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.

All politics & policy stories

Rebecca Falconer
36 mins ago - World

Canadian Indigenous group finds 93 suspected unmarked graves

A makeshift memorial honoring the 215 children whose remains were found in a mass grave in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, last May. Photo: Cole Burston/AFP via Getty Images

Indigenous leaders in Canada's western province of British Columbia said Tuesday they believe they've found 93 unmarked graves near a former boarding school.

The big picture: Hundreds of mass graves have been found at the grounds of former residential schools for Indigenous children since last May, when the remains of 215 children were uncovered at one such site in B.C.

Progressive group tailors focus to up midterm odds

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Data: Justice Democrats; Chart: Axios Visuals

The progressive group that helped Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stage her improbable 2018 win is narrowing its focus as it tries to elect more Democrats to pass the remaining progressive elements of President Biden's agenda.

Why it matters: The entire landscape for Justice Democrats has changed during the past two weeks.

Ohio Senate candidates attack ‘RINO’ gov in bid for Trump endorsement

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine. Photo: Justin Merriman/Getty Images

Bashing Republican Gov. Mike DeWine for his work to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 has become a litmus test for Republican Senate candidates in Ohio vying for Donald Trump's endorsement.

Why it matters: The intra-party attacks underscore how opposition to masking and COVID mandates has snowballed into a powerful political force, not just at the federal level but also in state races.

Scoop: Race to lead NRCC kicks off

Reps. Darin LaHood (left) and Richard Hudson. Photos: Al Drago/Getty Images (LaHood) and Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Reps. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) and Darin LaHood (R-Ill.) are both telling colleagues they plan to run for chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee for the 2024 cycle, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are confident they'll win the House majority back this fall, and the early jockeying to lead the caucus' fundraising apparatus is just another indicator of their optimism.

Scoop: White House plans expedited resettlement for Afghan refugees

Afghan Special Immigrant Visa holders enter a processing center at Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar, last August. Photo: Sgt. Jimmie Baker/U.S. Army via Getty Images

President Biden's advisers are crafting a plan to accelerate bringing potentially thousands of Afghans to the U.S. from Qatar, according to a source with direct knowledge of the administration's internal deliberations on the subject.

Why it matters: As U.S. military leaders plan for a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine, the administration is still struggling to handle the aftereffects of its chaotic Afghanistan withdrawal. One challenge: how to care for tens of thousands of displaced Afghans — many of whom helped the U.S. fight its longest war.

Federal prosecutors looking into fake 2020 electoral certificates

Lisa Monaco in Nov. 2021. Photo: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Federal prosecutors are looking into fake Electoral College certificates from 2020 that declared former President Trump the winner in states that President Biden actually won, deputy attorney general Lisa Monaco told CNN in an interview.

Catch up fast: In the weeks following the 2020 election, Trump allies in Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Nevada and New Mexico sent fake electoral certificates to the National Archives, according to CNN.

Pelosi announces bid for re-election ahead of 2022 midterms

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced her bid for re-election Tuesday, amid a deluge of other safe-seat Democrats announcing their retirements.

Why it matters: Pelosi’s announcement follows months of speculation — despite her denials — that she was preparing to leave Congress.

Apple granted restraining order against alleged Tim Cook stalker

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

A Santa Clara, California court granted Apple a restraining order against a Virginia woman who allegedly harassed and stalked the company's CEO, Tim Cook, for more than a year, the Mercury News reports.

Driving the news: The company accused the woman of "erratic, threatening, and bizarre behavior" in its application for the court order, adding that she "may be armed" and "intends to return to" Cook's residence, per the Mercury News.

Cuellar says he's running for reelection amid federal probe

Rep. Henry Cuellar talks with reporters in the Capitol after a House Democrats meeting on June 27, 2019. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) said Tuesday he intends to run and win reelection amid a federal investigation into his activities.

Why it matters: The FBI said it conducted a "court-authorized" search in the area of Cuellar's Texas home last week. It's unclear why they are investigating Cuellar, but the raid could spell trouble for the moderate Democrat, who is a top target of progressives and faced a tough primary challenge in 2020, the Texas Tribune writes.

9 hours ago - Health

Health cost regulator reprimands dominant Mass. hospital system

Massachusetts General Hospital, the system's flagship hospital. Photo: Blake Nissen for The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Mass General Brigham must submit a plan to lower rising costs that stem from the hospital system's expensive care, the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission said today.

Why it matters: This commission is viewed as a potential template for other states to regulate rising hospital and physician spending. This is the first time the agency has taken action on a hospital system to temper costs.

