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Senate blocks Trump Fed pick confirmation

President Trump's controversial Fed pick Judy Shelton appears to be blocked from joining the central bank's board, for now —a dramatic turn of events, marred by two senators who were expected to support her, but were in quarantine for COVID-related concerns.

Why it matters: Some Republicans broke ranks and opposed Shelton, who in the past has endorsed fringe economic policies and reversed her beliefs to be more in line with those of Trump. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris also cast a crucial vote on Tuesday, with the final tally coming out to 50-47.


Yes, but: Sen. Mitch McConnell changed his vote to "no" — a strategy that could revive Shelton's nomination down the line.

Details: Shelton's last hurdles to confirmation looked like a lock late last week when Sen. Mitch McConnell invoked cloture on her nomination. That is until Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said Tuesday that he was exposed to the coronavirus, forcing him to quarantine and miss the vote. Sen. Rick Scott was also absent as he quarantines.

  • On Monday, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) came out against Shelton, but was planning to be absent from the vote regardless.
  • Sens. Mitt Romney and Susan Collins voted against Shelton. Democrats unanimously opposed the nomination.

The big picture: All but one member of the Fed's seven-member board have been nominated by Trump.

  • Shelton is another setback for the president, who's failed to fill the remaining two open slots on the Fed thanks to a string of unsuccessful candidates that have been unable to move forward — including the late Herman Cain and Stephen Moore.

What to watch: Still no word on a full Senate vote on Christopher Waller, a director of research at the St. Louis Fed and the far less controversial candidate nominated by Trump.

Biden's presidency will have a bleak start

A dim, gloomy scene seems increasingly set for Joe Biden's debut as president.

The state of play: He'll address — virtually — a virus-weary nation, with record-high daily coronavirus deaths, a flu season near its peak, restaurants and small businesses shuttered by wintertime sickness and spread.

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Apps are helping people of color stop deadly police encounters

Mobile phone apps are evolving in ways that can stop rather than simply document deadly police encounters with people of color — including notifying family and lawyers about potential violations in real time.

Why it matters: As states and cities face pressure to reform excessive force policies, apps that monitor police are becoming more interactive, gathering evidence against rogue officers as well as posting social media videos to shame the agencies.

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TikTok gets more time (again)

The White House is again giving TikTok's Chinese parent company more time to satisfy its national security concerns, rather than initiating legal action, a source familiar with the situation tells Axios.

The state of play: China's ByteDance had until Friday to satisfy national security concerns raised by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), which is chaired by Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin. This was the company's third deadline, with CFIUS having provided two earlier extensions.

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Federal judge orders Trump administration to restore DACA

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to fully restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, giving undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children a chance to petition for protection from deportation.

Why it matters: DACA was implemented under former President Obama, but President Trump has sought to undo the program since taking office. Friday’s ruling will require Department of Homeland Security officers to begin accepting applications starting Monday and guarantee that work permits are valid for two years.

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Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order

Counties around the San Francisco Bay Area will adopt California’s new regional stay-at-home order amid surges in cases and ICU hospitalizations, health officials said Friday.

The big picture: California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a three-week stay-at-home order on Thursday that would go into effect in regions with less than 15% ICU capacity. Despite the Bay Area’s current 25.3% ICU capacity, health officials from Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, San Francisco and the city of Berkeley are moving ahead with a shelter-in-place mandate in the hopes of reducing risk.

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Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the COVID-19 vaccine approval process

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reviewing two emergency use authorization requests for COVID-19 vaccines, with an outside advisory committee scheduled to meet next Thursday to review data from Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.

Axios Re:Cap digs in with former FDA commissioner Rob Calif about the EUA process, the science and who should make the final call.

The U.S. economic recovery needs rocket fuel

Data: BLS. Chart: Axios Visuals

Friday's deeply disappointing jobs report should light a fire under Congress, which has dithered despite signs the economy is struggling to kick back into gear.

Driving the news: President-elect Biden said Friday afternoon in Wilmington that he supports another round of $1,200 checks.

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