Sunday’s top stories
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, tells "Axios on HBO" that states should prioritize teachers for vaccinations as part of reopening schools for in-person learning.
Between the lines: Weingarten declined to say whom teachers should be prioritized over.
The politicization of mask wearing during the pandemic may have led to the deaths of "tens of thousands" of Americans because of increased spread of COVID-19, National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins tells "Axios on HBO."
What they're saying: "The evidence was pretty compelling by last March or April that uniform wearing of masks would reduce transmission of this disease. And yet, with a variety of messages through a variety of sources, mask wearing became a statement about your political party or an invasion of your personal freedom."
1 🏛️ thing
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reached an agreement with Iran that allows UN inspectors to continue necessary verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear facilities for up to 3 months.
Why it matters: The understanding buys more time for more diplomacy between the U.S. and Iran. The Biden administration announced last week it was formally ready to meet with Iran and other world leaders and discuss ways to reinstate the 2015 nuclear deal.
America’s much-maligned vaccine rollout is actually going relatively well, at least compared to other wealthy countries.
The big picture: The U.S. has carried out more vaccinations than any country in the world, and given a first dose to a higher percentage of its population (12%) than all but five countries: Israel, the Seychelles, the UAE, the U.K. and Bahrain.
Musicians, artists, and fans are racing to save the nation's jazz history as historic clubs face closure and master tapes of crucial recordings by African American artists sit collecting dust.
Why it matters: The pandemic has wrecked an already vulnerable jazz industry by forcing live music shows to halt. Musicians and club owners have turned to online fundraisers for survival, and point to the music's connection to civil rights as a need to keep its legacy alive.
Why it matters: Millions of Texans lost power and water during last week's storms. In the aftermath, wholesale power prices rose from roughly $50 per megawatt hour to $9,000, WFAA reports — noting some Texans faced bills of up to $17,000 so far this month.
Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland will pledge to take the lead in prosecuting those charged over the U.S. Capitol siege and vow prosecutorial independence from President Biden at his confirmation hearing Monday.
Why it matters: As attorney general, Judge Garland would oversee politically sensitive cases, including investigations into the taxes of the president's son Hunter Biden and the origins of the probe into former President Trump's dealings with Russia.
Former President Trump will speak at next week's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) conference in Florida, his first public appearance since leaving office, a source with direct knowledge tells Axios.
What we're hearing: Trump plans to directly attack President Biden's new immigration plan and will talk about the future of the Republican Party, a source familiar with his speech said.
The U.S. has deported a 95-year-old man to Germany after a federal investigation found that he worked as a guard in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II, the Department of Justice announced Saturday.
Why it matters: Federal agencies said Friedrich Karl Berger, a German citizen, participated in Nazi-sponsored persecution in 1945 while serving as an guard in the Neuengamme concentration camp system in Northern Germany.
Severe monsoon flooding across several areas of Indonesia's capital forced more than 1,300 people to evacuate on Saturday, Reuters reported.
The big picture: The country's meteorology agency warned that conditions are expected to worsen as the heaviest rain of the season could fall in and around Jakarta over the next week, per Reuters.
Opposition from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) imperils the nomination of Neera Tanden as President Biden's budget director but could help two other nominees.
The state of play: Xavier Becerra for HHS and Deb Haaland for Interior have better chances if the confirmation gods get their sacrifice elsewhere.
President Biden declared a major disaster in Texas after severe winter storms struck the state, causing millions of residents to lose power and water.
Why it matters: The declaration clears the way for more federal funds to be spent on relief efforts across the state.
Rapid at-home COVID-19 tests are fast, but the regulatory approval needed to get them in the hands of Americans has been slow to come.
Why it matters: Quick, fully at-home COVID-19 tests could make a vital contribution to stemming the pandemic — and open up a new frontier for more constant disease surveillance — but old assumptions about how diagnostics should be used are holding them back.
Sequoia Capital told its investors on Friday that some of their personal and financial information may have been accessed by a third party, after a Sequoia employee's email was successfully phished, Axios has learned.
Why it matters: Sequoia is one of the largest and most successful venture capital firms in the world, with portfolio companies like Airbnb, DoorDash, and Robinhood. It also has invested in cybersecurity firms like FireEye and Carbon Black.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Friday addressed a viral TikTok video of an emotional Marine saying her "perpetrator", who admitted to misconduct, had been allowed to stay in the service.
Driving the news: Austin called the video "deeply disturbing," and said he has asked his staff to get more information and provide assistance to the Marine.