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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

If Democrats win the Senate, they may test the limits of “budget reconciliation” with a blitz to pass as much as possible with 50 votes, pending a decision on whether to finally abolish the filibuster and its 60-vote requirement.

The big picture: Biden, if he's elected, will front-load his agenda with coronavirus stimulus and attempt several other big-ticket items in his first year, aware that his political capital will start to diminish as soon as he takes office.

  • After a pandemic push that could top $3 trillion, he'll have to decide how to prioritize immigration, climate, taxes, health care, prescription drugs and student loans.
  • Every interest group thinks its legislation should go first. Many will be disappointed.

What we're hearing: With Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying the Senate is unlikely to consider a relief package this year, Biden may be forced to do a short-term package right away.

  • But some Biden advisers think the White House will only get one shot and want to go as big as possible on the first pass.
  • They're determined to learn from the $787 billion stimulus of 2009, which most economists now think was too small.

Editor's note: This post was corrected to reflect that pandemic relief could top $3 trillion (not $3 billion).

Go deeper

Nov 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden aims to deflect fights over first Cabinet picks

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has made his choice for secretary of state, three people familiar with the matter tell Axios, moving quickly to assemble a Senate-confirmable Cabinet even as President Trump refuses to concede the election.

The big picture: Biden already has said he's made his choice for Treasury, and both picks may be aimed at defusing confirmation fights with Senate Republicans and internal battles with Democratic progressives.

Updated 6 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Sen. Kelly Loeffler to return to campaign trail after 2nd negative test

Sen. Kelly Loeffler addresses supporters during a rally on Thursday. Photo: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Sen. Kelly Loeffler's (R-Ga.) campaign announced Monday that she "looks forward to getting back out on the campaign trail" after testing negative for COVID-19 for a second time, following earlier conflicting results.

Why it matters: Loeffler has been campaigning at events ahead of a Jan. 5 runoff in elections that'll decide which party holds the Senate majority. Vice President Mike Pence was with her on Friday.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Key government agency says Biden transition can formally begin

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy. Photo: Alex Edelman/CNP/Getty Images

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy said in a letter to President-elect Joe Biden on Monday that she has determined the transition from the Trump administration can formally begin.

Why it matters: Murphy, a Trump appointee, had come under fire for delaying the so-called "ascertainment" and withholding the funds and information needed for the transition to begin while Trump's legal challenges played out.