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Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain met quietly with Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Jamaal Bowman and other progressive lawmakers this week to discuss the filibuster, minimum wage and other issues, people familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: The private, in-person meeting demonstrates the White House’s commitment to staying in close contact with some of the House’s most outspoken members, even if the parties don’t always share the same strategy to achieve common goals.

  • Klain didn’t make any promises to oppose or ultimately abolish the current filibuster rules.
  • He did reaffirm that President Biden was committed to raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
  • The lawmakers, including Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Andy Levin (D-Mich.), agreed to a good working relationship going forward with planned additional meetings.

The intrigue: Last week, Klain met with the official leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, including the chair, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.).

  • Ocasio-Cortez and Bowman, both of New York, along with their two other colleagues, had a separate meeting scheduled, but it was moved to this week.
  • Ocasio-Cortez has previously gone out of her way to praise Klain, responding to news of his appointment in November by tweeting: “Good news and an encouraging choice.”

The big picture: The existence of a backchannel between the White House and the party’s most prominent progressive could help the president in his next big legislative push: asking Congress to spend an additional $3 trillion on infrastructure and healthcare.

  • Biden is also slowly moving toward the progressive's position on the filibuster, saying during his news conference Thursday that while he first wants to make incremental reforms, there may be a point where he’s open to doing more.
  • “Let's deal with the abuse first," he said. "If we have to, if there’s complete lockdown and chaos as a consequence of the filibuster, then we’ll have to go beyond what I’m talking about.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the home state of Rep. Jayapal.

Go deeper

Gun control groups join fight against filibuster

A hearse carries the body of Police Officer Eric Talley, killed in the mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado. Photo: Chet Strange/Getty Images

Gun control groups are joining the progressive fight to end the filibuster as the Senate voting rule threatens their goal of passing comprehensive gun reform.

Why it matters: The House recently passed two gun bills, but neither stand a chance of getting the 60 votes needed in the 50-50 Senate. Senate Democrats have already been talking about getting rid of the filibuster to pass other legislation through a simple 51-vote majority.

Highlights from Biden's first press conference as president

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden fielded questions from reporters for more than an hour on Thursday in his first official press conference since he was inaugurated 64 days ago.

Driving the news: Biden announced at the start of the presser that he was doubling his goal for coronavirus vaccinations to 200 million doses in his first 100 days. At the current 7-day average of 2.5 million daily doses, the U.S. would hit that milestone just before Biden's 100th day on April 30.

Fed signals it could yank economic support quicker as inflation sticks around

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell testifies during a hearing before Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee today. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve will consider pulling back economic support sooner "as the threat of persistently high inflation has grown," chair Jerome Powell said during a congressional hearing on Tuesday.

Why it matters: This is the biggest signal yet the Fed is backing away from its stance that soaring prices would be fleeting — a change that could shift its policies that underpin the economy.

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