemployment rate of 6.3%

But, but, but: That's not the full story, experts say.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Markets see rare convergence milestone

Expand chart
Data: YCharts; Chart: Axios Visuals

A milestone was reached in the markets Thursday: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to match the dividend yield on the S&P 500

Why it matters: The two yields have been inverted since the beginning of last year, which is historically unusual.