Dec 21, 2017

McConnell: Welfare & entitlement reform not on 2018 agenda

Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell threw cold water Thursday on the idea of doing welfare and entitlement reform on a partisan basis next year. He told Axios' Mike Allen that he "would not expect to see" welfare reform on the agenda in 2018.

"We have to have Democratic involvement. So things like infrastructure...to do something in that area we're going to have to have Democratic participation."

Why this matters: If McConnell doesn't want to do welfare reform in the upper chamber — a politically risky endeavor, to say the least — it's not happening, no matter how badly Speaker Paul Ryan, who has said he'd like to use reconciliation to take these on in 2018, wants it.

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Hospitals are starting to get their coronavirus cash infusion

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The federal government is sending $64 billion to hospitals, post-acute facilities and other medical providers to help cope with the coronavirus fallout.

Yes, but: Even though more funding is coming, safety net and rural hospitals fear they are getting a raw deal from the way some of the money is being distributed.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - Health

Biden, Sanders work toward truce on big issues

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden isn’t about to become Bernie Sanders, but he’s signaling that there’s potential for more common ground on issues such as health care, student debt, climate change and more in the weeks ahead.

What to watch: As Biden courts Sanders' endorsement, their teams will hold policy discussions in the next few weeks with the expectation that Biden will incorporate some elements of Sanders' agenda, a person familiar with those plans tells Axios.

Some Trump aides eye May 1 start to coronavirus reopening

President Trump was flanked at yesterday's briefing by HHS Secretary Alex Azar (far left), Vice President Pence and Dr. Deborah Birx. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump's aides, encouraged by virus data showing fewer deaths than once projected, are working behind the scenes to deliver on his vow to reopen America "sooner rather than later."

What to watch for: A senior White House official said there’s a lot of internal energy pushing for May 1, because that's the end of the White House's "30 Days to Slow the Spread."