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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) dropped a bomb on lawmakers Thursday morning when he outlined an ambitious timeline propelling the bipartisan infrastructure proposal toward floor action next week.

Why it matters: The senators involved have their work cut out for them. There's still a lot of concern about how to pay for the $1 trillion bill, which is key to shoring up Republican support for the measure.

  • The group of 10 negotiators huddled for hours Thursday afternoon in a room on the first floor of the Capitol, working to resolve the remaining — and most controversial — sticking points.
  • White House officials Steve Ricchetti, Brian Deese and Louisa Terrell joined them roughly an hour in, until they eventually broke and the senators flew home for the weekend.
  • The group said it plans to continue negotiating throughout the weekend, with the goal of producing legislative text by the time the Senate returns on Monday.

What they're saying: "The good news is is that we are all still talking. The bad news is we've got a pretty tight timeframe," Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told reporters.

Between the lines: Axios reported early Thursday that a prominent pay-for initially in the bipartisan framework — a $40 billion infusion to help the Internal Revenue Service with tax enforcement — is being re-thought.

  • Sens. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) confirmed the group is now discussing potential alternatives to the IRS provision.
  • If it's nixed, it's a huge nod to conservatives, many of whom have seen this as the most controversial aspect of a bipartisan bill.
  • Sources familiar with the meeting say it may not be dropped in its entirety but peeled back.

Worth noting: Even if the group completes drafting the bill this weekend, it will take days for the Congressional Budget Office to score it — something multiple senators will need before ultimately weighing in.

  • It also will take time for the group to sell their colleagues on its key components.
  • However, next week's votes are, for now, just procedural — formally kicking off the process to pass the package.
  • A final vote on the bill would not come until next Thursday at the earliest.

Why Schumer is doing this: The Senate leader wants to ramp up pressure on lawmakers to finalize their work, Axios has learned.

  • They've been negotiating for months, and time is running out if they want to meet their self-imposed deadline of passing it before August recess.
  • Yet putting the bill on the floor before both sides are certain it will receive the necessary 60 votes to pass could be catastrophic for its chances.

Go deeper

Not enough votes for corporate tax hike, Biden says

President Biden speaks at the Electric City Trolley Museum in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Photo: Hannah Beier/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Democrats don't have the votes to raise corporate taxes, President Biden admitted at Thursday's CNN town hall in Baltimore, Maryland, where he went into detail on the state of negotiations concerning the massive reconciliation bill.

Why it matters: Democrats are still negotiating what will go into the bill. Divisions within the party have stalled the legislation for weeks.

Updated 31 mins ago - Technology

Pandemic gave cover to online dating scams

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Crooked Casanovas used online dating scams to steal an estimated $500 million from lonely victims last year, according to a new analysis of government fraud data by Atlas VPN, an internet security provider.

Why it matters: The isolation of the lingering pandemic provided cover to fraudulent suitors who had an excuse for not meeting up in person even as they fleeced their would-be lovers out of gift cards, money — even cryptocurrency.

Updated 38 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — New York Supreme Court grants stay for indoor mask mandate.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker