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AP

Sen. Mark Warner is hoping to push the federal government to tackle the difficult questions about how companies like Uber and Lyft are changing the nature of work — and, more specifically, the nature of benefits.

At issue: Many benefits are traditionally tied to your full-time employer. But with the rise of on-demand economy companies that rely on contractors, a growing share of the workforce is going to miss out on benefits like health insurance and retirement savings plans.

  • The bill from Virginia's Warner, a Democrat, would give the Labor Department $20 million to fund pilot programs related to either new or existing models for portable benefits. In other words, benefits you that aren't linked to employment status. Warner told Axios that "rather than starting with some kind of federally driven, top-down solution, what we're trying to say is let's go ahead and try and experiment."
  • The grants aren't supposed to go to a program that "provides only retirement-related benefits," since Warner says he's hoping there will ultimately be more types of benefits available to workers.

Brass tacks: The bill has a companion in the House, sponsored by Democrat Suzan DelBene, and Warner says he expects it to gain support from Republicans. "We've had some conversations with Republicans. we want to go ahead and drop the bill, put the marker down, and I do anticipate that we'll gain some Republican and Democratic support," Warner said.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas cases, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's own 2018 ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

Officials warn 5 key tech sectors will determine whether China overtakes U.S.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. intelligence officials responsible for protecting advanced technologies have narrowed their focus to five key sectors: artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology, semiconductors and autonomous systems.

Why it matters: China and Russia are employing a variety of legal and illegal methods to undermine and overtake U.S. dominance in these critical industries, officials warned in a new paper. Their success will determine "whether America remains the world’s leading superpower or is eclipsed by strategic competitors."