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Top Democrats demand postmaster general testify at "urgent" hearing next week

Top Democrats in the House and Senate called on Sunday for Postmaster General Louis DeJoy to testify in an "urgent" hearing before the House Oversight Committee on Aug. 24.

Why it matters: Democratic lawmakers say they're being inundated with complaints that changes to the Postal Service, which the Trump administration says are aimed at efficiency, could sabotage ballot-handling. DeJoy was previously scheduled to testify before the committee on Sept. 17.


What they're saying: “The President has explicitly stated his intention to manipulate the Postal Service to deny eligible voters access to the ballot in pursuit of his own re-election," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Oversight chair Carolyn Maloney and Senate Homeland Security ranking member Gary Peters said in a statement Sunday.

  • "Alarmingly, the Postmaster General – a Trump mega-donor – has acted as an accomplice in the President’s campaign to cheat in the election, as he launches sweeping new operational changes that degrade delivery standards and delay the mail."
  • "The Postal Service itself has warned that voters – even if they send in their ballots by state deadlines – may be disenfranchised in 46 states and in Washington, D.C. by continued delays. This constitutes a grave threat to the integrity of the election and to our very democracy."

What to watch: House Democrats will hold a members-only conference call Sunday at 11:30 a.m. to discuss an early return to Washington to respond to "the attack on the Postal Service," Democratic sources tell Axios.

  • Speaker Pelosi raised the idea 5:30 p.m. call on Saturday with House leaders.
  • "Everyone had a story" about the impact of DeJoy's changes, a source told Axios.

The House has no votes scheduled until the week of Sept. 14, according to Politico, which first reported the possibility of cutting the August recess short.

  • The source told Axios the starting point will be Maloney's "Delivering for America Act," which "would prohibit the Postal Service from dialing back levels of service it had in place on Jan. 1, until the pandemic ends.

During a news conference last evening at his club in Bedminster, N.J., Trump defended Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a former RNC fundraising official: "He wants to make the post office great again."

Pac-12 will play this fall despite ongoing pandemic

The Pac-12, which includes universities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Washington state, will play football starting Nov. 6, reversing its earlier decision to postpone the season because of the coronavirus pandemic, ESPN's Kyle Bonagura and Heather Dinich report.

Why it matters: The conference's about-face follows a similar move by the Big Ten last week and comes as President Trump has publicly pressured sports to resume despite the ongoing pandemic. The Pac-12 will play a seven-game conference football season, according to ESPN.

COVAX vaccine initiative involves most of the world, but U.S. or China

Data: Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance; Map: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A global initiative to ensure equitable distribution of coronavirus vaccines now includes most of the world — but not the U.S., China or Russia.

Why it matters: Assuming one or more vaccines ultimately gain approval, there will be a period of months or even years in which supply lags far behind global demand. The COVAX initiative is an attempt to ensure doses go where they're most needed, rather than simply to countries that can produce or buy them at scale.

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Podcast: The child care tax on America's economy

Child care in the U.S. is in crisis, which makes it much harder for the American economy to recover — as providers struggle to stay in business and parents wrestle with work.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the problems and what can be done to solve them, with Vox senior reporter Anna North.

Scientists are trying to figure out how much the amount of coronavirus in your body matters

How sick a person gets from a virus can depend onhow much of the pathogen that person was exposed to and how much virus is replicating in their body — questionsthat are still open for the novel coronavirus.

Why it matters: As people try to balance resuming parts of their daily lives with controlling their risk of COVID-19, understanding the role of viral load could help tailor public health measures and patient care.

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China's vow to achieve "carbon neutrality" before 2060 sends shockwaves through the climate world

A new insta-analysis of China's vow to achieve "carbon neutrality" before 2060 helps to underscore why Tuesday's announcement sent shockwaves through the climate and energy world.

Why it matters: Per the Climate Action Tracker, a research group, following through would lower projected global warming 0.2 to 0.3°C. That's a lot!

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Kayleigh McEnany: Trump will accept "free and fair" election, no answer on if he loses

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Thursday that President Trump will "accept the results of a free and fair election," but did not specify whether he will commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses to Joe Biden.

Why it matters: Trump refused to say on Wednesday whether he would commit to a peaceful transition of power, instead remarking: "we're going to have to see what happens."

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Sanders: "This is an election between Donald Trump and democracy"

In an urgent appeal on Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said President Trump presented "unique threats to our democracy" and detailed a plan to ensure the election results will be honored and that voters can cast their ballots safely.

Driving the news: When asked yesterday whether he would commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses, Trump would not, and said: "We're going to have to see what happens."

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Why money laundering persists

2 million suspicious activity reports,or SARs, are filed by banks every year. Those reports are sent to the U.S. Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which has the job of determining whether the reports are evidence of criminal activity, and whether that activity should be investigated and punished.

The catch: FinCEN only has 270 employees, which means that FinCEN is dealing with a ratio of roughly 150 reports per employee per week. So it comes as little surprise to learn that most of the reports go unread, and the activity in them unpunished.

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