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GOP senators hint they're looking for infrastructure deal

Key Senate Republicans in talks with the White House to negotiate down the administration's trillion-dollar infrastructure package indicated this weekend that they are still looking for a deal.

Why it matters: The White House recently proposed a $1.7 trillion counteroffer to GOP calls to cut spending — below the original $2 trillion price tag, but still too high for Republican negotiators.

  • Democratic leaders could pass Biden's infrastructure plan on a party-line basis, but "the discussions between Biden and GOP senators represent one of the president’s best hopes for a bipartisan policy achievement," the Washington Post reported.

What to watch: Biden is eyeing June 9 when the surface transportation bill that forms a pillar of the administration's infrastructure plan will be brought up for a vote by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, per the Post.

  • Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told CNN on Sunday that negotiations "need a clear direction" by June 7, when members return from recess.

What they're saying: Key GOP members representing their party in White House negotiations complimented the president's approach when speaking with the Post.

  • “I have had opportunities and dealings with him over the years, and he’s a straight shooter,” said Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho). “If he gives you his commitment, you can count on it.”
  • "I think it stems from his, kind of, innate Senate negotiating skills,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.). The senator, who said she'd spoken by phone with Biden earlier in the week, told Fox News Sunday: "I think we can get to real compromise, absolutely, because we're both still in the game."
  • “I don’t want this to get into a ‘Biden doesn’t know what he’s doing.’ He totally understands,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). “All of his training is as a senator who understands the importance of finding a place where everybody can be moving forward.”

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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