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On Tuesday afternoon, members of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus met with top tax guy Kevin Brady on Capitol Hill to discuss his controversial "border adjustment tax."

No fireworks in the meeting, according to one source in the room and another briefed on the conversation. That doesn't mean, however, that Freedom Caucus members are about to embrace GOP leadership's plan to raise $1.2 trillion by raising taxes on imports and lowering them on exports.

Some Freedom Caucus members support border adjustability but a source with a good grasp on the group's numbers says the majority still opposes it.

What's next: Everyone following this issue agrees that the key variable now is Donald Trump. If the President decides to get forcefully behind the plan — and he seems to be inching up to it — he could intimidate House members into following him. The Senate will be tougher but lots of members understand that 2017 is a now-or-never year for tax reform. If Trump, Paul Ryan, Steve Bannon, and committee chairs like Brady all pile on, the plan will be hard for many to resist.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
3 mins ago - Economy & Business

The fragile recovery

Data: Department of Labor; Chart: Axios Visuals

The number of people receiving unemployment benefits is falling but remains remarkably high three weeks before pandemic assistance programs are set to expire. More than 1 million people a week are still filing for initial jobless claims, including nearly 300,000 applying for pandemic assistance.

By the numbers: As of Nov. 14, 20.2 million Americans were receiving unemployment benefits of some kind, including more than 13.4 million on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs that were created as part of the CARES Act and end on Dec. 26.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
23 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The top candidates Biden is considering for key energy and climate roles

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has urged President-elect Joe Biden to nominate Mary Nichols, chair of California's air pollution regulator, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: The reported push by Schumer could boost Nichol's chances of leading an agency that will play a pivotal role in Biden's vow to enact aggressive new climate policies — especially because the plan is likely to rest heavily on executive actions.

U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows

Data: BLS; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy added 245,000 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate fell to 6.7% from 6.9%, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The labor market continues to recover even as coronavirus cases surge— though it's still millions of jobs short of the pre-pandemic level. The problem is that the rate of recovery is slowing significantly.

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