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

Now that the interim coronavirus funding bill is approaching the finish line, a heated debate over a much bigger phase 4 rescue package has picked back up, according to conversations with multiple House and Senate aides.

The big picture: At the forefront of the discussion is filling what Democrats see as the gaps in the interim bill — the biggest being more money for the states. Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) proposed a $500 billion fund Sunday night for state and local governments to be included in the next stimulus bill.


What they're saying: The interim bill "is only gonna cover a very short list of discrete things, so there's more work," a House Democratic aide told Axios.

  • "The second biggest microphone in the country right now after Donald Trump is the governors. And the governors are asking for more state and local funding. So it puts Trump and the Republicans in a difficult place when you've got bipartisan pressure to support this," a senior Democratic aide said.

But Trump administration officials think a broader stimulus deal is weeks, if not months, away — and some say these types of programs might not be needed by then if state economies are opened up again.

  • "I would put the skids on [phase 4 talks] because right now we've provided what we need to. We're replenishing the funds that need to be replenished, as of Monday," a senior White House official told Axios.
  • "The ink isn't even dry on these other packages, and the money isn't even out the door yet. Let's focus on these current programs first," a Trump administration official said. "Plus, we're already seeing some states open back up. This is premature."

The bottom line: The earliest a phase 4 bill could be passed is May 4, when the House and Senate are slated to return to the Hill.

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Fauci: Crunch time for coronavirus vaccine as late-stage trials begin

National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Anthony Fauci at a Senate hearing in June. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The first volunteer in a late-stage trial for a coronavirus vaccine developed by Moderna and the National Institutes of Health received a shot in Savannah, Georgia, at 6:45 am on Monday, NIAID Director Anthony Fauci told CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

Catch up quick: Fauci said President Trump was briefed Monday that 89 sites around the country will be enrolling individuals in the phase three trial.

Jul 26, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Senate Republicans grow weary with White House over stimulus bill

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Frustration among many Senate Republicans, not to mention Democrats, toward the White House has hit a fever pitch, with many lawmakers — including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — admitting they could break for the August recess without a stimulus bill.

The latest: The Senate left for the weekend Thursday evening without even circulating a draft bill that McConnell says will be used as a starting point for negotiations — and many blame the White House.

Jul 28, 2020 - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: The rise of coronavirus social bubbles

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: 1,076 U.S. adults were surveyed with ±3.1% margin of error; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Nearly half of Americans say they've established social "bubbles" of people they can trust to follow the rules for minimizing the risk of spreading the coronavirus, according to the latest installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Between the lines: The trend isn't particularly partisan. It is most common in the suburbs and among women, older adults and people with college educations.