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Photo: SOPA Images/Contributor/Getty Images

Fiat Chrysler confirmed that it withdrew its 50-50 merger offer with Renault late on Wednesday, after the French automaker's board failed to agree on the proposal in their second day of negotiations.

Details: Two Nissan Motor Co. representatives on Renault’s board refused to throw their support behind the deal, raising concerns about Nissan's commitment to maintaining the decades-long alliance should the $40 billion merger move forward. The French government asked for a delay on the merger vote, resulting in Fiat pulling out of the deal, sources said.

  • Nissan had previously resisted Renault's push for a full merger between the French and Japanese partners, opening the door for FCA to move in.

Why it matters: "The negotiations represented a test of the European auto industry’s ability to overcome national economic rivalries and establish a European champion, akin to Airbus SE in aviation," per the Wall Street Journal.

Our thought bubble, per Axios' Felix Salmon: The Japanese government is being as aggressive with FCA and Renault as it had previously been with Carlos Ghosn, Nissan's former chairman. And the French — along with FCA — decided they didn’t have the appetite for a fight.

Go deeper: Between the lines on Fiat Chrysler's proposed merger with Renault

Go deeper

Symone Sanders leaving VP's office

Vice President Kamala Harris and her press secretary Symone Sanders. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Symone Sanders, senior advisor and chief spokesperson to Vice President Kamala Harris, is leaving the VP’s office by the end of this year, three White House officials told Axios on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The VP has faced an onslaught of criticism in her first year centered on her leadership and staff, adding to the suggestion, she’s not the Democratic Party’s preferred nominee for 2024.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Updated 2 hours ago - Health

Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The travel bans and border closures prompted by the Omicron variant likely won't fully prevent its spread, but that won't stop countries from leaning on the measures.

Why it matters: The rapid speed at which countries turned to travel bans with the emergence of Omicron indicates border controls will increasingly become a weapon against infectious disease — whether or not public health experts agree they are effective.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP fights itself on shutdown politics

Reporters question Senate Minority Whip John Thune before the Republican Party's weekly lunch on Tuesday. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

GOP leaders on Capitol Hill are scrambling to reach a deal with a bloc of 15 Senate Republicans threatening a government shutdown to force a fight over the Biden administration's vaccine mandates.

Why it matters: The push to defund the mandates — by holding the short-term government funding bill hostageis largely symbolic, and highly controversial within the Republican Party. A shutdown as early as midnight Friday could trigger everything from national park closures to delays in receiving Social Security checks.