Policymaking

The big picture

The policies that could help fix policing

Cultural changes are needed, but policy can be a starting point.

Jun 5, 2020
The members of Congress departing in 2020

More Republicans than Democrats are exiting Congress in the lead up to the 2020 elections.

Updated Feb 26, 2020
Congress' partisan divide on paid family leave

Both parties like the idea but disagree on who should pay for it.

Nov 25, 2019
How many steps it takes to get an abortion in each state

State legislatures have tried to restrict abortion procedures since Roe v. Wade.

Updated Sep 19, 2019

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DOJ to send federal agents to St. Louis and Memphis

Attorney General Bill Barr. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

The Justice Department announced Thursday that it will send federal law enforcement agents to St. Louis, Mo., and Memphis, Tenn., to help stem violent crime.

Why it matters: The Trump administration's deployment expands its "Operation Legend" program as President Trump has blamed spikes of violence across the U.S. on activists' efforts to "dismantle and dissolve" local law enforcement. Democrats have accused Trump of targeting Democratic-run cities as part of his "law and order" messaging strategy following the police killing of George Floyd.

Pelosi rips GOP: "Perhaps you mistook them for somebody who gives a damn"

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tore into her Republican colleagues on Thursday for their approach to negotiating the next coronavirus stimulus package, telling CNBC's Jim Cramer: "Perhaps you mistook them for somebody who gives a damn."

Why it matters: Democrats and the Trump administration have not agreed to any "top-line numbers" and remain "trillions of dollars apart," White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters on Thursday.

Biden's clean energy push resonates in Senate battlegrounds

Data: Data for Progress; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Joe Biden's climate posture is a political winner in four states where Senate races and the presidential contest are competitive, per new polling from progressive think tank Data for Progress.

Why it matters: Biden has tethered the spending portion of his energy and climate platform to his wider economic response to the coronavirus pandemic, which could mean a quick push for legislative action if he wins.

Filibuster and Obama fossil fuel ties could slow Biden's climate ambitions

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Two new stories, taken together, highlight the political push-pull around Joe Biden's climate and energy plans.

Driving the news: Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that some left activists "want Biden to distance himself from former Obama administration advisers they view as either too moderate or too cozy with the fossil fuel industry."

Rand Paul: Republicans should apologize to Obama for complaining about spending

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) tore into his fellow Republicans on Fox News Wednesday for considering a coronavirus relief package that could cost more than $1 trillion, calling on them to apologize to President Obama "for complaining that he was spending and borrowing too much" during his time in office.

Why it matters: Paul's comments, while tongue-in-cheek, underscore the divisions within the Senate Republican conference, where as many as 20 GOP senators are likely to vote against any coronavirus relief bill — even if a deal is reached between Democrats and Trump administration.

GOP senator says stimulus needs to be as "narrowly focused" on COVID-19 as possible

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said at an Axios virtual event Wednesday that the next coronavirus relief package needs to be as "narrowly focused" on COVID-specific issues as possible in order to resolve the differences between Republicans and Democrats.

Why it matters: Democrats and negotiators from the Trump administration remain far apart on a deal for the next tranche of relief. The fraught negotiations come as millions of Americans continue to suffer from the health and economic effects of the pandemic without the unemployment benefits from the first stimulus bill.

Lewis's death inspires push to restore Voting Rights Act provisions

Reps. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), James Clyburn (D-S.C.), John Lewis (D-Ga.), former Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in 2016. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Democratic lawmakers and civil rights advocates have escalated calls for voting rights protections since the death of Rep. John Lewis, who made the issue his life's work.

Driving the news: House Democrats renamed a measure aimed at restoring a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act after Lewis. The bill, which passed in the House in December, has little chance of clearing the GOP-led Senate.

Trump admin to increase fees for asylum and naturalization applications

The Department of Homeland Security's seal. Photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on Friday plans to hike fees for multiple immigration and work visa applications, including a more than 80% increase on naturalization applications and a new fee for asylum applicants.

Why it matters: The adjusted costs, which take effect Oct. 2, may deter low-income immigrants from pursuing citizenship and could prevent those seeking refuge in the U.S. from applying for asylum. The shifts come as USCIS is facing COVID-19-related budget shortfalls.

White House, Democrats at coronavirus stimulus stalemate

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at separate press conferences. Photos: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images; Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — speaking simultaneously at podiums on opposite ends of Pennsylvania Avenue Friday morning — painted a bleak picture of their stalled coronavirus stimulus talks, making clear that they are still a long way from striking a deal.

The bottom line: Everyone who matters in these talks is sending out dismal signals. Many important benefits, including enhanced unemployment insurance for millions of Americans, expire today — and those in charge of bringing relief admit they're nowhere close to finding common ground.

The next stimulus takes center stage — just as it runs dry

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big Tech was buoyed by the exact thing that prevented the dreadful GDP report from being even worse in the second quarter: the pandemic stimulus measures.

Why it matters: The stimulus is in the spotlight as its key expanded unemployment benefits provision is set to lapse despite coronavirus cases surging across the country, reimposed lockdown measures and more businesses shuttering.

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