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

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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Senator Marco Rubio will introduce a bill Wednesday that would bar Chinese-owned companies from qualifying for small business assistance.

The big picture: It's another move in Rubio's campaign to curb Chinese influence. He's recently sounded the alarm on issues ranging from intellectual property theft to human rights violations.

Timing: The bill comes as the Trump administration is reportedly gearing up to limit Chinese companies' ability to invest in U.S. tech companies.

The details:

  • The bill includes businesses that are headquartered in China, are owned by Chinese entities, or have at least 25% of their voting stock owned by Chinese investors.
  • Under current law, any small business that legally operates in the U.S. could qualify for grants or loans under small business assistance.
  • Why it matters: The bill would ensure that money intended to stimulate the growth of American businesses does not go to Chinese-owned firms.

One more thing: Rubio is also adding language to multiple appropriations bills that would ban federal agencies from buying products from ZTE — a Chinese telecom giant that has repeatedly violated U.S. sanctions and has been labeled a national security threat by the Pentagon.

The backdrop: Rubio has been a vocal opponent of President Trump's deal to save ZTE from a Commerce Department ban, which stopped American companies from selling parts to it. He supported the Senate's vote to reinstate the ban.

Go deeper

House passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Photo: Screenshot via C-SPAN

The House approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on a 219-212 vote early Saturday morning, sending it to the Senate for a possible rewrite before it gets to Biden's desk.

The big picture: The vote was a critical first step for the package, which includes $1,400 cash payments for many Americans, a national vaccination program, ramped-up COVID testing and contact tracing, state and local funding and money to help schools reopen.

9 hours ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.