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AP file photo

The House Republican conference held a conference call Saturday afternoon to discuss what will be a pivotal week, with health care, tax reform, and government funding all colliding. According to three sources on the call the conversation was very high level, and there was no Q&A.

Key takeaways: House Speaker Paul Ryan told his colleagues they'll do health care when health care is ready and the whip team knows it has the votes. He also said the government funding bill is the top priority for the week, to keep the federal agencies from running out of money on April 28.

There's been a lot of talk about a health care vote this coming week, but leadership won't be rushed by some arbitrary timeline — a big lesson Ryan's office took from the failure of the first health care bill.

Other highlights:

  • Ryan said the House Appropriations Committee has been working closely with the White House on the government funding bill, so "wherever we land will be a product the president can and will support."
  • The speaker also reiterated that now is the Republican Party's time and the country expects them to lead. It was a broad statement — emphasizing it was a pivotal time for the party to prove it can govern.
  • Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve Scalise both made big-picture remarks. Scalise said that if deals come together on health care and appropriations, they will of course whip those when Congress comes back into town.
  • House Appropriations Committee chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen said he was making good progress on an agreement for the government funding bills, but there was no final agreement yet.
  • Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Greg Walden reiterated that any health care agreement will have to offer states the flexibility that will allow them to bring down premium costs, and it will have to take care of pre-existing conditions.
  • The leadership team singled out for praise Freedom Caucus leader Mark Meadows and Tuesday Group co-chair Tom MacArthur and everyone else who's been talking over the break to reach an agreement on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

Go deeper

Scoop: CDC lets child migrant shelters fill to 100% despite COVID concern

Intensive care tents at overflow shelter in Carrizo Springs, Texas. Photo: Sergio Flores/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control is allowing shelters handling child migrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border to expand to full capacity, abandoning a requirement they stay near 50% to inhibit the spread of the coronavirus, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The fact the country's premier health advisory agency is permitting a change in COVID-19 protocols indicates the scale of the immigration crisis. A draft memo obtained by Axios conceded "facilities should plan for and expect to have COVID-19 cases."

8 Senate Democrats vote against adding $15 minimum wage to COVID relief

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Eight Democratic senators on Friday voted against Sen. Bernie Sanders' amendment to ignore a ruling by the Senate parliamentarian and add a $15 minimum wage provision to the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

The state of play: The vote was held open for hours on Friday afternoon — even after every senator had voted — due to a standoff in negotiations over the next amendments that the Senate will take up.

CDC: Easing mask mandates led to higher COVID cases and deaths

Customer at a supermarket chain in Austin, Texas. Montinique Monroe/Getty Images

Easing mask restrictions and on-site dining have increased COVID-19 cases and deaths, according to a study out Friday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: The report's findings converge with actions from governors this week easing mask mandates and announcing plans to reopen nonessential businesses like restaurants.