Photo: Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

In the face of a Green New Deal vote due this month, Senate Democrats are preparing to make combating climate change a core issue of their 2020 campaigns, the New York Times' Coral Davenport and Sheryl Gay Stolberg report.

Why it matters: That's a "striking shift on an issue they have shied away from for the past decade," per the Times.

The big picture: Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer is "trying to turn a weakness into a strength. He is planning daily floor speeches attacking Republicans for inaction," and will propose "a special Senate committee focused on the issue."

NYT Quote of the Day ... David Axelrod says climate change didn't resonate with voters at the start of the last administration:

  • "Now we’re a decade down the road, and the road is surrounded by floods and fires in a way that is becoming more and more visible."

Meanwhile: Some congressional Republicans are beginning to publicly acknowledge climate change and humanity's role in exacerbating its effects. A few are also contemplating policies to combat it— but these position shifts are unlikely to satisfy Democrats who want more aggressive policies, like the Green New Deal.

Go deeper: GOP coming back in from the cold on climate change

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Liberty University's Jerry Falwell Jr. agrees to “indefinite leave of absence”

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. in 2019. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Jerry Falwell Jr. will take an “indefinite leave of absence” from his roles as president and chancellor of Liberty University after posting a photo of himself with unzipped pants and an arm around a woman on social media, according to the school.

The state of play: The picture, which has since been deleted, drew backlash and charges of hypocrisy from conservative political figures because the university's honor code strictly prohibits students from having "sexual relations outside of a biblically-ordained marriage," and recommends they dress with“appropriateness” and “modesty."

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 19,189,737 — Total deaths: 716,669 — Total recoveries — 11,610,192Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 4,917,050 — Total deaths: 160,702 — Total recoveries: 1,598,624 — Total tests: 59,652,675Map.
  3. Politics: White House recommends Trump issue executive orders on coronavirus aid.
  4. Education: Cuomo says all New York schools can reopen for in-person learning.
  5. Public health: Surgeon general urges flu shots to prevent "double whammy" with coronavirus.
  6. World: Africa records over 1 million coronavirus cases — Gates Foundation puts $150 million behind coronavirus vaccine production.

White House recommends Trump issue executive orders on coronavirus aid

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (L) and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows speak to the media on Capitol Hill. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images.

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said President Trump should sign executive orders unilaterally addressing coronavirus stimulus spending after negotiations with congressional Democrats stalled again on Friday.

Why it matters: Friday was viewed as a self-imposed deadline to negotiate a new relief bill. But after an intense week of negotiations on Capitol Hill, White House and Democratic leadership failed to reach a deal on delivering much needed aid to Americans and businesses.