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White House and Republican congressional officials are trying to set modest expectations for what they can accomplish on the Hill in an election year.

Be smart: Considering the legislative calendar and the midterm elections, Congress is likely to get even less done this year than it did last year.

  • Taking his cue from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Trump has cooled on welfare reform, which was to be one of the big White House priorities this year.
  • At a presser yesterday that ended a two-day retreat with GOP congressional leaders at Camp David, when a reporter asked why welfare reform hadn't been mentioned for the '18 agenda, POTUS said: "We'll try and do something in a bipartisan way. Otherwise we'll be holding it for a little bit later."
  • An administration official said of the agenda in general: "What we do get done will have to be done in a bipartisan fashion. So what are Democrats willing to do?"

A Republican congressional aide gives us this readout from the retreat:

  • "A good part of 2018 will be to remind folks how 2017 ended. Selling taxes is almost as important as passing tax reform. From employee bonuses to announced investment [by companies] to next month’s withholding changes, that puts more money in people’s paychecks."
  • Why it matters: "Can’t underscore enough how important communicating that is for November '18 prospects. The WH gets that as well."
  • What's next: "Immediate priority is budget deal. Obviously [DACA, the extension of 'Dreamer' protections'] is hanging over that. That should get worked out."
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Go deeper

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

The new Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Axios subject-matter experts brief you on the incoming administration's plans and team.

Rep. Lou Correa tests positive for COVID-19

Lou Correa. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) announced on Saturday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Correa is the latest Democratic lawmaker to share his positive test results after last week's deadly Capitol riot. Correa did not shelter in the designated safe zone with his congressional colleagues during the siege, per a spokesperson, instead staying outside to help Capitol Police.