Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

A growing view at the highest levels of the Trump Administration: Mitch McConnell should use the nuclear option at his first opportunity in the process to confirm Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.

A source close to Gorsuch's confirmation, reflecting the view of at least half a dozen others involved in the process, told us it would be terrible if McConnell allowed the Democrats even one failed cloture vote.

The thinking inside Trumpworld: They suspect that nothing they do or say will appease Schumer, so they might as well nuke the Democrats at the first sign of opposition. The President shares that view. He's made clear, publicly, that he'd be more than happy for McConnell to use the nuclear option.

The way Republicans see it, the Democratic leader is trying to set a new 60 vote standard to pass all Supreme Court nominees. If Schumer offers McConnell a deal that he'll release his red state Senators to vote for cloture after one round of successful opposition, according to our source, the Republican leader should respond: "Chuck, pound the sand."

The source added: "I'd be surprised if there's anybody in the White House who wouldn't be happy to see nuke option invoked."

The race to 60: The Trump Administration hasn't given up on getting 60 votes for Gorsuch, deploying its one of its key assets, Trump, for schmooze sessions with red state Dems on the Hill. The Trump team also needs to show they're trying to get 60 votes, because if they signal now that they're trigger-happy on the nuke they'll alienate the Senate's old bulls who, in the past, have been reluctant to see the institution eroded.

Why this matters: Conservatives view the next two Supreme Court confirmation battles as "for all the marbles": They fundamentally change balance of the court. McConnell shares that view and pulled off one of the great tactical victories by denying President Obama his final justice. Republicans leading this fight understand that the most important thing they can do for next two rounds is to make sure the nuclear option is a broadly-accepted part of their arsenal.

Where this is heading: The conservative base believes any judge who could win 60 votes in the current Senate is probably not a judge they could trust. Going nuclear now gives Trump a stronger hand next time, when the ideological stakes will be far higher. Democrats will (rightly) claim that the next justice could lead to the reversal of the landmark abortion decision Roe v. Wade. At that point, Republicans will need their nuke.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Trump blocks banks from limiting loans to gun and oil companies

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big banks are no longer allowed to reject business loan applicants because of the industry in which they operate, according to a new rule finalized on Thursday by the Trump administration.

Why it matters: Wall Street has curtailed its exposure to industries like guns, oil and private prisons, driven by both public and shareholder pressures. This new rule could reverse that trend.

Former FDA commissioner: "Reliable drug supply is absolutely critical"

Axios' Caitlin Owens and former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan. Photo courtesy of Axios Events

Having a reliable supply of pharmaceutical drugs throughout America will be "absolutely critical" to boosting affordability in health care during the Biden administration, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Mark McClellan said at a virtual Axios Event on Friday.

The big picture: McClellan, who served under President George W. Bush, says drugs having limited supply and limited competition leads to elevated pricing. He considers drug supply to be a national security and public health issue.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Americans are still spending money

Source: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans spent more money at stores and restaurants in 2020 than they did in 2019 — even in the face of a devastating global pandemic that shut down broad sectors of the economy.

Why it matters: The monthly retail sales report this morning came in well below expectations, and showed consumer spending falling on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Total expenditures were still higher in December 2020 than they were a year previously, however.