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Trump Pence, McConnell and Ryan in the Oval Office. Photo: Evan Vucci / AP

Momentum is shifting towards the House taking up and passing the Senate budget. The House Freedom Caucus and other House conservatives have signaled to leadership that they'd be willing to comply with President Trump's request to move quickly and skip the conference. House and Senate sources were optimistic Thursday evening after working all day on this deal; but nothing is sealed yet.

Why this matters: If they cut this deal it shows that Republicans in both the House and Senate are willing to bend over backwards and make concessions so tax reform can get moving.

  • Top sources in both chambers signal it's likely — though not certain — that the Senate adds a budget amendment that appeases the House. Then the House can pick up and pass the Senate budget, paving the way to get to tax reform. The amendment is expected to be highly technical in nature; and we don't have full details yet.
  • A source close to House Budget Chairman Diane Black: "Chairman Black has been working with the White House and House and Senate leadership on an amendment to the Senate budget that would allow both chambers to be unified and move quickly to tax reform."

Go deeper

The modern way to hire a big-city police chief

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

When it comes to picking a city's top cop, closed-door selection processes have been replaced by highly public exercises where everyone gets to vet the candidates — who must have better community-relations skills than ever.

Why it matters: In the post-George-Floyd era, with policing under utmost scrutiny, the choosing of a police chief has become something akin to an election, with the need to build consensus around a candidate. And the candidate pool has gotten smaller.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
18 mins ago - Economy & Business

Speculative crypto art market takes off

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Move over, GameStop. The newest speculative game in town is NFTs — digital files that can be owned and traded on a plethora of new online platforms.

Why it matters: Most NFTs include some kind of still or moving image, which makes them similar to many physical art objects. Some of them, including a gif of Nyan Cat flying through the sky with a pop-tart body and rainbow trail, can be worth more than your house.

New coronavirus cases fall by 20%

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New coronavirus infections continued their sharp decline over the past week, and are now back down to pre-Thanksgiving levels.

The big picture: Given the U.S.’ experience over the past year, it can be hard to trust anything that looks like good news, without fearing that another shoe is about to drop. But the U.S. really is doing something right lately. Cases are way down, vaccinations are way up, and that’s going to save a lot of lives.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

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