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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

Chauvin trial leaves cities, activists across America on edge

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The impact of the Derek Chauvin trial is reverberating far beyond the walls of the downtown Minneapolis courtroom.

The state of play: With the trial set to enter its third week, activists across America are watching the proceedings unfold with heavy skepticism that what they perceive as justice will be served.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

The dispiriting housing boom

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It's a discouraging scene: Bidding wars, soaring prices, and fears that homeownership is becoming out of reach for millions of Americans. We're in a housing frenzy, driven by a massive shortage of inventory — and no one seems to be happy about it.

Why it matters: Not all bubbles burst. Real estate, in particular, tends to rise in value much more easily than it falls. Besides, says National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun, this "is not a bubble. It is simply lack of supply."

Updated 6 hours ago - World

China's COVID vaccines have low efficacy rates, official says

China Centers for Disease Control director Gao Fu at a March event in Beijing, China. Photo: Han Haidan/China News Service via Getty Images

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention's director said Saturday authorities are considering mixing COVID-19 vaccines because the country's domestically made doses "don't have very high protection rates," per AP.

Why it matters: The remarks by the Gao Fu at a news conference in the southwestern city of Chengdumark mark the first time a Chinese health official has spoken publicly about the low efficacy of vaccines made in China.