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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

All eyes today are on the House of Representatives, which this morning hosts a hearing that could significantly impact the 2020 presidential election.

Driving the news: No, not impeachment. I'm talking about the House Financial Services hearing on private equity, an industry that yesterday received two fresh lashings from Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

The session is titled "America for Sale: An examination of the practice of private funds."

  • Witnesses are PE industry lobbyist Drew Maloney, academic Eileen Applebaum, former Toys 'R' Us employee Giovanna De La Rosa, SBIA president Brett Palmer, and Los Angeles public pension fund trustee Wayne Moore.
  • It begins at 10am EST, and you can find the webcast and the witness' prepared statements here.

What to watch: Retail will be to this hearing what healthcare has been to Democratic presidential debates — an important topic, but also one that might be exhausted to the point of crowding out others. Particularly given the presence of an ex-Toys employee.

  • Also interested in the back-and-forth between Maloney and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, as her reputation for sharp questioning hasn't extended to private equity, where to date she's not seemed to have a firm grasp on how the industry functions (e.g., last month's suggestion that WeWork's valuation drop "fleeced" mom and pop investors).
  • Don't be surprised to see some mention of private-equity-as-landlord, given Warren's argument yesterday that The Blackstone Group has profited "shamelessly" from the 2008 housing crisis.

The bottom line: is that private equity faces a more precarious election season in 2020 than it did in 2012, when Bain Capital founder Mitt Romney was the Republican Party's nominee.

  • Back then, most of the relevant focus was on Romney and Bain specifically, rather than on the industry as a whole, as President Obama never proposed wide-ranging legislative fixes (beyond carried interest tax treatment, which never came to pass). Plus, Romney hadn't been with Bain for more than a decade by that point.
  • Today, Warren and the Democratic Party's left flank seem determined to make private equity a visible punching bag, with concrete plans to cut it open if given the chance by voters.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
4 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.