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Photo: Alex Brandon / AP

The Senate voted 52-48 on party lines to begin debate on the Republican tax bill, putting the Senate within striking distance of passing it. Several Republicans who have not committed to voting for the final bill, including Sens. Collins, McCain, Corker and Flake, voted in favor of moving ahead.

What's next: Republican leadership wants to pass the bill by the end of the week. There will be up to 20 hours of debate and votes on a series of amendments prior to the final vote. The House has already passed a different tax bill and, should the Senate pass its bill, they will have to agree on a compromise package.

What they're saying:

  • Asked how he would vote on the final bill, Sen. Ron Johnson told reporters, "I'm going to see what the other votes are."
  • Asked about potential changes, including a possible trigger to limit the deficit impact of the bill, Sen. John Kennedy said, "We're still talking. And we may be talking up until its time to vote on the bill." Kennedy said he'd prefer a trigger for spending cuts rather than tax increases.

The concerns of multiple senators have not fully been resolved: There's no agreement on the trigger for the budget hawks, no pay-for to partially keep the state and local tax deductions Sen. Collins wants, and no settled language on the changes for small businesses sought by Sens. Johnson and Daines.

Go deeper

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Bob Nelsen on AstraZeneca and his plan to revolutionize biotech

AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford on Monday reported promising efficacy data for their COVID-19 vaccine, which has less stringent storage requirements than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and may be distributed earlier in developing countries.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the state of vaccine and therapeutics manufacturing with Bob Nelsen, a successful biotech investor who on Monday launched Resilience, a giant new pharma production platform that he believes will prepare America for its next major health challenges.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Updated 19 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Unpacking Joe Biden's decision to tap John Kerry as his climate envoy

Photo: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden is naming former Secretary of State John Kerry as a special presidential envoy for climate change.

Why it matters: The transition team's announcement sought to show that it will be an influential role, noting that Kerry — a former Massachusetts senator and the Democrats' 2004 presidential nominee — will be on the National Security Council.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Oxford and AstraZeneca's vaccine won't just go to rich countries

Waiting, in New Delhi. Photo: Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images

While the 95% efficacy rates for the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines are great news for the U.S. and Europe, Monday's announcement from Oxford and AstraZeneca may be far more significant for the rest of the world.

Why it matters: Oxford and AstraZeneca plan to distribute their vaccine at cost (around $3-4 per dose), and have already committed to providing over 1 billion doses to the developing world. The price tags are higher for the Pfizer ($20) and Moderna ($32-37) vaccines.

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