Edward Holub

Hap-py Friday from the Big Easy. As part of our effort to get you beyond the bubble thinking and make you aware of the most important trends and innovations, Axios is partnering with the U.S. Conference of Mayors for the next year. I'll be traveling the country, and sharing what I'm learning.

At a time when people hate politicians, many top mayors are popular. At dinner last night at the U.S. Conference of Mayors summer leadership conference in New Orleans, I realized a big reason why:

  • Faced with persistent problems, they have no choice but to attack a lot of things a dysfunctional federal government can't or won't.
  • This includes global warming, homeland security and the exploding opioid crisis — three things better attacked broadly at the federal level.
  • Some of the nation's leading mayors told me that they're giving up on Washington for many of their needs. This has forced new creativity, often turning to philanthropies and big corporations, to help fund their plans.

Some insights from New Orleans:

  • New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, president of the U.S. Conference: "Mayors ... can actually create national policy, and you do not have to wait on the federal government. ... If one of your friends doesn't show up, you just gotta keep going. And I think that's what mayors and governors are doing."
  • Columbia, S.C., Mayor Steve Benjamin, the group's vice president: Getting things done "requires we drag our federal officials" along. He said that while frustrated with D.C., he can't give up because so many constituents depend on federal help.
  • Benjamin also said local officials need more of "a seat at the table" in Trump's opioid response.

Go deeper ... Axios' Shannon Vavra is also on-scene with the mayors, and posted on ...

  • My conversation with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin.
  • Plus a debate on "The Future of Cities" with Marc Morial of the National Urban League; Jim Anderson of Bloomberg Philanthropies; and Peter Scher, chair of the Washington region and Head of Corporate Responsibility for J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

Go deeper

New Jersey governor allows schools to reopen for in-person learning

Gov. Phil Murphy in December 2019. Phoot: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced Wednesday he will sign an executive order allowing private and public K-12 schools and universities to reopen for in-person learning in September.

The big picture: New York and New Jersey have now authorized school districts to begin reopening. Both states and Connecticut ordered travelers from 31 states to quarantine before crossing their state borders after they were able to manage the pandemic.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 p.m. ET: 20,412,501 — Total deaths: 744,649— Total recoveries: 12,629,465Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 p.m. ET: 5,163,509 — Total deaths: 164,994 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
  3. Politics: Pelosi on state of coronavirus stimulus talks: "It's a chasm"
  4. Business: U.S. already feeling effects of ending unemployment benefits.
  5. Public health: America is flying blind on its coronavirus response.
  6. Education: Gallup: America's confidence in public school system jumps to highest level since 2004.

Pelosi on state of coronavirus stimulus talks: "It's a chasm"

Democrats and the Trump administration remain "miles apart" on negotiations over a coronavirus stimulus deal, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Wednesday.

Driving the news, via Axios' Dion Rabouin: Congress' failure to renew enhanced unemployment measures for millions of Americans at the end of July is already affecting consumer spending patterns, holding down retail purchases and foot traffic, economists at Deutsche Bank say.