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Jens Meyer / AP

A top White House aide on tech issues said Thursday "we have a responsibility" to figure out what happens to workers who lose their jobs to automation or technological change, whether that's at the federal, state or local level.

"So, I think that's a real policy challenge," said Matt Lira, Special Assistant to the President for Innovation Policy and Initiatives, at an event sponsored by the Internet Association. "Both things like these potential new technologies, but also just the nature of the modern economy, is going to require the evolution of horizontal pathways where someone who's 35, 45, 55 has a credible path from column A to column B that can be done at scale."

But, but, but: Lira also noted that there have been instances where the threat of automation has been overhyped. He said that while ATMs mean there are fewer bank tellers per branch, they've led to more bank branches, all of which need employees, because each one is cheaper.

Why it matters: The threat that automation poses to the economy is top-of-mind right now. But it has not been totally clear how much it's a priority for Trump, even as he focuses on jobs lost to outsourcing and trade. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said at an Axios event in March that the issue is "not even on our radar screen" — but he later walked those comments back.

Go deeper

14 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Kevin McCarthy's rude awakening

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Kevin McCarthy is learning you can get torched when you try to make everyone happy, especially after an insurrection.

Why it matters: The House Republican leader had been hoping to use this year to build toward taking the majority in 2022, but his efforts to bridge intra-party divisiveness over the Capitol siege have him taking heat from every direction, eroding his stature both with the public and within his party.

The next big political war: redistricting

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democrats are preparing a mix of tech and legal strategies to combat expected gerrymandering by Republicans, who are planning to go on legal offense themselves.

Why it matters: Democrats failed to regain a single state legislature on Election Day, while Republicans upped their control to 30 states' Houses and Senates. In the majority of states, legislatures draw new congressional district lines, which can boost a party's candidates for the next decade.

44 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Vaccinations, relief timing dominate Sweet 16 call

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) speaks during a news conference in December with a group of bipartisan lawmakers. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Vaccine distribution, pandemic data and a cross-party comity dominated today's virtual meeting between White House officials and a bipartisan group of 16 senators, Senator Angus King told Axios.

Why it matters: Given Democrats' razor-thin majority in both chambers of Congress, President Biden will have to rely heavily on this group of centrist lawmakers — dubbed the "Sweet 16" — to pass any substantial legislation.