Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A leading progressive is sounding the alarm about an "austerity mindset" inside the Democratic Party, suggesting the biggest stimulus package President-elect Joe Biden gets may come during this lame-duck session of Congress.

Why it matters: Faiz Shakir, a senior adviser to Bernie Sanders and the senator's 2020 campaign manager, says Democrats may be embracing a misguided assumption that Biden will get another bite at the stimulus apple next year. Recent history, he argues, shows that won't be the case — which is partly why Sanders has been pushing for the biggest package possible during current negotiations.

“Before Biden even enters office, Democrats are limiting the ambitions of what we can pass in a COVID relief package, saying it can’t have a ‘t’ in front of it, it shouldn’t be above $1 trillion, with the assumptions that somehow we’re going to have future runs of COVID relief packages to fill in the gaps," Shakir tells Axios.

  • He points to recent talk from moderate Democrats like Sen. Joe Manchin, after the West Virginian talked about what could be regained in a hypothetical second round of stimulus talks next year.
  • Shakir, as well as several other top progressives who spoke privately to Axios, said, "We should not assume that."

The case: Shakir points to the economic recovery package that a newly minted President Obama accepted in 2009 while trying to pull the country out of the Great Recession. Progressives like Sanders urged him to think even bigger than the $831 billion bill Obama eventually accepted.

  • The bill passed without a single Republican vote and helped launch the Tea Party movement.
  • Now, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stared down House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her fellow Democrats, even as millions of Americans have lost jobs, coronavirus cases and deaths have exploded and relief checks have shrunk from $1,200 to $900 to $600, potentially.

Not thinking big now, Shakir and the other progressives told Axios, suggests "there needs to be a trade-off among the millions of people suffering in the United States. But there is no trade-off when it comes to defense spending. There’s no trade-off when it comes to large corporate tax cuts, no trade-offs there."

  • He warned that mindset could cost Democrats control of the House in the 2022 midterms, should the ultimate recovery package prove too weak.

Go deeper

Dual assurances from Biden and Powell

Data: U.S. Department of LaborFRED; Chart: Axios Visuals

President-elect Joe Biden and Fed chairman Jerome Powell had two messages in public remarks on Thursday:

  • Biden's: Help is on the way.
  • Powell's: Help is here to stay.
Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Jan 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden's COVID package also progressive wish list

President-elect Joe Biden. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

A crisis is a terrible thing to waste — and President-elect Joe Biden, emboldened by Democratic Senate victories in Georgia, signaled in his speech Thursday night he has no intention of wasting this one.

Why it matters: The president-elect rolled out a $1.9 trillion package headlined for its coronavirus relief but including billions in spending for cybersecurity, transit, wages, health care and other progressive programs.

Jan 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Democrats call on Schumer for speedy Trump impeachment trial

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democrats are in a dilemma of their own making, and now they want incoming Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to wrap up President Trump's impeachment trial as fast as possible, two sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: The party wanted to hold the president accountable for helping incite last week's Capitol attack but the actual mechanism for doing so — a Senate trial — is a balky tool that will inhibit President-elect Joe Biden from launching his effort to heal the country and its economy.