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In an interview for "Axios on HBO," I challenged White House chief of staff Ron Klain on the contradiction between trying to go big on both big government and bipartisanship.

Driving the news: "I don't think it's big government to fix the ten bridges in this country that are most economically significant and are in serious" disrepair, Klain replied.

  • "Most of these Republicans have stood in front of a Rotary Club or a Kiwanis Club and given a speech about how we need to fix our bridges, roads, our highways, our infrastructure. People stand up and give speeches all the time about how people should have affordable childcare. It's basic, basic things that we're putting forward. And, again, I think they should have bipartisan support."

In an interview with Jonathan Swan on last night's "Axios on HBO," Sen. Bernie Sanders indicated that's he's impatient with President Biden's quest for Republican support for his infrastructure package.

  • Asked to respond, Klain told me: "What President Biden has said is he wants to try to find common ground with Republicans on these economic measures that have been bipartisan in the past. ... These things shouldn't divide our political parties."

Klain brushed off a question about whether Biden's ready to run against Donald Trump again in 2024.

  • "My experience ... is that incumbent presidents are judged on their record. President Trump had a bad record in 2020. Joe Biden is hopefully assembling a powerful record to run on if he runs for reelection in 2024."
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Go deeper

Aug 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden officials: Trump left bare cupboard on Afghanistan

Photo: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senior national security officials presiding over a historic foreign policy collapse are privately expressing deep frustrations about the thin Afghanistan withdrawal plans left behind by Donald Trump.

Why it matters: Many experienced operatives in both parties are aghast that President Biden and his team didn't ready better preparations over nearly seven months since taking office.

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

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