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Evan Vucci / AP

In the meeting at the White House today with Republican Congressional leaders, President Trump spent some time talking up his latest idea for the border wall. According to 3 people with direct knowledge of the meeting, Trump floated the idea that the wall could be covered in solar panels and the electricity generated used to pay for the cost.

Trump said his vision was a wall 40 feet to 50 feet high and covered with solar panels so they'd be "beautiful structures," the people said. The President said that most walls you hear about are 14 feet or 15 feet tall but this would be nothing like those walls. Trump told the lawmakers they could talk about the solar-paneled wall as long as they said it was his idea. One person cautioned that the President wasn't presenting the solar-paneled wall as the definite solution.

Where this idea might come from: A proposal to cover the wall with solar panels was among those submitted when the U.S. requested designs earlier this year, according to the AP. Companies winning contracts and asked to build prototypes may be announced this month.

What else was discussed:

  • The majority of the meeting focused on healthcare. Trump started off by saying the base was stronger than ever now and it was time to come through for them. He asked Mitch McConnell when the bill would be ready and McConnell said the bill would be released soon and scored by the CBO and voted on before July 4. Everyone agreed June would be spent talking about the failures of the Obama healthcare bill.
  • McConnell suggested acting on the debt-ceiling before the August recess to clear the way for tax reform. But Trump said they ought to do it after August so it doesn't cloud the messaging [presumably on healthcare]. After the meeting, one source said the administration has little control over the timing of the debt-ceiling vote and that they expected Congress to deal with it promptly.

Go deeper

Movie theaters go out of style

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Vaccination rates are going up, people are going out to restaurants again — although the new COVID variant may get in the way — but they still aren't rushing back to the movies.

By the numbers: Some 49% of pre-pandemic moviegoers are no longer hitting theaters, according to a study from the film research company The Quorum, as reported by the New York Times.

4 hours ago - Health

Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

European countries are doubling down on pressure campaigns to get people vaccinated just as Republicans continue to wage war — often successfully — against vaccine mandates in the U.S.

Why it matters: The starkly different approaches create a sharp contrast between the regions' approaches to vaccination, even as the Omicron variant rapidly spreads around the world.

5 hours ago - World

Two years of COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

Two years ago Wednesday, the first case of a mysterious new respiratory disease was discovered in Wuhan, China. Now, the Omicron variant has deepened concerns about just how much longer the coronavirus pandemic will last.

The big picture: More than 5 million people have died since that first case. Most people on earth have lived through some form of lockdown. 54% of the global population has had at least one vaccination, though the shots have been distributed unevenly.