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Evan Vucci / AP

Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, told me minutes after House Republicans passed the American Health Care Act that he gives the most credit for shepherding the revised bill through the house to Mike Pence.

Like other well-funded conservative groups including Club for Growth and Heritage, Phillips' group (the grassroots wing of the Koch Brothers' network), fought the original bill proposed by the White House and Republican leadership.

Turning point: "Just before Easter break when Vice President Pence began floating the compromise language on an opt out waiver for states," Phillips says. "He relentlessly worked the phones and did individual meetings with members, especially the conservative members in the Freedom Caucus and outside groups."

The nervous stretch: For a nervous couple weeks there was no legislative language, only a concept. "Normally, everything would stop right there because you don't trust people in this business," Phillips says. "But most members, and certainly outside groups, trusted Mike Pence. They were willing to say 'let's talk and we are interested even though you don't have language.'"

Why the trust? Phillips says it's because Pence himself took so many Freedom Caucus-style votes when he was a member of the House in the early 2000s — votes that resonate with today's ultra conservative members: bucking Karl Rove and Tom DeLay on No Child Left Behind and Medicare Part D.

What Mark Meadows says: "At the end of the day, it was the personal involvement of the President and Vice President which allowed every member to start to share that trust."

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
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What has and hasn't changed as Biden takes over U.S. foreign policy

Photo Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden swiftly recommitted the U.S. to the Paris climate pact and the World Health Organization, but America's broader foreign policy is in a state of flux between the Trump and Biden eras.

Driving the news: One of the most striking moves from the Biden administration thus far was a show of continuity — concurring with the Trump administration's last-minute determination that China had committed "genocide" against Uyghur Muslims.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: NYC postpones vaccine appointments following shipment delays — Private companies step in to fill vaccine logistics vacuum.
  4. World: Biden will order U.S. to rejoin World Health OrganizationBiden to bring U.S. into global COVAX initiative for equitable vaccine access.
Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congress grants waiver for retired Gen. Lloyd Austin to lead Pentagon

Defense Secretary nominee Lloyd Austin. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Both chambers of Congress on Thursday voted to grant retired Gen. Lloyd Austin a waiver to lead the Pentagon, clearing the path to confirmation for President Biden's nominee for defense secretary.

Why it matters: Austin's nomination received pushback from some lawmakers, including Democrats, who cited a law that requires officers be out of the military for at least seven years before taking the job — a statute intended to reinforce the tradition of civilian control of the Pentagon.