Dec 12, 2018

Trump to sign executive order on opportunity zones

President Trump and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) at an event about opportunity zones. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump today is expected to sign an executive order related to opportunity zones, a part of last year's tax bill designed to increase investment and economic development in underserved communities.

The big picture: The signing was supposed to happen at a big event in Baltimore, but it now will take place in the White House. The official explanation for canceling on Charm City was "scheduling," but it couldn't have helped that neither Maryland's Republican Gov. Larry Hogan nor Baltimore's Democratic Mayor Catherine Pugh planned to attend. Or maybe it's the reports on how Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump could personally benefit from the opportunity zones, which they've championed, via their existing real estate holdings.

Axios has learned that the EO will announce the creation of the White House Revitalization Opportunity Council — consisting of 13 federal agencies, co-led by HUD and the U.S. Domestic Policy Council. Expect other included agencies to include Commerce, Interior and SBA.

  • Yesterday there was a meeting in the White House of just over 30 stakeholders, led by Trump special assistant Ja'Ron Smith.
  • An attendee tells Axios that the EO is intended to "synchronize" federal dollars around loans, grants and other forms of relevant financing for underserved communities (including possible infrastructure funding). It also will streamline applications for relevant federal resources and create a process for addressing regulations that may cause "friction" (particularly environmental and labor regs).
  • "The goal isn't just to address opportunity zones, specifically, but also adjacent issues like workforce development and crime prevention."

No comment from the WH, but we did just get word of a related briefing that begins right about now.

Go deeper

Palantir CEO hits Silicon Valley "monoculture," may leave California

Palantir is "getting close" to a decision on whether to move the company out of California, CEO Alex Karp said in an interview for "Axios on HBO."

The state of play: "We haven't picked a place yet, but it's going to be closer to the East Coast than the West Coast. ... If I had to guess, I would guess something like Colorado."

A reckoning for Russia's space program

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

SpaceX's first attempt at launching astronauts from American soil this week is a historic moment that will stress the decades-long relationship between the U.S. and Russia in space.

Why it matters: Since the Cold War, the U.S. and Russia have collaborated intimately in space. As the U.S. regains the ability to launch people with its own rockets, the future of Russia's already struggling civil space program — and how the U.S. will collaborate with it — is unclear.

The coronavirus is making it even harder to care for seniors

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Caring for older adults was already expensive, emotionally taxing and logistically difficult — and the coronavirus is only making it worse.

Why it matters: People older than 65 have the highest risk of dying from the virus, and outbreaks have been rampant in long-term care facilities. That is creating anxiety for seniors and their families.