Let's spend a little more time with the Interior Department's Gulf of Mexico lease sale Wednesday that, as we noted here, drew modest bidding and interest despite making 77 million acres available.

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Data: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Why it matters: While the sale was scheduled during the Obama years, Interior's decision to make so much acreage available, the lowering of shallow-water royalty rates, and the tepid bidding bring two trends into focus: The Trump administration's aggressive promotion of U.S. fossil fuels and the wealth of other options that companies have outside the Gulf.

Quoted: Michael Webber, deputy director of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, summed up the modest sale in an interview with Canada's Business News Network...

“It’s good for oil and gas companies, not so great for the U.S. taxpayer, but it is consistent with this whole ‘energy dominance’ theme. The funny part is, we’re already energy dominant as it is, or on track to be energy dominant, from our onshore assets. We really didn’t need the offshore assets, we could have held them back to wait until prices were higher,” he said.

Go deeper

Postal slowdown threatens election breakdown

In 24 hours, signs of a pre-election postal slowdown have moved from the shadows to the spotlight, with evidence emerging all over the country that this isn't a just a potential threat, but is happening before our eyes.

Why it matters: If you're the Trump administration, and you're in charge of the federal government, remember that a Pew poll published in April found the Postal Service was viewed favorably by 91% of Americans.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 21,280,608 — Total deaths: 767,422— Total recoveries: 13,290,879Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 5,335,398 — Total deaths: 168,903 — Total recoveries: 1,796,326 — Total tests: 65,676,624Map.
  3. Health: The coronavirus-connected heart ailment that could lead to sudden death in athletes — Patients grow more open with their health data during pandemic.
  4. States: New York to reopen gyms, bowling alleys, museums.
  5. Podcasts: The rise of learning podsSpecial ed under pressure — Not enough laptops — The loss of learning.

USPS pushes election officials to pay more for mail ballots

Protesters gather in Kalorama Park in D.C. today before demonstrating outside the condo of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. Photo: Cheriss May/Reuters

The Postal Service has urged state election officials to pay first class for mail ballots, which Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer says could nearly triple the cost.

Why it matters: Senate Democrats claim that "it has been the practice of USPS to treat all election mail as First Class mail regardless of the paid class of service."