Politics & Policy

Why it matters: President Biden has made the COVID-19 crisis and a post-Trump return to national unity and traditional democratic ideals his top priorities. From vaccinations to stimulus to schools, Biden is seeking bipartisan compromise while showing a willingness to use executive authority and bare Democratic majorities in the U.S. House and Senate to implement his policies. Republican leaders are navigating deep party divisions over if and how to move beyond former President Trump.

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Updated 2 hours ago - World

North and South Korea restart hotline and pledge to improve ties

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang, North Korea, in 2018. Photo: Pyeongyang Press Corps/Pool/Getty Images

North and South Korea's leaders have pledged to improve relations and resume previously suspended communication channels between the two countries.

Why it matters: The resumption of the hotline on Tuesday comes despite stalled negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang on the denuclearization of North Korea, which broke down after a second summit between then-President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ended without a deal in 2019.

Trump endorses Ken Paxton for Texas AG over George P. Bush

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and President Trump in Dallas, Texas, in June 2020. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump endorsed Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for re-election in 2022 on Monday.

Why it matters: It's a blow for Texas land commissioner George P. Bush, the last of the Bush family still in office. In announcing his campaign for attorney general last month, Bush issued a scathing attack on Paxton, who is under investigation by the FBI and facing securities fraud charges.

5 hours ago - Health

Scoop: Pelosi’s new COVID plans

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi enters the Rose Garden on Monday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is expected to extend proxy voting through the fall — and potentially until the end of the year — Democratic lawmakers and aides tell Axios.

Why it matters: The spread of the Delta variant has alarmed both members and staffers anxious about interacting with the unvaccinated. Pelosi’s anticipated move — continuing an emergency COVID-19 measure enacted last year so lawmakers could vote remotely — is aimed at allaying those concerns.

Jan. 6 panel to show graphic footage

A rioter hangs from the balcony in the Senate Chamber on Jan. 6. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Jan. 6 select committee will paint a haunting picture of what unfolded during the attack on the Capitol during its first public hearing on Tuesday, Axios is told.

Why it matters: The nine-member panel will not only hear from four police officers on the grounds that day, but show graphic video footage similar to the chilling 13-minute video Democrats aired during Donald Trump's second impeachment trial.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Infrastructure's do-or-die moment

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

A host of new problems emerged Monday morning threatening whether the Group of 10 can actually make this "infrastructure week" after all.

Why it matters: This is the bill's do-or-die moment.

A political bogeyman of Silicon Valley

Peter Thiel. Photo: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tech billionaire Peter Thiel is injecting huge sums into some crucial 2022 midterm contests — and drawing fire from Republicans eager to tie their rivals to the GOP's Silicon Valley bogeymen.

Why it matters: Whether he's backing a candidate or being attacked by one, Thiel embodies the present GOP zeitgeist. His brand of nationalist conservatism mimics the party's Trump-era shift. Yet the fortune he's using to bankroll like-minded candidates derives from an industry reviled by much of that base.

House rejects GOP effort to seat McCarthy's choices for Jan. 6 select panel

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy during a January press conference at the U.S. Capitol. Photo: Win McNamee via Getty Images

The House on Monday voted 218-197 to defeat Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's attempt to seat his preferred members for the Jan. 6 select committee.

Why it matters: Speaker Nancy Pelosi has vetoed two of the five Republicans McCarthy named to the panel, citing their vote against the certification of the 2020 election. McCarthy has since threatened to launch a parallel GOP investigation if she does not allow his picks.

Last victim identified in Surfside condo collapse

A woman cries as she visits a makeshift memorial where the partially collapsed Champlain Towers South building stood in Surfside, Florida. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

The last victim of the June 24 condominium collapse in Surfside, Fla., has been identified, a relative confirmed Monday to the Associated Press.

The latest: Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava confirmed at a press conference Monday afternoon that 98 people died in the condo collapse, and all have been identified.

