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Sen. Orrin Hatch released an ACA proposal. AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File

Two prominent Republicans have come up with a more conservative alternative to the Senate's bipartisan Affordable Care Act bill. The new proposal, from Sen. Orrin Hatch and Rep. Kevin Brady, would waive the ACA's individual and employer mandates in exchange for temporarily funding its cost-sharing subsidies.

Why it matters: This proposal would be harder to pass than the one that's already on the table. But it's a sign that conservatives aren't willing to sit on the sidelines on a process that, so far, has not given them much of what they want.

The details: Hatch and Brady's proposal, which hasn't yet been translated into legislative text, is largely in line with what the White House has said it wants. Their proposal would:

  • Fund the ACA's cost-sharing subsidies for two years
  • Attach new abortion-related conditions on those funds
  • Waive the individual mandate for five years
  • Retroactively waive the employer mandate for two years
  • Expand health savings accounts

The alternative: The bill sponsored by Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray, by contrast, would fund the cost-sharing subsidies for two years; allow more people to buy cheaper, less comprehensive coverage; and make it easier for states to seek waivers from some of the ACA's regulatory requirements.

The bottom line: Few, if any, Democrats could support Hatch-Brady — and that gives it much longer odds than Alexander-Murray, which already has the 60 votes it would need to pass the Senate. The question is whether GOP leaders will try to find a middle ground — and whether the presence of an alternative will stop Alexander-Murray from gaining more GOP support, especially in the House.

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The SPAC surge continues unabated, with 10 new ones formed since Wednesday morning. And that's OK.

Between the lines: There are growing concerns that retail investors are about to get rolled, with smart sponsors taking advantage of dumb money.

Schumer says Senate will stay through weekend to vote on COVID relief

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) accused Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) of going to "ridiculous lengths" to show his opposition to a COVID relief package widely supported by the American public, after Johnson demanded that the entire 600-page bill be read on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Johnson's procedural move will likely add 10 hours to the 20 hours already allotted for debate, during which Republicans will propose amendments to force uncomfortable votes for Democrats. Schumer promised that the Senate will stay in session "no matter how long it takes" to finish voting on the $1.9 trillion rescue package.

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What central bank digital currencies mean for crypto

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Central bank digital currencies, or CBDCs, represent the ultimate ratification of digital finance: Its adoption by the most venerated guardians of the international monetary architecture.

Why it matters: Crypto-evangelists often talk about CBDCs in awed terms. But it's far from clear that the bitcoin-and-ethereum crowd would ultimately benefit from money going digital.