Democratic retirements spark worry over holding House majority

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Data: House Press Gallery; Table: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) is the latest lawmaker to announce that he will not seek re-election this year, bringing the total number of Democratic retirements to 29, compared with 14 Republicans.

Why it matters: The increasing number of Democratic retirements — put against the backdrop of President Biden's sagging approval ratings and uncertainty about redistricting — is adding to concerns the party may not be able to keep its slim majority in the House.

Biden needs to do more for Latinos, civil rights groups say

President Joe Biden. Photo: Shawn Thew/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Some of the nation’s most prominent civil rights organizations are urging President Biden to do more for Latinos.

Why it matters: Even though Latinos supported Biden over Donald Trump in 2020, Republicans made significant inroads, putting Democrats on notice. Latinos will be about 1 in 8 eligible voters in 2024 and are an increasingly growing voting demographic that Democrats will have to fight harder for.

Biden: There won't be "American forces moving into Ukraine"

President Joe Biden told reporters Tuesday that he does not foresee U.S. troops moving into Ukraine.

Why it matters: Biden's comments come as tensions between Russia and Ukraine persist, and a Russian invasion of Ukraine appears increasingly likely.

Capitol officer Eugene Goodman: Jan. 6 could've "been a bloodbath"

Photo: Brandon Bell-Pool/Getty Images

Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman said the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. capitol could've "easily been a bloodbath" in his first interview since the insurrection.

The big picture: Goodman has received widespread praise for leading the mob away from members of Congress during the riot. Footage of the siege, released last year, showed the police officer directing Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) to safety.

Oath Keepers members plead not guilty to seditious conspiracy

Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Photo: Brent Stirton/Getty Images

Ten Oath Keepers, including the group's founder and leader, pleaded not guilty to seditious conspiracy Tuesday in connection with their actions during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, CNN reports.

Driving the news: Stewart Rhodes, a founder and leader of the far-right militia, entered the plea Tuesday during a virtual hearing before D.C. District Judge Amit Mehta.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden calls Fox News reporter after insulting him on hot mic

President Biden blasted Fox News' Peter Doocy on Monday after the reporter asked if the nation's soaring inflation is a political liability, saying, "what a stupid son of a b----h."

The latest: The president called the Fox reporter Monday evening and "conveyed" that "it was nothing personal," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments — Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Biden admin withdraws temporary vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers — New York Supreme Court strikes down Gov. Hochul's mask mandate for public areas — Sarah Palin tests positive, delaying defamation trial — Virginia school boards sue Gov. Youngkin for lifting mask mandate.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker

Biden admin withdraws temporary vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Tuesday that it is withdrawing the Biden administration's temporary COVID-19 vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

The big picture: OSHA said it made the decision to withdraw the mandate following the Supreme Court's decision blocking the rule.

Alex Jones says he met with Jan. 6 committee, pled the fifth repeatedly

Alex Jones is seen inside the Georgia State Capitol during a "Stop the Steal" rally against the results of the U.S. Presidential election on Nov. 18, 2020. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

InfoWars host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones met with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot on Monday, Jones revealed during his broadcast that night.

The big picture: During his conversation with the committee Jones pled the fifth multiple times, Politico reported. The committee had previously said Jones facilitated a donation to cover what he described as 80% of funding for the rally.

The SAT is going digital

A practice SAT. Photo: Alex Garcia/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The College Board announced Tuesday that the SAT will be delivered digitally in the U.S. in 2024.

Why it matters: The College Board said it's seeking to make the SAT "more relevant," as some colleges start to ditch the college admissions exam altogether.

Appeals court reinstates absentee drop boxes for Wisconsin primary

An official ballot drop box outside the Tippecanoe branch library on Oct. 20, 2020, in Milwaukee. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

A Wisconsin appeals court on Monday reinstated absentee ballot drop boxes for the state's February primary, after a lower court ruled that boxes could not be used in the state.

Yes, but: The appeals court decision is only in effect for the Feb. 15 election.

America can't quit polarizing politicians

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Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

New data finds that the nation's most polarizing politicians are often the ones that garner the most attention online.

Why it matters: Online engagement helps politicians build a bigger national profile and more fundraising power, incentivizing them to be more outrageous, more polarizing and more divisive.

Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbers

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Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Two new Biden administration initiatives — mailing at-home COVID-19 tests to those who ask and making free N95 masks available — are hugely popular, each backed by 84% of Americans in the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Yes, but: Those who may need these most — the unvaccinated — are less likely to take advantage of the offerings, the survey found. And neither has boosted President Biden's numbers so far, meaning it's too little too late, or too soon to see a change.

Alabama's new congressional map rejected by federal judges

The Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery. Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Federal judges on Monday night blocked Alabama's newly drawn congressional map and ordered the Republican-led State Legislature to create a new one that includes two districts, rather than the planned one.

