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Paul Sancya / AP

Federal Trade Commission Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen said Wednesday that her agency should avoid "unnecessary" regulations when it comes to connected cars, including the self-driving models that Google and Uber have bet big on. She noted the thousands of fatalities occur every year on America's roads, adding:

"Connected cars promise to significantly reduce such fatalities, and we regulators must keep that benefit in mind to ensure that our approach to connected cars do not hinder such a positive outcome. And at the FTC, it means we must continue to work with our sister agencies like [the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration] to avoid unnecessary or duplicative regulation that could slow or stop innovation and ultimately leave American consumers worse off."

Why it matters: Consumer privacy and data security are huge outstanding questions for self-driving cars, even as companies in both Silicon Valley and Detroit forge ahead with their plans to get the vehicles on the roads.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
3 hours ago - Health

Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.

Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.

The case of the missing relief money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.

Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.

The post-Trump GOP, gutted

McConnell (L), McCarthy (R) and Trump. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Republicans will emerge from the Trump era gutted financially, institutionally and structurally.

The big picture: The losses are stark and substantial.

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