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Rep. Jason Smith (from left), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Minority Whip Steve Scalise. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Bipartisanship - at least over President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan — appears over, with House Democrats ready to approve the measure this week through a party-line vote.

Between the lines: The GOP, which is already whipping against the bill, plans to cast it as a progressive wishlist and argue Democrats are bulldozing Republicans despite Biden's pledge to work with them.

  • "Instead of stimulus, I call it for what it is — the Biden bailout bill," Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.), ranking member of the House Budget Committee, tells Axios. "It's an abusive process and a lot of reckless spending."

But, but, but: Republicans are ignoring their own history as well as public opinion, given the rescue package has widespread bipartisan support nationwide.

  • In 2017, the GOP used the same budget reconciliation process in trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act and pass President Trump's tax cut with simple majority votes. The health care repeal failed when Sen. John McCain gave it his famous thumbs-down; the $1.9 trillion tax cut passed with just 51 votes.
  • Biden is seizing on this — making his case directly to the American people and reminding voters of his years working with Republicans in the Senate.
  • One reminder came Saturday, when Biden visited his old friend Bob Dole. The former Senate Republican leader recently announced he has Stage 4 lung cancer.

Details: Democrats are forging ahead so they can offset the scheduled expiration of unemployment benefits in mid-March. The 591-page legislation includes:

  • Stimulus checks of up to $1,400 per person for Americans making up to $75,000 a year.
  • Increased weekly enhanced unemployment insurance to $400 a week and an extension of those benefits through August.
  • $130 billion for K-12 schools and roughly $40 billion for higher education.
  • $350 billion for state and local governments.
  • Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

What's next: The House is expected to advance the legislation out of its Budget Committee tomorrow, setting it up for a floor vote by Friday or Saturday.

  • The bill faces a tougher fight in the Senate, where Democrats can't afford to lose one party vote, given the chamber's 50-50 split.
  • Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia have already said they are against the bill's minimum-wage provision.

Go deeper: Read the bill.

Go deeper

Updated Feb 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Trump to speak at CPAC next week

Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Former President Trump will speak at next week's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) conference in Florida, his first public appearance since leaving office, a source with direct knowledge tells Axios.

What we're hearing: Trump plans to directly attack President Biden's new immigration plan and will talk about the future of the Republican Party, a source familiar with his speech said.

Burnout, money, concern drive Harris turnover

Vice President Kamala Harris and another potential 2024 presidential candidate, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, appeared together Thursday in Charlotte, N.C. Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images

Burnout, better opportunities and concern about being permanently branded a "Harris person" is driving some of the turnover in Vice President Kamala Harris's office, people familiar with the situation tell Axios.

Why it matters: Harris is not only a heartbeat from the presidency but, by virtue of her office, the presumed 2024 frontrunner if President Biden doesn't seek re-election. There's been an inordinate amount of disarray — and, now, turnover — throughout her tenure.

Updated 3 hours ago - Health

WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Health measures taken to combat COVID-19 before the emergence of Omicron would also help against the new variant of concern, World Health Organization officials said Friday.

What they're saying: Takeshi Kasai, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, said during a virtual briefing broadcast from Manila, Philippines, that border controls imposed by the U.S. and other nations can "buy time" to deal with the variant, but warned "every country and every community must prepare for new surges in cases."

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