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Evan Vucci / AP

West Wing officials had been sweating the health-care vote more than they let on. A White House source texted Axios' Jonathan Swan last night: "Needed that win. It was like a fog lifted."

  • Many on Trump's staff knew that the first bill was a dog, even though they had to sell it publicly. The way history is being written internally is that Healthcare 1.0 was outsourced to Speaker Ryan and HHS Secretary Tom Price, which is now seen at highest levels as a major mistake. For 2.0, letting Vice President Pence play quiet broker with the House factions worked much better. (More on Pence's role here.)
  • Reality check: Yesterday's Rose Garden celebration (a rare gesture when a bill has passed one chamber, and is probably months from the president's desk) could become Trump's "Mission Accomplished" if the bill bogs down in the Senate, or on its return trip to the House.
  • Sound smart: House leaders knew the fragile vote could unravel if they delayed. But now members have rushed into voting for a measure that has zero chance of becoming law in its current, controversial form. And they did it for Trump, who could wind up costing some of them their seats.

What's next: The Senate will radically rewrite the House bill, which will take at least a month, and maybe two. But Mitch McConnell will allow the wheels to turn. A top aide says: "He wants to get it done."

Subscribe to Axios AM/PM for a daily rundown of what's new and why it matters, directly from Mike Allen.
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Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

China and Russia vaccinate the world — for now

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

While the U.S. and Europe focus on vaccinating their own populations, China and Russia are sending millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses to countries around the world.

Why it matters: China's double success in controlling its domestic outbreak and producing several viable vaccines has allowed it to focus on providing doses abroad — an effort that could help to save lives across several continents.

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology

Report: China will dominate AI unless U.S. invests more

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photo: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S., which once had a dominant head start in artificial intelligence, now has just a few year's lead on China and risks being overtaken unless government steps in, according to a new report to Congress and the White House.

Why it matters: Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who chaired the committee that issued the report, tells Axios that the U.S. risks dire consequences if it fails to both invest in key technologies and fully integrate AI into the military.

Americans agree about more issues than they realize

Data: Populace Inc.; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Many Americans assume the rest of the country doesn't share their political and policy priorities — but they're often wrong, according to new polling by Populace, first seen by Axios.

Why it matters: The polling reveals that despite growing political polarization, Americans share similar long-term goals and priorities for the country.