8 hours ago - World

Biden: U.S. combat mission in Iraq will end this year

Biden returning to the White House on July 25. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The United States' combat mission against the Islamic State in Iraq will be completed "by the end of the year," President Biden said Monday prior to a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

Why it matters: Biden is close to shifting the U.S. military mission in Iraq to a fully advisory role more than 18 years after combat troops were sent to the country under the former President George W. Bush.

Trump ally Tom Barrack pleads not guilty to illegal lobbying

Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Trump inauguration chair Tom Barrack has pleaded not guilty to charges of acting as an unregistered foreign agent for the United Arab Emirates (UAE), ABC News reports.

Why it matters: Barrack is accused of using his connection to Trump to advance UAE interests during the former president's campaign in 2016 and when later informally advising the administration on foreign policy positions.

VA first federal agency to require COVID vaccines for employees

A medical doctor gives the thumbs-up sign to a COVID-19 patient who is no longer using a respirator at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in New York City. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

The Department of Veterans Affairs said Monday it would require its frontline health care workers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus within the next two months, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The VA is the first federal agency to mandate that employees receive the vaccine. The decision comes as cases of the Delta variant in the U.S. have increased dramatically.

U.S. COVID-19 travel restrictions to remain in place as Delta variant spreads

Photo: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The U.S. will not lift travel restrictions amid concerns about the highly transmissible Delta variant and a surge in coronavirus cases, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.

Why it matters: Since last year, the U.S. has barred entry for most noncitizens who have been in the United Kingdom, the 26 Schengen nations in Europe without border controls, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil within 14 days of arrival.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Benefits of J&J COVID-19 vaccine outweigh risks, per CDC data — Why vaccinated America can't turn its back on unvaccinated America.
  2. Health: A reality check on the GOP's push for coronavirus antibody testing — NYC to require COVID vaccination or weekly testing for city workers — Over 50 medical groups call for mandatory vaccinations for health care workers — Savannah reimposes indoor mask mandate.
  3. Politics: Biden: Americans with long-COVID symptoms may qualify for disability resources — Prominent Republicans find new enthusiasm for COVID-19 vaccines — GOP Rep. Clay Higgins says he has COVID for second time.
  4. Sports: Golfer Bryson DeChambeau will miss Olympics after testing positive for COVID— NFL raises vaccine pressure
  5. World: Israel to require vaccine certificates to attend social events.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Americans with long-COVID symptoms may qualify for disability resources

President Biden speaking in Arlington, Virginia, on July 23. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Americans experiencing long-term symptoms of COVID-19 may qualify for federal disability resources and must receive accommodations, the White House announced Monday.

Driving the news: The Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services released new guidance that categorizes "long COVID" as a physical or mental impairment, entitling people with the illness to discrimination protections under the American Disabilities Act.

Biden names slate of U.S. attorney picks including historic firsts

Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden announced Monday his nominees for eight U.S. attorney positions across the country, including the office that will oversee the prosecutions of many charged in the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Why it matters: The nominations would include many historic firsts, if confirmed by the Senate, including the first Black or female attorneys to lead their respective districts. The candidates would fill vacant positions in the District of Columbia, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and the state of Washington.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
16 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Insurance brokers Aon and Willis Towers Watson end $34 billion merger amid DOJ suit

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Antitrust regulators are feeling their oats, after years of being viewed as little more than speedbumps on the path toward corporate consolidation.

Driving the news: Insurance brokers Aon (NYSE: AON) and Willis Towers Watson (Nasdaq: WLTW) this morning terminated their $34 billion merger agreement, just five weeks after the U.S. Department of Justice sued to block the deal.

Updated 16 hours ago - Politics & Policy

UN: Civilian casualties in Afghanistan hit record high amid U.S troop withdrawal

Afghan security force members inspect the site of an explosion in Kabul. Photo: Sayed Mominzadah/Xinhua via Getty Images

Civilian casualties in Afghanistan have hit record highs amid the U.S. troop withdrawal from the country, the UN said in a report released Monday.

