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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has urged White House negotiators not to cut a deal with Democrats on new coronavirus stimulus before the election.

Driving the news: McConnell informed Senate Republicans of the move at a closed-door lunch on Tuesday, two people familiar with his remarks tell Axios. McConnell's remarks were first reported by the Washington Post.

Why it matters: Any agreement between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the White House's top stimulus negotiator, would likely be shot down by Senate Republicans — which could put GOP incumbents in tight races in an even more precarious spot just days away from Nov. 3.

What we're hearing: McConnell told his conference that he signaled to the White House that Pelosi isn't willing to give enough and isn't negotiating in good faith, the two sources said.

  • He also voiced concerns about any distraction to the Senate's plans to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, which he plans to hold a vote on next Monday.

Yes, but: Hours after the Senate GOP lunch, Pelosi and Mnuchin — who dialed in from Israel — spoke again and are moving "closer to an agreement," Pelosi's deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill said.

  • "[B]oth sides are serious about finding a compromise," Hammill added. "The two principals will continue their discussions tomorrow afternoon upon the Secretary's return."

Between the lines: President Trump wants "a big deal" before Nov. 3, and he's indicated his willingness to spend several trillion dollars as he seeks re-election.

  • But that idea faces strong opposition from Republicans wary of another massive pandemic relief package.
  • Mnuchin is widely seen by many GOP lawmakers as someone who is too willing to compromise with Democrats and give in to Pelosi's demands.

What's next: GOP senators want to save face by voting on a smaller, more targeted $500 billion relief bill this week. But the move is largely about optics, and Democrats have said it's too small to garner their support.

Go deeper: McConnell says stimulus "unlikely" before election despite Trump's desperation

Go deeper

Jan 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy
Scoop

White House plots "full-court press" for $1.9 trillion relief plan

National Economic Council director Brian Deese speaks during a White House news briefing. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Biden White House is deploying top officials to get a wide ideological spectrum of lawmakers, governors and mayors on board with the president’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief proposal, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The broad, choreographed effort shows just how crucially Biden views the stimulus to the nation's recovery and his own political success.

Most Senate Republicans join Rand Paul effort to dismiss Trump's 2nd impeachment trial

Photo: Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images

Forty-five Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, supported an effort to dismiss former President Trump's second impeachment trial.

Why it matters: The vote serves as a precursor to how senators will approach next month's impeachment trial, making it highly unlikely the Senate will vote to convict. The House impeached Trump for a second time for "incitement of insurrection" following events from Jan 6. when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.

The Mischief Makers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers are emerging as troublemakers within their parties and political thorns for their leadership.

Why it matters: We're calling this group "The Mischief Makers" — members who threaten to upend party unity — the theme eclipsing Washington at the moment — and potentially jeopardize the Democrats' or Republicans' position heading into the 2022 midterms.

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