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Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

President Biden spent his first 100 days trying to engineer the end of the coronavirus and start of a job boom. The next 100 are more audacious and risky: Try to re-engineer the very fundamentals of America — inequality, voting rights and government’s role in directing economic growth.

Why it matters: Biden advisers feel they have a huge opening to raise taxes and pick winners in the energy markets, in part because Republicans and business no longer lock arms — and wallets — in opposition to the reordering of capitalism.

People who talk regularly to Biden tell Axios he's brimming with FDR-like aspirations after early wins.

  • "He wants to take an even bigger bite at the apple," said one confidant. "He has full confidence in himself."
  • But friends say he's still very realistic — not cocky or grandiose.

One top Biden adviser added: "[T]he American people are more interested in the results Biden delivers than how he got those results."

  • So look for Biden to court Republicans, but not yield to them, as he pushes a $2.3 trillion infrastructure package, to be followed by $1.5 trillion for his American Families Plan — including child care, paid family leave, universal pre-K and free community college.
  • It's the unspoken Biden formula: Talk like a rosy bipartisan; act like a ruthless partisan. 

Between the lines: The Biden next-100-day agenda is more activist than most expected. But, three data-backed trends have encouraged his team to push the envelope:

  • His poll numbers are strong: Over the weekend, Fox News put his approval at 54%, NBC News at 53%, and ABC News/Washington Post at 52%.
  • The economy is growing — and many think it's poised for an historic boom. In Biden's address to Congress on Wednesday night, look for him to point to the recovery as a vindication of his strategy so far.
  • Corporations are cutting off, or cutting down, money to the GOP, which has been forced to find other sources of cash. And CEOs are taking public stands that sound a lot more Biden than Trump.

The No. 1 emotion we hear from Biden officials is urgency:

  • Biden knows his Senate majority is perilous — he's one elderly senator's health crisis away from it collapsing.
  • Many of the same officials in charge of Biden’s program have fresh memories of the summer of 2009. Doomed negotiations with Republicans over the Affordable Care Act extended into the August recess. That gave well-funded Republican groups the chance to gather forces and bludgeon Democrats in their home districts. This helped create the conditions for the bloodbath of the 2010 midterms.

To be clear: The conditions here are different. Biden’s proposals are far more popular — even his tax proposals. This package is proving far harder to demonize than Obamacare.

  • But Biden is racing against several self-imposed clocks. He doesn't want his infrastructure dragging through the fall — and risk slipping into next year.
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Go deeper

Jul 30, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Infrastructure cap will force fuzzy math

President Biden answers reporters' questions after a speech Thursday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's (D-Ariz.) warning that she’s opposed to a budget reconciliation bill costing $3.5 trillion will force Senate Democrats and the White House to either trim the proposals in it or tinker with how many years they'll run.

Why it matters: Such gamesmanship will be necessary if lawmakers and the Biden administration want to keep the support of progressives and centrists. But it will lead to a bill with costs and durations as uneven as the Manhattan skyline.

By the numbers: Clocking the House

Data: Brookings Institution, United States Senate; Chart: Connor Rothschild/Axios

Like their Senate colleagues, House members are spending more days in session than past congresses — but far fewer hours per day on average, according to data from the Brookings Institution and the U.S. Senate.

Why it matters: The Senate may have come to an agreement on the bipartisan infrastructure package on Wednesday, but it still faces chaos in the House — and threatens to cut short representatives’ August recess late next month.

Updated 5 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 — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  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

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