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Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

The budget agreement Congress reached tonight would give the National Institutes of Health a $2 billion increase for the second year in a row, a Senate GOP aide confirms. That means congressional negotiators basically told the Trump administration to take a hike. The administration wanted to slash the agency's funding by $1.2 billion in the bill to fund the federal government for the rest of the year.

Between the lines: This part of the agreement had been worked out weeks ago between the top appropriators, including Sen. Roy Blunt and Rep. Tom Cole. They had wanted to build on the earlier $2 billion increase NIH had received last year, the first substantial funding boost in 12 years. The only question was whether Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney would convince them to change their minds. He didn't.

Go deeper

Fed chair says low interest rates aren't driving stock market prices

Jerome Powell. Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / Getty Images

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell told reporters on Wednesday that rock-bottom interest rates aren't playing a role in driving stock prices higher, while noting that vulnerabilities to the financial system are "moderate."

Why it matters: The statement comes amid unshakeable stock prices and a Reddit-fueled market frenzy — prompting widespread fears of a bubble and the role monetary policy has played in that.

2 hours ago - World

Biden freezes U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official tells Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Podcasts

Robert Downey Jr. launches VC funds to help save the planet

Robert Downey Jr. on Wednesday announced the launch of two venture capital funds focused on startups in the sustainability sector, the latest evolution of a project he launched two years ago called Footprint Coalition.

Between the lines: This is a bit of life imitating art, as Downey Jr. spent 11 films portraying a character who sought to save the planet (or, in some cases, the universe).