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Bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus unveils $2 trillion coronavirus bill amid deadlock

A bipartisan group of 50 House members known as the Problem Solvers Caucus unveiled a roughly $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill on Tuesday amid frustration with congressional and White House leaders for failing to deliver desperately needed aid to Americans.

Why it matters: The legislation, which is widely viewed as un-passable, is a last-ditch effort by centrist lawmakers to force party leaders back to the negotiating table before the November election.


By the numbers: The proposal, titled “March To Common Ground" and led by Reps. Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) and Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), includes ...

  • $100 billion for COVID-19 testing and health care.
  • $316 billion in direct payments to individuals and families.
  • $120 billion in enhanced unemployment benefits.
  • $290 billion for small businesses.
  • $145 billion for schools and child care.
  • $500 billion in state and local aid.
  • $400 billion for election security.
  • $52 billion to support broadband expansion, the agriculture industry, the U.S. Postal Service and the Census
  • Additional language on liability protections 

The bottom line: Few on Capitol Hill, including some in the Problem Solvers Caucus who have championed the bill, think Congress will be able to reach stimulus deal before Election Day.

  • Before the bill was even released, it received sharp criticism from many Republican senators who have insisted that another round of coronavirus stimulus include a smaller price tag. The most recent Senate GOP "skinny" bill was roughly $650 billion.
  • Meanwhile, Democratic lawmakers argue the bill doesn't go far enough.

But the measure offers many moderate members who are infuriated with the impasse an opportunity to show their constituents that they are trying to deliver coronavirus aid, and puts added pressure on leaders to do something to help lessen the burden of the pandemic on American families.

UN says Paris carbon-cutting plans fall far short

Nations' formal emissions-cutting pledges are collectively way too weak to put the world on track to meet the Paris climate deal's temperature-limiting target, a United Nations tally shows.

Driving the news: This morning the UN released an analysis of the most recent nationally determined contributions (NDCs) — that is, countries' medium-term emissions targets submitted under the 2015 pact.

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"Crimea is Ukraine": Biden condemns Russian aggression on 7th anniversary of annexation

President Biden reaffirmed U.S. support for the people of Ukraine and vowed to hold Russia accountable for its aggression in a statement on Thursday, the 7th anniversary of Russia's 2014 invasion of Crimea.

Why it matters: The statement reflects the aggressive approach Biden is taking to Russia, which he classified on the campaign trail as an "opponent" and "the biggest threat" to U.S. security and alliances.

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What's really going on with the labor market

Source: YCharts

The labor market is showing some signs of improvement: Jobless claims fell to 730,000 — a dramatic drop from 841,000 the previous week. And the latest jobs report showed a pandemic-era low unemployment rate of 6.3%

But, but, but: That's not the full story, experts say.

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Breaking down the rare convergence of the 10-year Treasury yield and S&P 500 dividend

Data: YCharts; Chart: Axios Visuals

A milestone was reached in the markets Thursday: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to match the dividend yield on the S&P 500

Why it matters: The two yields have been inverted since the beginning of last year, which is historically unusual.

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Top coalition of CEOs puts new muscle behind Biden with "Move the Needle" campaign

Business Roundtable, the voice ofAmerica's top CEOs, today launched "Move the Needle," a campaign to support President Biden in rolling out COVID vaccine, increasing vaccine uptake and encouraging masks.

What they're saying: "Masks and vaccines are working. Now is the time to keep at it, overcome pandemic fatigue, and double down on the measures that will end this public health and economic crisis, said Business Roundtable president and CEO Josh Bolten.

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U.S. notified Israel in advance about strike on Iran-backed militia facilities in Syria

The Biden administration notified Israel in advance about the airstrike against an Iranian-backed Shiite militia base on the Syrian-Iraqi border Thursday evening, Israeli officials told me.

Why it matters: The airstrike was the first overt military action by the U.S. in the Middle East since Biden assumed office, and one that Israeli officials see as a positive signal about the new administration's posture toward Iran.

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The sovereign state of Facebook vs. the world

Facebook's 3 billion monthly active users, its mountain of money and its control over the flow of information all put the company on an equal footing with governments around the world — and, increasingly, it's getting into fights with them.

Why it matters: Facebook's power alarms governments fearful that the tech giant could tilt the political scales inside their borders, and regulators around the world are seeking ways to rein the company in.

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