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Photo: Calla Kessler/The Washington Post via Getty Images

On Saturday morning, a senior administration official told me President Trump has "come to realize that there's not a path to 60 votes" to pay for his border wall before the November elections. "The president, I think, is not really in veto mode right now," the official said.

Between the lines: Trump has privately assured Republican leaders Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell that he accepts his border wall won't be funded before the midterms. He's promised them he won't shut down the federal government at the end of September in a fight over the wall.

  • On Saturday evening, Trump tweeted: "When will Republican leadership learn that they are being played like a fiddle by the Democrats on Border Security and Building the Wall? Without Borders, we don’t have a country. With Open Borders, which the Democrats want, we have nothing but crime! Finish the Wall!"
  • But Trump is still deeply frustrated. And the senior official I cite above acknowledged there's "always a chance" Trump dramatically changes his mind and refuses to sign a spending bill without wall money.

What's next? President Trump expects to sign his first package of spending bills late this week. That "minibus" will fund the Energy and Water, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Legislative Branch Appropriations bills for 2019.

  • But the really important package is the Defense, Labor and Health and Human Services minibus that could pass the Senate as soon as this week.
  • It’s the largest spending bill and the first time the Defense Department has been funded properly, and on time, since 2008. Once the DoD package is signed into law, this year will have the most spending bills enacted on time since 1996.
  • This bill also matters because attached to it will be a continuing resolution (CR) to fund all the agencies not covered by regular spending bills, keeping the government open until Dec. 7.

Bottom line: That CR will reveal that Trump won't get his wall money. He'll get the $1.6 billion he requested in his first budget, but nowhere near the $25 billion he once hoped for, or the $5 billion he asked for.

  • Republicans agree almost unanimously that a shutdown would shatter their fragile holds on each chamber. For now, they have to pray the president sticks with the plan.

Go deeper

House passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Photo: Screenshot via C-SPAN

The House approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on a 219-212 vote early Saturday morning, sending it to the Senate for a possible rewrite before it gets to Biden's desk.

The big picture: The vote was a critical first step for the package, which includes $1,400 cash payments for many Americans, a national vaccination program, ramped-up COVID testing and contact tracing, state and local funding and money to help schools reopen.

8 hours ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.