Sunday's politics & policy stories

Virginia will remove pedestal of former Robert E. Lee statue, governor says

Empty pedestal of where the statue of Robert E. Lee used to stand on Sept. 8 in Richmond, Va. Photo: Eze Amos/Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Sunday plans to remove the remaining pedestal that previously propped up Richmond's Robert E. Lee statue and turn the land over to the city.

Why it matters: This marks a final step in the complete removal of the public memorial to the confederate general, following the statue's removal in September.

First look: Facing GOP challenge, immigration groups merge

A U.S. naturalization ceremony. Photo: Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

Two leading immigration groups — the New American Economy and the American Immigration Council — are merging, in part, to prepare for a potential Republican takeover of Congress, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Immigration has increasingly become a central U.S. political issue. Pro-immigrant groups have gained influence in recent years through their advocacy and litigation — especially during the Trump era. A possible return to legislative power by the GOP would require more clout, the two groups say.

Vulnerable Democrats: Less Trump talk

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Vulnerable House Democrats are convinced they need to talk less about the man who helped them get elected: President Trump.

Why it matters: Democrats are privately concerned nationalizing the 2022 mid-terms with emotionally-charged issues — from Critical Race Theory to Donald Trump's role in the Jan. 6 insurrection — will hamstring their ability to sell the local benefits of President Biden's Build Back Better agenda.

The U.S. isn’t alone: Over 35 countries hit with inflation

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Data: OECD, reproduced from Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals

Inflation in the U.S. has risen during the past two years at the third-fastest rate out of 46 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and other economically significant countries.

The big picture: Rising prices aren’t just a problem in the United States. Thirty-nine of the countries analyzed by the Pew Research Center saw inflation increase between the third quarter of 2019 and the third quarter of this year.

Biden's Cabbage Patch offensive

President Biden speaks about the nation's supply-chain issues. Photo: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In the final weeks of the 2021 holiday shopping season, President Biden has mounted a Cabbage Patch offensive — trying to diminish Americans' anxiety about pandemic shortages and price spikes by recalling past runs on toys.

Driving the news: "There are items every year that sell out, that are hard to find," he said Wednesday at the White House.

Updated Dec 5, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan tributes flood in for "giant of the Senate" Bob Dole

Then-Vice President Joe Biden and former Sen. Bob Dole at an event put on by the World Food Program at which he was awarded the first “McGovern-Dole Leadership Award” in December 2013. Photo: Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call

Republican and Democratic politicians, including former Senate colleagues, are sharing condolences and memories commemorating the life of Bob Dole, who passed away at 98 on Sunday morning.

The big picture: Dole, the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, was the longest-serving Republican leader in the Senate until 2018, when current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell surpassed his record.

Space Force leader: China poses "tremendous threat" to U.S. galactic domination

Screenshot: "Fox News Sunday."

The second-in-command of U.S. Space Force warned Sunday the U.S. must adapt its approach to space development to counteract the "tremendous threat" posed by China.

Why it matters: Gen. David Thompson's remarks on "Fox News Sunday" underscore mounting concerns China may soon have the advantage in space, with the country already possessing a "full sweep of cyber capabilities."

Former Sen. David Perdue to launch bid for Georgia governor

Photo: Megan Varner/Getty Images

Former Senator David Perdue plans to announce a primary challenge against Georgia's incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp on Monday, according to a source familiar with Perdue's thinking.

Why it matters: Perdue's challenge to his former ally Kemp sets up an unprecedented "scorched earth" battle between Georgia Republicans fueled by former President Donald Trump, in the battleground state. The news was first reported by Politico.

Michigan AG offers to investigate school district's actions ahead of shooting

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. Photo: Mandi Wright/Detroit Free Press/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Sunday her office has offered to conduct an independent review of the Oxford school district's actions in the lead up to last week's high school shooting in which four were killed and seven others were injured.

The latest: The owner of the studio where the parents of the alleged shooter had stayed overnight before being taken into custody is cooperating with authorities, and claims to have had no knowledge of their overnight stay or the charges against the couple, AP reported.

GOP senator on abortion: "It's time to turn it back to the states"

Mike Braun. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

GOP Sen. Mike Braun said on Sunday that given the difficulty of achieving political consensus on the issue of abortion, it should be left up to the states to decide.

Why it matters: As the Supreme Court considers a Mississippi abortion law that could allow for the reversal of Roe v. Wade, the landscape of abortion access across the U.S. stands to change drastically.

Former Sen. Bob Dole dies

Former Sen. Bob Dole in 2019. Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

Former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole passed away Sunday morning at the age of 98, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation announced in a statement.

Driving the news: Dole, a revered figure in U.S. politics and the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, served in the Senate for 27 years, including 11 years as GOP leader. Earlier this year he revealed he had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.

Omar: Confident Pelosi will take "decisive action" against Boebert

Screenshot: CNN's "State of the Union."

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) on Sunday said that she is confident that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will take "decisive action" this week against Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) for her incendiary comments.

Why it matters: House Democrats have increasingly taken it upon themselves to dole out discipline to Republican members for inflammatory and offensive rhetoric this year, per Axios' Andrew Solender.

Fauci: U.S. reevaluating African travel restrictions "daily"

Screenshot: CNN's "State of the Union."

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Sunday that the United States is reevaluating the travel restrictions from south African countries "on a daily basis."

Why it matters: Last week, the World Health Organization called on countries not to impose such travel bans in the wake of the Omicron variant, saying the restrictions "place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods."

Native Americans are under-represented in movies and TV, report says

Lil Mike and Funny Bone perform at the after party for the premiere of FX Network's "Reservation Dogs" in Hollywood, California. Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Native Americans' representation in mainstream movies has barely improved over the past 30 years.

Why it matters: Since the death of George Floyd, Black and Latino advocates have pressured Hollywood and streaming services to diversify their projects with more actors and directors of color — yet Native Americans have largely been absent.