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Portman criticizes Schumer for “arbitrary” infrastructure deadline

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) criticized Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Sunday for setting an "arbitrary deadline" to move forward with a bipartisan infrastructure proposal.

Why it matters: Portman is a key Republican negotiator, yet Senate leadership aides tell Axios that Schumer won't back away from beginning procedural steps to move the bill — still unwritten — forward this week.

  • Schumer is racing against the clock to pass a pair of infrastructure bills before the August recess — and ensuring the bipartisan bill sees floor action this week is necessary for the Senate to meet its self-imposed deadline.
  • Schumer's team has made clear the vote the leader has scheduled for Wednesday is solely on the vehicle for moving the measure, not the contents of the bill itself.

What they're saying: “We are still negotiating," Portman said on CNN's "State of the Union." "(L)ater today, we will be having additional negotiations with the Republicans and Democrats who have come together to put this bill into a track that's very unusual for Washington."

  • "Chuck Schumer, with all due respect, is not writing the bill, nor is (Senate Minority Leader) Mitch McConnell, by the way. So, that's why we shouldn't have an arbitrary deadline of Wednesday. We should bring the legislation forward when it's ready."

A senior Senate Democratic aide told Axios: “There’s ample time and no reason why the bipartisan group can’t come to an agreement by Wednesday.”

  • The Senate has done this before, the aide added, pointing to the China-focused "U.S. Innovation and Competition" bill.
  • During that process, there wasn’t an agreement on legislation, but senators kicked off the process anyway by moving to proceed on the Endless Frontier Act.
  • Members knew it was a substitute while they negotiated the final bill.

The bottom line: The bipartisan group is hoping to get final text of the bill completed by the time the Senate reconvenes Monday night.

  • Talks are going well, sources familiar with the negotiations tell Axios, but it's always the final stretch that's the hardest to complete.

The push for a "PBS for the internet"

The concept of a new media ecosystem that's non-profit, publicly funded and tech-infused is drawing interest in policy circles as a way to shift the power dynamics in today's information wars.

Why it matters: Revamping the structure and role of public media could be part of the solution to shoring up local media, decentralizing the distribution of quality news, and constraining Big Tech platforms' amplification of harmful or false information.

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U.S. women's soccer team loses to Canada, ending chances at gold

The U.S. women's soccer team lost 1-0 to eighth-ranked Canada in the Olympics semifinals on Monday, ending its chances at winning a gold medal in Tokyo.

Why it matters: The loss marks the second straight Olympics the U.S. team will not play in the gold medal match. The team was knocked out by Sweden in the quarterfinals during the Rio Games in 2016.

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Reading the tea leaves ahead of Boston's historic mayoral race

For the first time in history, a white man is not in serious contention to be the next mayor of Boston, a city with a checkered racial history.

Why it matters: The face of Democratic Party politics has changed, with more women and people of color running and winning races. As high-profile races like Boston's — and New York's — attract multiple people of color in a primary, some candidates say that allows for more ideological diversity, as well.

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Rising gasoline prices signal trouble for climate change action

Cutting oil production before we cut our demand for oil could undermine much of the progress that needs to be made on climate change.

Why it matters: If companies cut back on producing oil but consumers don’t cut back on consuming it, demand will exceed supply and prices will shoot up. That’s bad for our pocketbooks and risks the transition to cleaner energy.

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Elite trans athletes decry youth sports bans

TOKYO — While transgender inclusion in elite sports presents some challenging issues, bans on participation in youth sports are simply about hate and cruelty, several top trans athletes told Axios this week.

The big picture: Lawmakers in more than half of the states have considered such bans, and they have been signed into law in at least eight states, though legal challenges remain.

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The case for global warming realism, rather than panic

It’s getting harder and harder to communicate the two essential realities of human-caused climate change: that our failure to slow and eventually stop it is contributing to devastating human suffering all over the world, and that it’s not too late to act.

The big picture: Experts have long told climate communicators —including scientists, journalists and politicians — that disaster porn immobilizes people, leaving them cowering in a corner. You've got to give them a sense of hope, the research shows.

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Simone Biles will compete in her final Olympic event

Simone Biles will compete in the Olympic individual balance beam final, her last event of the Tokyo Games, USA Gymnastics announced Monday.

What's happening: "We are so excited to confirm that you will see two U.S. athletes in the balance beam final tomorrow — Suni Lee AND Simone Biles!! Can’t wait to watch you both!" USA Gymnastics tweeted.

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In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 10 highlights

Day 10 of the Tokyo Olympic Games saw Puerto Rico bag its first-ever track gold medal when Jasmine Camacho-Quinn beat American world record holder Kendra Harrison to win the women’s 100-meter hurdles Monday.

The big picture: There was better news for Team USA in the basketball, where the women's national team beat France 93-82 — meaning the Americans are entering the medal round undefeated as they go for yet another gold, Axios' Ina Fried reports from Tokyo. France still advanced to the quarterfinals as well.

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