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J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Companies operating in the so-called "gig economy" may have at least one Congressional advocate in their corner: House Speaker Paul Ryan.

The topic of independent contractors who work for such companies ― providing on-demand services that range from driving to home cleaning to food delivery ― is "top of mind for the Speaker," political advisor and venture capitalist Bradley Tusk said on Wednesday at a San Francisco event hosted by StrictlyVC.

Tusk later told Axios that, based on his team's discussions with Ryan's office thus far, he seems to be in favor of making it easier for companies to provide "portable benefits" to contractors without being forced to classify them as full employees.

The White House, however, isn't really thinking about this right now, according to Tusk.

Why it matters: On-demand companies like Uber and Handy (both Tusk investments) have come under fire for classifying their workers as contractors instead of employees, presumably to avoid the cost of benefits like health insurance. Companies advocating for portable benefits, which contractors can have independent of a single employer, are seeing this as a safety net compromise.

The downside: As labor advocates have pointed out, such arrangements would provide some benefits to contractors, but still don't include such things as collective bargaining and protection against discrimination.

Pet project: Handy is one of several "gig economy" companies working together to push for portable benefits legislation. So far it has gotten some traction in both New York and California, but Ryan's imprimatur would be even more important.

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Biden holds first phone call with Putin, raises Navalny arrest

Putin takes a call in 2017. Photo: Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty

President Biden on Tuesday held his first call since taking office with Vladimir Putin, pressing the Russian president on the arrest of opposition leader Alexey Navalny and the Russia-linked hack on U.S. government agencies, AP reports.

The state of play: Biden also planned to raise arms control, bounties allegedly placed on U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the war in Ukraine, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who said the call took place while she was delivering a press briefing. Psaki added that a full readout will be provided later Tuesday.

Biden signs racial equity executive orders

Joe Biden prays at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on September 3, 2020, in the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. PHOTO: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed executive orders on housing and ending the Justice Department's use of private prisons as part of what the White House is calling his “racial equity agenda.”

The big picture: Biden needs the support of Congress to push through police reform or new voting rights legislation. The executive orders serve as his down payment to immediately address systemic racism while he focuses on the pandemic.