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Andrew Harnik / AP

Spicer said that Trump wrapped up discussions on the federal budget — which will make sure that the government spends "more responsibly" — right before the start of the briefing. The administration expects to release the new budget plan to the public in mid-March.

Other takeaways:

  • Voter fraud: VP Pence "is starting to gather names to be part of" the task force on millions of allegedly fraudulent votes in the 2016 election.
  • Transgender bathrooms: DeVos is "100 percent" on board with a transgender bathroom rule change, said Spicer, contrary to a Washington Post report from earlier today. He added that there are problems with the joint guidance issued by the Dept. of Education and DOJ under Obama's administration, which has probably led to the chatter.
  • Appointee approval process: Spicer said the approval process "is not slowing down" the filling of positions within Trump's administration, and added that "appointees coming in need to support the President's agenda" — which takes time.
  • Rowdy Obamacare Town Halls: "This is not representative of a congressional district.... Just because they are loud, doesn't necessarily mean that there are many," said Spicer. On complaints about repealing Obamacare, "There's a lot of blurring of the facts."
  • Trump's address to Congress next Tuesday: The president will share his objectives, visions and goals. Following his speech, Spicer said you can expect him to visit a fair amount of states to enforce those aims.
  • Sec. of State Tillerson and Gen. Kelly are traveling to Mexico later this afternoon. "The U.S. and Mexico have an unbelievable relationship right now... and there is a robust dialogue between both nations."

One fun thing: When asked whether there will be another Meryl Streep at the Oscars, Spicer laughed and said, "I think Hollywood is known for being far to the left," adding that the President and the First Lady will be too busy with Governor's Ball Sunday night to watch the awards show. Meanwhile in the corner, Kellyanne Conway buried her head in her hands.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Kellyanne Conway's parting power pointers

Kellyanne Conway addresses the 2020 Republican National Convention. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway has seen power exercised as a pollster, campaign manager and senior counselor to President Trump. Now that his term in office has concluded, she shared her thoughts with Axios.

Why it matters: If there's a currency in this town, it's power, so we've asked several former Washington power brokers to share their best advice as a new administration and new Congress settle in.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP holdouts press on with plans to crush Cheney

Screenshot of emails to a member of Congress from individuals who signed an Americans for Limited Government petition against Rep. Liz Cheney. Photo obtained by Axios

Pro-Trump holdouts in the House are forging ahead with an uphill campaign to oust Rep. Liz Cheney as head of the chamber's Republican caucus even though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told them to back down.

Why it matters: What happens next will be a test of McCarthy's party control and the sincerity of his opposition to the movement. Cheney (R-Wyo.) is seen as a potential leadership rival to the California Republican.

Democrats aim to punish House GOP for Capitol riot

Speaker Nancy Pelosi passes through a newly installed metal detector at the House floor entrance Thursday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats plan to take advantage of corporate efforts to cut funding for Republicans who opposed certifying the 2020 election results, with a plan to target vulnerable members in the pivotal 2022 midterms for their role in the Jan. 6 violence.

Why it matters: It's unclear whether the Democrats' strategy will manifest itself in ads or earned media in the targeted races or just be a stunt to raise money for themselves. But the Capitol violence will be central to the party's messaging as it seeks to maintain its narrow majorities in Congress.

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