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Senior White House official Robert Blair on the South Lawn of the White House. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Robert Blair, a senior White House official who played a key role under former chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, is moving to the Commerce Department to serve as director of policy, two sources familiar with his plans tell Axios and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross confirmed.

What we're hearing: Blair is expected to focus on 5G, rebalancing the relationship with China and reopening the economy after the coronavirus lockdowns, one of the sources said.

  • “I am thrilled that Rob Blair has chosen to join the Department of Commerce to serve as our Director of Policy and Strategic Planning," Ross told Axios.
  • "Rob’s experience on Capitol Hill, at the Office of Management and Budget, and as Assistant to the President and the Senior Advisor to the Chief of Staff, and Special Representative for International Telecommunications Policy at the White House will be incredibly valuable to our Department as we continue our work to execute on the President’s bold agenda.”

The backstory: Blair was a senior adviser for Mulvaney, then worked closely with National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien on the Trump administration's international 5G strategy.

  • Blair has told colleagues he’s now looking forward to contributing to the president’s 5G agenda by fleshing out the domestic policy.

Go deeper

38 mins ago - Health

Biden administration to lift travel ban for fully vaccinated international travelers

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients announced on Monday that the Biden administration will allow fully vaccinated travelers from around the world to enter the U.S. beginning in November.

Why it matters: The announcement comes as President Biden seeks commitments from countries to donate vaccines to the global COVAX initiative. He is expected to host a COVID summit on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly this week, and many of the countries attending have expressed frustration with the travel ban.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
53 mins ago - Economy & Business

Gen Z breaks into VC

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

When Meagan Loyst joined VC firm Lerer Hippeau, less than two years out of Boston College, she was still living with her parents. She had virtually no online brand presence, and the pandemic made it impossible to build a professional network via in-person meetings.

Why it matters: Loyst wasn't alone. Venture firms have accelerated hiring in line with record deal activity, often seeking younger investors who can spot trends that fly below the radar (or intrinsic understanding) of older partners.

White House aims to protect workers from extreme heat

Two pear pickers in Hood River, Oregon on August 13, 2021. (Michael Hanson/AFP via Getty Images)

The White House announced a slew of actions Monday, including the start of a rule-making process at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), to protect American workers from extreme heat.

Driving the news: The U.S. just had its hottest summer on record, with triple-digit-temperatures killing hundreds in the Pacific Northwest and exposing outdoor workers to dangerous conditions.