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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Senate Democratic Caucus sees salvaging the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better package as key to boosting the party’s chances in this fall's midterms, especially as President Biden’s popularity sags in the polls.

Why it matters: The White House isn't the only one still courting Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) or his all-important vote.

What we’re hearing: Democratic leaders are largely in the same place with the BBB talks as they were before breaking for their holiday recess.

  • “People have had time to cool off; Manchin’s had time to cool off,” a senior Senate Democratic aide told Axios. “We’ll have to see now what becomes possible.”

What to watch: All eyes are on Monday night’s Senate leadership meeting, which Manchin will attend, and Tuesday’s weekly caucus lunch.

  • The lunch will be the first time all Senate Democrats are together in one room since Manchin made his opposition to the bill public last month.
  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will use the occasion as the marker for whether to hold a vote to proceed on BBB or hold off to try to negotiate more, Senate leadership aides tell Axios.

Schumer still plans to hold a vote on the mammoth package this month.

  • If he pushes for this week, that would be “a bad sign,” one aide said.
  • A snap-vote would indicate Democratic leaders expect the package to fail but want to give members an opportunity to vote for it.
  • That also would force Manchin to go on record voting against it.

Schumer's also planning to put a voting rights package — pushed by Manchin and backed by his fellow Democrats — on the floor this month.

  • The measure will fail to get the 10 GOP votes needed to break the filibuster, and then Senate Democrats will move to reform Senate rules, which could make it easier to pass their voting rights bill.

Also this week: The one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection is Thursday.

  • While the House won't be in session this week, Speaker Nancy Pelosi laid out in a "Dear Colleague" letter a series of events leaders have planned to commemorate the anniversary.
  • Schumer’s office says he will plan to engage in those events and is not planning separate engagements.

Go deeper

Democratic retirements spark worry over holding House majority

Expand chart
Data: House Press Gallery; Table: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Reps. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) and Jerry McNerney (D-Calif.) are the latest lawmakers to announce that they will not seek re-election this year, bringing the total number of Democratic retirements to 28, compared with 14 Republicans.

Why it matters: The increasing number of Democratic retirements — put against the backdrop of President Biden's sagging approval ratings and uncertainty about redistricting — is adding to concerns the party may not be able to keep its slim majority in the House.

FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly COVID antibody treatments

A coldbox containing monoclonal antibody treatments at a Regeneron clinic in Pembroke Pines, Florida, in August. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The FDA said Monday it's limiting the use of two monoclonal antibody therapies as COVID-19 treatments because data indicates they're "highly unlikely" to be effective against the dominant Omicron variant.

Driving the news: The FDA revised the authorizations for Regeneron and Eli Lilly "to limit their use to only when the patient is likely to have been infected with or exposed to a variant that is susceptible to these treatments," per a statement from the agency.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to actually deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.