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"Long overdue": Biden praises Senate passage of bipartisan infrastructure package

President Joe Biden praised the Senate's passage of the bipartisan infrastructure package Tuesday, calling it "long overdue, much-needed investments in basic, hard infrastructure."

Why it matters: The legislation's passage is a major victory for the Biden administration and would deliver hundreds of billions of dollars for roads, bridges, waterways and other "hard infrastructure" items.


What he's saying: Biden thanked the bipartisan group of senators who worked on the legislation and touted the bill's varied investments in things such as electric vehicle charging stations, public transit, and drinking water systems.

  • "Experts believe that the majority of the bill’s benefits will flow to working families. Faster commutes, cleaner water, less expense, available and affordable internet. These are the things that working families need," Biden said.
  • "I want to thank those senators who worked so hard to bring this agreement together. ... For the Republicans who supported this bill, you showed a lot of courage."
  • "Here on this bill, we proved we can still come together to do big things, important things for the American people."

Vice President Kamala Harris praised the legislation's investments and job creation, saying it would help the U.S. stay competitive in the world.

  • "[T]oday we move one step closer to making a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation's infrastructure," Harris said.
  • "It provides people with what they need to get where they need to go," she added. "It will do that while also creating millions of good union jobs for our nation's workers."

What to watch: The bill now heads to the House, where it still faces an uphill battle.

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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