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Data: BLS. Chart: Axios Visuals

Friday's deeply disappointing jobs report should light a fire under Congress, which has dithered despite signs the economy is struggling to kick back into gear.

Driving the news: President-elect Biden said Friday afternoon in Wilmington that he supports another round of $1,200 checks.

Why it matters: Lawmakers need to pass a funding bill — which they plan to pair with a stimulus deal — by next Friday to avert a government shutdown.

  • Today's jobs report: 245,000.
  • Last month's jobs report: 610,000.
  • 400,000 people dropped out of the labor force last month.
  • America has 9.8 million fewer jobs than in February.

Between the lines: Republican and Democratic leaders are sounding more optimistic that Congress has a shot at passing coronavirus stimulus in the near future.

  • There is still a lot of skepticism from lawmakers across Congress.
  • The parties are still far apart on some of the package’s key priorities, mainly more money for state and local aid and widespread liability protections.

A promising sign: Many Senate Republicans who have balked at a high price tag for the deal, like John Thune and Lindsey Graham, said they are open to supporting the $908 billion framework rolled out by a bipartisan group of lawmakers earlier this week.

  • Speaker Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Schumer said they support the bill — despite months of insisting they wouldn’t agree to anything under $2.2 trillion. 

The bottom line: 34.9% of the 10.7 million people unemployed in November were permanent job losses, noted S&P Global U.S. Chief Economist Beth Ann Bovino in an analyst email:

  • "The harsh reality is that we don't expect the economy to regain all the 22.2 million jobs lost from the pandemic until first-quarter 2023."

Go deeper

Top Democrats introduce bill to raise minimum wage to $15 by 2025

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A group of top Democrats on Tuesday introduced legislation to gradually increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour over five years.

Why it matters: The policy, which has widespread support among Democratic lawmakers, aligns with what President Joe Biden has called for in his emergency COVID-19 relief package. It would more than double the current minimum wage of $7.25.

Jan 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Minority Mitch still setting Senate agenda

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Chuck Schumer may be majority leader, yet in many ways, Mitch McConnell is still running the Senate show — and his counterpart is about done with it.

Why it matters: McConnell rolled over Democrats unapologetically, and kept tight control over his fellow Republicans, while in the majority. But he's showing equal skill as minority leader, using political jiujitsu to convert a perceived weakness into strength.

McConnell defends filibuster: "You don’t destroy the Senate for fleeting advantage"

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday condemned Democratic support for abolishing the legislative filibuster, arguing that it would create a "scorched-earth Senate."

Why it matters: Many Democrats are pushing to use their newfound majority to eliminate the 60-vote threshold needed for major legislation, which would make it easier to pass progressive priorities. Resistance from Republicans and moderate Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (W.V.) has made that unlikely.