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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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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

Apr 25, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden's three tools for selling progressive policies: Jobs, jobs, jobs

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden has found a key tool for selling the most progressive parts of his agenda during his first 100 days: make them all about jobs.

Why it matters: Long considered a centrist Democrat, Biden has had to court and cater to his party's progressive wing to maintain support in a narrowly divided Congress. Talking jobs also has the benefit of resonating with the moderates and conservatives he needs in 2022 and beyond.

Polls show Biden approval in low 50s at 100-day mark

President Biden at the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate on April 23. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Just over half of Americans approve of the job President Biden is doing as he approaches the 100th day of his term, NBC News and ABC News/Washington Post polls out Sunday indicate.

Why it matters: Biden has spent trillions within months of taking office to combat the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, while overseeing a national vaccination campaign and facing backlash for a growing humanitarian crisis at the border.

Apr 25, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden close to naming ambassadors for EU and NATO

President Biden walks with his sister, Valerie Biden Owens, after attending Mass in Delaware on Saturday. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden is leaning toward nominating Mark Gitenstein to be his ambassador to the European Union and Julie Smith as his envoy to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Driving the news: Some Biden advisers want to have the EU and NATO ambassadors announced ahead of Biden’s first foreign trip as president, when he heads to the United Kingdom for the G-7 and then Brussels for a NATO summit in June.

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