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J. Scott Applewhite, Evan Vucci / AP

Steve Bannon and Paul Ryan will never be drinking buddies. And they'll probably never agree on immigration policy. But they're seeing eye-to-eye on a crucial area of policy and happy to let the world know. (Just see these stories in The Hill and Breitbart, with headlines touting their newfound accord.)

The Bannon-Ryan Common Ground: A tax reform plan. Specifically, the border adjustment plan that would raise tax imports.

Bannon has told associates he believes the evolving Ryan-Trump tax reform program "is a strong American nationalist program." Attaching Ryan's plan to the word "nationalist" is the highest praise Bannon can dole out. When he was chairman of Breitbart, Bannon viewed Ryan as a "globalist" enemy intent on undermining American sovereignty through open borders and free trade.

Why it Matters: The fact that Trump's chief strategist believes the tax plan is following nationalist principles means it has a better chance of success. Ryan is seizing the opportunity. In private meetings with Bannon and senior staff, the Speaker has described the border adjustment plan as "responsible nationalism," according to someone in the room when the Speaker said this.

Ryan and Bannon are, in a limited way, talking the same language. Ryan is making the pitch that the border adjustment policy — the key to funding Republican tax reform — would level the playing field for American jobs and American-made goods. He's using the language of Trump's populist movement.

But their unity has limits: There's no sign these two have — or will ever — come together on either trade or immigration, but tax policy is a different story. Seeing eye-to-eye on tax reform has allowed for a slight thawing in the personal relationship between Bannon and Ryan. But don't believe anyone who tells you they're becoming buddies. Says a source close to Ryan: "It's fair to say they have agreed on our tax plan and made a connection over this particular issue."

What's Next? Trump has given mixed signals on border adjustment. He trashed the idea to the Wall Street Journal last Friday. But a few days later he told us that he wasn't so opposed to it after all. It wouldn't surprise us if Trump ultimately backs the plan.

Read the Axios Facts Matter on border adjustment

Go deeper

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker
Updated 3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Janet Yellen co-opts Reaganomics phrase for new Davos speech

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen at a speech this week. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The U.S. needs to focus on increasing its productive potential, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told world leaders Friday, calling for what she terms "modern supply side economics."

Why it matters: She co-opted a phrase traditionally used by political conservatives to describe low-tax and deregulatory policies — and framed the Biden administration's initiatives as the best path forward to achieve greater national prosperity.

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