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Famous last words but our sources at the highest levels in the White House and on Capitol Hill genuinely believe two things could happen this week:

  1. A healthcare bill passes the House.
  2. Successful passage of a government funding bill. (I asked a top source on Sunday afternoon what the final outstanding items were on the bill and instead of listing items, as the source usually would, the source kept saying "we're very close" and was confident congress would pass it before the 1-week temporary spending bill expires.)

GOP leadership is nervous about jinxing either of these events, and nobody wants to make bold proclamations about healthcare in particular (given how burned they've been in the past), but the optimism is genuine. We're hearing from folks who've been cynical all along that they really think this could happen for the first time since version 1.0 failed.

  • It's unlikely there'll be any significant changes to the amended healthcare text as it currently stands.
  • House leadership is desperate to just get healthcare out of the House. They want it to become the Senate's problem for a while.
  • Mark Meadows is getting good reviews. Even Republicans in leadership who loathe the Freedom Caucus leader admit he's delivered. He's got the big name, most intractable conservatives like Jim Jordan to "yes" and it's a huge help that the most truculent conservative outside groups are now supportive.
  • Members are still digesting the amendment. Some of them went home Friday to see their kids graduate, so have been a bit slow on the uptake. They've been talking to the whip team throughout the weekend and there'll be more meetings on Monday.
  • Moderates are still worried about higher costs for people with pre-existing conditions. They're still irritated they weren't consulted enough in the process. And they know the bill is going to get transformed in the Senate, so they aren't happy about taking a tough vote for something that'll never see the light of day.

What the White House thinks: Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus both genuinely believe a vote is imminent. It's widely acknowledged within the West Wing that they made a mistake the first time around by outsourcing the process to Paul Ryan and HHS Secretary Tom Price.

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”