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GOP opposition to Jan. 6 commission provides new wedge against Manchin

Republican opposition to a commission to investigate the Capitol riot provides a new wedge for Democrats to pressure Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to soften his opposition changing the filibuster rule. A Senate vote on the commission, expected Thursday, was pushed back to Friday.

Why it matters: Manchin is furious that Republicans aren’t supporting the commission. And some Democrats hope that the issue will cause him to yield on his opposition to ending the filibuster rule, which requires 60 votes for a bill to pass.

  • In this 50-50 Senate, that means 10 Republicans. Under a simple majority, with Vice President Harris breaking the tie, Democrats would be able to pass parts of the Biden agenda — on voting rights, climate and more — that otherwise would die in the Senate.

So far, he hasn't been willing to act on that. Asked Thursday if he would vote to end the filibuster if Republicans blocked the commission, Manchin replied: "I'm not willing to destroy our government, no."

  • But he followed that by saying he was hopeful enough Republicans would come around: "You have to have faith there's ten good people."

If that doesn't happen, Democratic leaders will be able to argue to him that Republicans aren't acting in good faith.

  • The problem for progressive outside groups is they have plenty of money to pressure Manchin. But they can't make credible threats against a unique Democrat in an extremely Trumpy state.

Go deeper: What's the Senate filibuster and why change it?

Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

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Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

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Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

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Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

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"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

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What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

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