Why it matters: "Black voters have less opportunity than other Alabamians to elect candidates of their choice to Congress," the panel of three judges wrote in their ruling.

Jan 25, 2022 - Sports

Australian Open organizers reverse "Where is Peng Shuai?" T-shirt ban

Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai during the 2020 Australian Open in Melbourne. Photo: Bai Xue/Xinhua via Getty Images

Australian Open organizers on Tuesday reversed a ban on T-shirts supporting Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai following widespread criticism.

Why it matters: Tennis Australia's announcement came less than 24 hours after the governing body defended the decision to ask fans last Friday to remove "Where is Peng Shuai?" T-shirts, citing a ticket policy prohibiting political clothing, per the BBC.

Jan 25, 2022 - Health

FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly COVID antibody treatments

A coldbox containing monoclonal antibody treatments at a Regeneron clinic in Pembroke Pines, Fla., in August. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The FDA said Monday it's limiting the use of two monoclonal antibody therapies as COVID-19 treatments because data indicates they're "highly unlikely" to be effective against the dominant Omicron variant.

Driving the news: The FDA revised the authorizations for Regeneron and Eli Lilly "to limit their use to only when the patient is likely to have been infected with or exposed to a variant that is susceptible to these treatments," per a statement from the agency.

Updated Jan 25, 2022 - Health

N.Y. Supreme Court strikes down state's mask mandate for public areas

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks during a news conference in Albany, N.Y., on Jan. 24. Photo: Angus Mordant/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The New York State Department of Education (NYSED) issued a statement Monday telling schools to continue following Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul's mask mandate after a state Supreme Court judge struck down the rule.

Why it matters: The agency pointed to a case in Albany County where a state Supreme Court judge denied a challenge from two school districts, ruling that Hochul and the state's health commissioner have the authority to enact a mask mandate in schools.

Mike Pompeo shells out for media makeover

Via "Fox News Sunday"

Mike Pompeo's political action committee spent $30,000 on media training from last March to June — the most on any service beyond payroll during the first six months of 2021.

Why it matters: The former secretary of State hasn't just been losing weight but working to hone his media skills amid speculation about a possible presidential run, records show.

How much the U.S. has spent on aid to Ukraine

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Data: ForeignAssistance.gov; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

The United States has committed an increasing amount of foreign assistance to Ukraine over the years — with no other European or Eurasian nation receiving more since 2015, according to data from ForeignAssistance.gov.

The big picture: When it comes to military support in particular, the U.S. committed to more than $600 million just last year — and more than $2.7 billion since 2014. With the current threat from Russia, Ukraine — and Congress — are now pushing for more.

Jan 25, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan infrastructure group takes on election reform

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The bipartisan group focused on updating the Electoral Count Act of 1887 is seizing on this recess period to court senators more freely.

Why it matters: The group is led by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and includes many members who helped reach the bipartisan infrastructure deal. They see themselves as the only hope of creating an election reform package able to muster 60 votes in the Senate.

Jan 25, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Businesses brace for April tax bill as BBB stalls

Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

With President Biden's Build Back Better legislation on ice, business groups are preparing to change course and use the China competitiveness bill to try to preserve some of their cherished research-and-development tax deductions.

Why it matters: By eying the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) to extend the R&D deductions, companies like Amazon, Microsoft and Boeing are hoping to avoid an estimated $8 billion bill in mid-April.

House ethics panel investigates Rep. Marie Newman for alleged bribery

Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

The Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) said Monday there is "substantial reason to believe" that Rep. Marie Newman (D-Ill.) offered a job to a potential primary opponent to keep him from running in 2020.

Driving the news: Newman is alleged to have "promised federal employment to a primary opponent for the purpose of procuring political support" and if proved, she may have federal law and House rules. Newman strongly denies the allegations.

Rep. Lamborn may have misused official resources, ethics panel alleges

Rep. Doug Lamborn departs from a news conference held by the House Republican Israel Caucus on May 19, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Congressional ethics investigators said Monday there is "substantial reason" to believe that Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) misused official resources and solicited or accepted improper gifts from subordinates.

Driving the news: Lamborn's aides told investigators they were often asked to run personal errands for his wife, Jeanie Lamborn, and were at one point tasked with helping his son apply for a federal position, according to the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). Lamborn strongly denies the allegations.

Congressional Democrats request classified briefing on Ukraine

Photo: Angus Mordant/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday separately called for classified briefings on the brewing crisis between Russia and Ukraine.

Why it matters: The move comes as tensions between the two nations continue unabated and a Russian invasion appears increasingly likely.

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