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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

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker will not seek re-election in 2022

Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker (R) speaking during a press conference in November 2021. Photo: Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R), a moderate who typically ranks as one of the nation's most popular governors, said Wednesday that he and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito (R) will not seek third terms in 2022.

Why it matters: The decision leaves the gubernatorial race wide open and will likely affect multiple down-ballot races next year. Baker was expected to be the front-runner had he joined the race.

3 hours ago - Health

CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers

Travelers with their luggage arrive at a COVID-19 testing location at the airport in Los Angeles, Calif., on Nov. 23, 2021. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday night that it is working to impose stricter testing requirements for international travelers due to the spread of the new Omicron variant.

The big picture: The new rules would require all international travelers, regardless of vaccination status, to show a negative test taken a day before their flight to the U.S. Currently, the CDC says fully vaccinated travelers are allowed to show a test taken no more than three days before their departure, AP reports.

Republicans threaten to shut down government over vaccine mandates

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in the Capitol in November 2020. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Conservative Republicans in the House and Senate are planning to force a government shutdown Friday to deny funding needed to enforce the Biden administration's vaccine mandates on the private sector, according to Politico.

Why it matters: Congress has until the end of the week to pass a stopgap measure to extend funding into 2022, though objection from a small group of Republicans could shut down the government.