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.

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 32,471,119 — Total deaths: 987,593 — Total recoveries: 22,374,557Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 7,032,524 — Total deaths: 203,657 — Total recoveries: 2,727,335 — Total tests: 99,483,712Map.
  3. States: "We’re not closing anything going forward": Florida fully lifts COVID restaurant restrictions — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tests positive for coronavirus.
  4. Health: Young people accounted for 20% of cases this summer.
  5. Business: Coronavirus has made airports happier places The expiration of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance looms.
  6. Education: Where bringing students back to school is most risky.
Mike Allen, author of AM
10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden pushes unity message in new TV wave

A fresh Joe Biden ad, "New Start," signals an effort by his campaign to make unity a central theme, underscoring a new passage in his stump speech that says he won't be a president just for Democrats but for all Americans.

What he's saying: The ad — which began Friday night, and is a follow-up to "Fresh Start" — draws from a Biden speech earlier in the week in Manitowoc, Wisconsin:

Trump prepares to announce Amy Coney Barrett as Supreme Court replacement

Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Photo: Matt Cashore/Notre Dame University via Reuters

President Trump is preparing to nominate federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana, a favorite of both the social conservative base and Republican elected officials, to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Republican sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Barrett would push the already conservative court further and harder to the right, for decades to come, on the most important issues in American politics — from abortion to the limits of presidential power. If confirmed, she would give conservatives a 6-3 majority on the high court.