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Photo: Joe Raedle / Getty Images

The search is on for a new director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, following Brenda Fitzgerald’s resignation amid a growing uproar over financial conflicts of interest.

Between the lines:

  • Fitzgerald came to the CDC from Georgia’s health department — she was an ally of former HHS secretary Tom Price. Her departure gives the new HHS secretary, Alex Azar, a visible symbolic break from the ethical problems that ultimately defined, and ended, Price’s brief tenure.
  • The situation was also getting untenable even with Republicans on Capitol Hill. “There was already strong concern due to her recusal issues and then when news broke about her tobacco purchases, the dam of frustration broke,” a GOP aide told Politico.

The impact: At least in theory, this is not a great time for the CDC to be without a Senate-confirmed leader. We’re in the middle of a massive and deadly flu season, and the CDC is in charge of helping to coordinate the response among federal, state and local agencies, as well as tracking the virus.

  • The opioid epidemic also rages on, and there, too, CDC’s monitoring programs make it a critically important player.

Yes, but: The opioid crisis was one of the areas from which Fitzgerald had partially recused herself due to financial conflicts. For now, the agency is in the hands of principal deputy director Anne Schuchat, who’s been at the CDC for a long time.

  • And even though finding a new director will take some time, having someone who’s able to work on these issues — and communicate with Capitol Hill about them — might be worth the wait, especially as Azar looks to turn the page on a troubled year at HHS.

Go deeper

Axios-Ipsos poll: Trust in federal coronavirus response surges

Data: Axios/Ipsos survey; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Trust surged in the federal government since President Biden's inauguration when it comes to COVID-19 — but that's almost entirely because of Democrats gaining confidence, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

The big picture: Americans reported the biggest improvement in their mental and emotional health since our survey began last March, and the highest trust levels since April about the federal government providing them accurate virus information and looking out for their best interests.

7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

McConnell drops filibuster demand, paving way for power-sharing deal

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (R) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell attend a joint session of Congress. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has abandoned his demand that Democrats state, in writing, that they would not abandon the legislative filibuster.

Between the lines: McConnell was never going to agree to a 50-50 power sharing deal without putting up a fight over keeping the 60-vote threshold. But the minority leader ultimately caved after it became clear that delaying the organizing resolution was no longer feasible.

8 hours ago - Technology

Scoop: Google won't donate to members of Congress who voted against election results

Sen. Ted Cruz led the group of Republicans who opposed certifying the results. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Google will not make contributions from its political action committee this cycle to any member of Congress who voted against certifying the results of the presidential election, following the deadly Capitol riot.

Why it matters: Several major businesses paused or pulled political donations following the events of Jan. 6, when pro-Trump rioters, riled up by former President Trump, stormed the Capitol on the day it was to certify the election results.