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Unions want House progressives to support BIden's bipartisan infrastructure package

Prominent labor groups are urging progressive House lawmakers to stifle their concerns about the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal and give it their full support.

Why it matters: Even if the package wins enough Republican support in the Senate, Democrats are growing increasingly concerned progressives in the House will sink the deal.


  • Rep. Peter DeFazio, chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, unloaded Tuesday on the bipartisan deal, insisting it included "extraordinary deficiencies."
  • "I’m not taking it,” DeFazio said. "We cannot miss this opportunity to deal with safety issues in a meaningful way."
  • Building trade unions, which saw many of their members support President Trump, view the "hard" infrastructure plan for roads, bridges and other projects as a way to bring union households back in the Democratic fold.

What they are saying: "The message is mostly to progressive activists: Let's take a good deal for the American citizen and American public," said Mark McManus, general president of the United Association of Union Plumbers and Pipefitters.

  • "These are good-paying union jobs for my membership," McManus said. "These are good jobs in each one of your districts."
  • “Bipartisanship in this day and age is good for America,” said James Callahan, general president of the International Union of Operating Engineers. "The green retrofit is a win."
  • "We can’t just shut the power grid off now because fossil fuel is dirty," Callahan added.

Between the lines: The union's basic argument to progressives is: Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

  • "We are urging lawmakers to avoid being distracted by those who are focused on what the compromise does not do — as if perfection is the only measure of progress and success,” said Terry O'Sullivan, general president of the Laborers' International Union of North America.

The bottom line: Most of the focus on the bipartisan deal has been in the Senate, but passage in the House isn’t a sure thing.

National parks "drowning in tourists"

Data: National Park Service; note: Gateway National Recreation Area is excluded due to missing data in 2021. Chart: Connor Rothschild/Axios

National Parks across the U.S. are overflowing with a post-pandemic crush of tourists, leading to increased issues with congestion, traffic jams, user experience, strain on staff and increased damage to the parks.

Why it matters: Some are seeing such a record number they're being forced to limit, and even close, access to certain areas to avoid the danger of eroding the land. The result, ultimately, could change the way Americans interact with the parks going forward.

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Facebook's next chapter: Build the "metaverse"

Facebook's "next chapter," Mark Zuckerberg says, is to be prime builder of "the metaverse" — an open, broadly distributed, 3D dimension online where, he says, we will all conduct much of our work and personal lives.

The big picture: Zuckerberg admits Facebook will only be one of many companies building this next-generation model of today's internet — but he also intends Facebook to lead the pack.

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CDC asks the vaccinated to help save the unvaccinated from themselves

The Biden administration is essentially asking vaccinated Americans to help save the unvaccinated from themselves.

The big picture: America's "pandemic of the unvaccinated" has gotten bad enough that vaccine mandates are starting to catch on, and masks are coming back — in some cases, even for the vaccinated.

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Least persuadable unvaccinated Americans are largely white and Republican

Data: Axios-Ipsos Poll; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The most hardcore opponents of coronavirus vaccination — the group who say they'll never get one — tend to be older, whiter and more Republican than the unvaccinated Americans who are still persuadable, according to an analysis of our Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: As the Delta variant triggers more COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths, mostly among the unvaccinated, the Biden administration and even some high-profile GOP political and media figures are trying to figure out how to nudge the country's vaccination rate higher.

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Female Olympians push back against double standard in uniforms

Female Olympians in Tokyo are rejecting the uniforms that have long defined their sports, highlighting a double standard that exists how women dress in competition vs. men.

Driving the news: During their qualifying round Sunday, Germany's women's gymnastics team wore full-length unitards, eschewing the conventional leg-barring leotards worn by most female gymnasts.

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Simone Biles won't defend Olympic title at gymnastics all-around final in Tokyo

U.S. gymnastics great Simone Biles won't defend her Olympic title in the upcoming all-around final as she continues to focus on her mental health, USA Gymnastics announced Wednesday.

After further medical evaluation, Simone Biles has withdrawn from the final individual all-around competition. We wholeheartedly support Simone’s decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being. Her courage shows, yet again, why she is a role model for so many. pic.twitter.com/6ILdtSQF7o

— USA Gymnastics (@USAGym) July 28, 2021

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

DOJ declines to defend Mo Brooks in Eric Swalwell's Capitol riot lawsuit

The Department of Justice declined late Tuesday to represent Rep. Mo Brooks in a civil lawsuit against the Georgia congressman concerning the Capitol riot.

Why it matters: Brooks had argued he should have immunity in the suit, filed by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) against him, former President Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr. and lawyer Rudy Giuliani over the insurrection. He said he was acting as a government employee when he spoke at a rally before the insurrection.

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Katie Ledecky wins gold in first women's 1500m freestyle

Katie Ledecky took home the gold medal in the women's 1,500-meter freestyle swimming race Tuesday evening, becoming the first female swimmer to win the newly added division. Team USA's Erica Sullivan won silver.

Driving the news: The long-distance 1,500m race has traditionally only been available to men at the Olympics, and the Tokyo Games mark the first time that it has been open to women.

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