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House Speaker Paul Ryan on Capitol Hill. Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein / Getty Images

House Speaker Paul Ryan is expected to tell House GOP members Wednesday morning that last night's special election in western Pennsylvania was much closer than it should have been — and that continued Democratic enthusiasm should serve as a wakeup call, according to a person familiar.

What to watch: Ryan is also expected to argue that Democrat Conor Lamb's strategy —
which Ryan will frame as campaigning as a conservative in a conservative-leaning district — is why the race was razor thin. But the suggestion that Lamb was unique could be a hard message for Ryan to sell, as the GOP has consistently fallen short in key elections in Virginia, Alabama, and New Jersey over the past year.

  • Ryan will say Lamb employed a strategy that will be very tough for other Democrats to replicate in the fall, arguing that Lamb actively distanced himself from Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic brand.
  • He'll also reiterate the importance of selling the tax cuts and note that every single Democrat opposed what he views as an increasingly popular law. 

Go deeper

Vaccine hesitancy drops, but with partisan divide

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

69% of the public intends to get a COVID vaccine or already has, up significantly from 60% in November, according to a report out Friday from the Pew Research Center.

Yes, but: The issue has become even more partisan, with 56% of Republicans who say they want or have already received a coronavirus vaccine compared to 83% of Democrats.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
44 mins ago - Energy & Environment

China's 5-year plan is hazy on climate

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

China's highly anticipated 5-year plan revealed on Friday provides little new information about its climate initiatives, leaving plenty to discuss in multinational meetings this year and lots of blanks for China to fill in later.

Driving the news: The top-line targets for 2025, per state media, aim to lower energy intensity by 13.5% and carbon emissions intensity by 18% — that is, measures of energy use and emissions relative to economic output.

Vaccine dreams juice jobs report

Data: FRED; Chart: Axios Visuals

Good news for your Friday: the economy added a whopping 379,000 jobs in February — far outpacing expectations.

Why it matters: Virus cases eased in recent weeks and states lifted restrictions, helping fuel a hiring surge. It's proof of how much control the pandemic has over the job market.