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In an "Axios on HBO" interview, California Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna continued to urge House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to take the $1.8 trillion coronavirus relief deal that the Trump administration offered — and Pelosi rejected — before the election.

Driving the news: Asked if he thinks Pelosi ought to take the deal now, Khanna replied, "If we get $1.8 trillion? I think we would definitely want to make the deal. And it's gonna be catastrophic if we don't."

  • Khanna had urged Pelosi to take the $1.8 trillion deal before the election, but she rebuffed him, saying, "Ro Khanna, that's nice. That isn't what we're going to do."
  • Asked why he thought Pelosi refused to take the deal before the election, Khanna replied, "My guess would be that she thought we would win the Senate, and we would have a bigger majority in the House, and that we would quickly be able to get everything we wanted."
  • "I think if she had known that we wouldn't win the Senate, maybe it would have been a different calculation," Khanna added.

The big picture: Khanna said both parties were to blame for failing to pass a coronavirus relief package before the election (though he said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was the most to blame).

  • He pointed out that it’s “not clear” whether McConnell would have agreed to the larger package. "But our failure, our collective failure to get that stimulus could prove to be a big mistake in American history," he said.
  • "It was a collective failure. I think that's what the voters said."

The other side: “As the Speaker has repeatedly stated, she would not have spent as much time on these talks if there was no prospect for success," said Drew Hammill, Pelosi's deputy chief of staff. "Unfortunately, the White House spent weeks stalling negotiations."

  • "No House Democrat would have voted for a package that didn’t crush the virus and work to address the disparities in how COVID impacts communities of color — among the key items the White House refused to or was unable to resolve in these discussions.”

Go deeper

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.

4 mins ago - Health

Axios AM Deep Dive: Covid forever

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It was 563 days ago that the WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic. This Axios AM Deep Dive, led by healthcare reporter Caitlin Owens, looks at our Covid future.

Federal judge blocks vaccine mandate for NYC teachers

Students are dismissed from the first day of school at PS 133 in Brooklyn on Sept. 13. Photo: Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images

A federal appeals court judge on Friday temporarily blocked New York City schools from enforcing a vaccine mandate for school employees, days before it was set to take effect, AP reports.

Driving the news: The vaccine mandate was set to begin on Monday, prompting concerns over staffing shortages in schools across the nation's largest school system.