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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The imminent enactment of Democrats' $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package creates space for lawmakers and the White House to craft infrastructure plans with big climate and energy-related provisions.

Why it matters: President Biden, during the campaign, vowed to make low-carbon energy, climate-resilient infrastructure and transportation projects a big focus of an economic recovery package. And the Texas power crisis could give fresh momentum to investments in grid modernization.

What we're watching: A major package isn't expected to come up for votes for months, but Capitol Hill hearings this week and going forward will offer glimpses into lawmakers' thinking.

They include...

  • On Wednesday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee holds a hearing on "addressing climate change in the electricity sector and fostering economic growth.”
  • A House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee panel has a Wednesday hearing on the environmental and economic case for rail transport.
  • The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee meets Thursday for a hearing on power system reliability, resilience and affordability.

But, but, but: There are lots of questions right now, such as how many different packages will move (one thing to watch is the need to reauthorize five-year transportation programs), how much Democrats will again look to use budget reconciliation, and more.

What they're saying: Capital Alpha Partners' James Lucier, in a note, said the COVID-19 package passed more quickly and at a higher amount than he expected.

  • "As a result, Democrats may feel increased confidence in offering an aggressive clean energy and infrastructure package as part of a bigger 'economic recovery plan' toward the end of the year," he writes.
  • But Lucier's note also cautions that this will likely be more complicated than the big relief package that's expected to win final approval this week.
  • "There will be more separate topics involved and thus more committees. The House-Senate Conference committee could take a long time," he writes.

The intrigue: Sen. Joe Manchin, who chairs the energy committee, tells "Axios on HBO" that he doesn't want Biden's climate and infrastructure package to move through reconciliation.

  • That's the process Democrats just used for the COVID-19 relief package that makes certain spending and revenue measures immune from Senate filibuster, which is very important in the narrowly divided chamber.
  • Manchin also said he wants a big infrastructure package paid for with tax increases, including a higher corporate rate and higher taxes on the wealthy.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Updated 6 hours ago - Technology

A dark view of the future of autonomous weapons

A still from the video "If Human: Kill ( )." Image: Future of Life Institute

A new short film warns of the coming risks posed by the development and proliferation of lethal autonomous weapons.

Why it matters: Drones with the ability to autonomously target and kill without the assistance of a human operator are reportedly already being used on battlefields, and time is running out to craft a global ban of what could be a destabilizing and terrifying new class of weapon.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine — Pfizer could have vaccine data for children under five by end of 2021, CEO says.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Prosecutors charge parents of Michigan school shooting suspect

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The parents of a 15-year-old accused of killing four students and wounding seven other people at a Michigan high school have been charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, according to court documents.

The latest: Lawyers for James and Jennifer Crumbley told the Detroit News they are "returning to the area to be arraigned," after law enforcement officials announced a search for the Crumbleys had been initiated.