Why it matters: The report, which documented more than 1,650 civilians deaths in the first half of 2021, provides a "clear warning" that an unprecedented number of Afghan civilians "will perish and be maimed this year if the increasing violence is not stemmed," Deborah Lyons, the secretary-general’s special representative for Afghanistan, said in a statement.

House Oversight panel demands interview with top Exxon lobbyist over climate

Rep. Ro Khanna, (D-Calif.), seen on Capitol Hill on April 4, 2019. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The House Committee on Oversight on Monday requested an interview with ExxonMobil senior lobbyist Keith McCoy regarding the company's efforts "to mislead the global public" and Congress about fossil fuels' role in causing global warming.

Why it matters: The request for a transcribed interview on Aug. 9, sent Monday, comes after McCoy was caught on camera discussing the company's lobbying tactics. This is the most serious congressional action to date related to the widely reported videos in which McCoy spoke candidly and under false pretenses with representatives of the environmental group GreenpeaceUK.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
19 hours ago - Health

A reality check on the GOP's push for coronavirus antibody testing

A health worker extracting blood from a patient for a coronavirus antibody test in Krakow, Poland, in April 2020. Photo: Omar Marques/Getty Images

When the GOP Doctors Caucus gathered to publicly encourage vaccines last week, the message came with a caveat: Talk to your doctor about an antibody test.

For example: "If you haven’t had the vaccine, or if you haven’t tested positive for the virus, go to your doctor. Ask him for the antibody test," said Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), who is an OB/GYN.

Mike Allen, author of AM
20 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Sneak peek: Biden to tout ADA's bipartisan roots

31 years ago today, President George H.W. Bush signs the ADA into law. Photo: Bettmann Archive

President Biden will highlight the bipartisan roots of the Americans with Disabilities Act when he holds a Rose Garden event Monday with Vice President Harris to mark the law's 31st anniversary.

What to watch: Biden, a co-sponsor of the bill as a senator, will say that the ADA was a Democratic bill signed into law by a Republican president, George H.W. Bush, who was surrounded by both Democrats and Republicans.

Mike Allen, author of AM
20 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Top Obama pollster warns left not to get greedy ahead of midterms

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Joel Benenson, who led polling for President Obama, tells me liberal Democrats are endangering the House majority in next year's midterms by trying to load too much onto President Biden's spending packages.

Why it matters: Benenson has years of data showing that the more lawmakers add to a massive piece of legislation, the less likely that swing voters will swallow it. And, as Benenson put it: "You gotta win the middle to win."

Mike Allen, author of AM
21 hours ago - Politics & Policy

First look: Don Jr., Ron DeSantis dominate poll of GOP frontrunners

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Data: Fabrizio, Lee & Associates. Margin of error: ±3.46%; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Don Jr. and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis top a poll — provided first to Axios — gauging the popularity of seven key GOP figures.

Between the lines: Don Jr. is the Trump child with the strongest connection to the base, and the most political promise should he ever decide to run. And the results reaffirm Ron DeSantis’ rise as an early 2024 front-runner should Trump decide not to run.

Updated 23 hours ago - Health

GOP Rep. Clay Higgins says he has COVID for second time

Rep. Clay Higgins during a 2019 House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) announced Sunday evening that he and his wife have contracted COVID-19 for a second time and "this episode is far more challenging."

Driving the news: "Becca and I had COVID before, early on, in January 2020, before the world really knew what it was," he wrote in a Facebook post, confirming his son also has the coronavirus — which he described as a "biological attack weaponized virus."

Updated Jul 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Civil rights activist Robert Moses dies at 86

Robert Parris Moses in 1964. Photo: Robert Elfstrom/Villon Films/Gety Images

Civil rights activist Robert Parris Moses, 86, who endured violence and jail time for leading Black voter registration drives in the 1960s, died Sunday at his home in Hollywood, Florida. No cause of death was given.

State of play: During the civil rights movement Moses worked to register thousands of Black voters in the South and helped train fledging activists and organizers, per the New York Times.

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