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Andrew Harnik / AP

For all the talk of resets for President Trump, there's just one that matters, at least on Capitol Hill — one big chance to steady a wobbly agenda. A week from tonight, Trump addresses Congress for the first time — the ceremonial joint session known as State of the Union except in a president's first year.

We're told Trump worked on the address at Mar-a-Lago this weekend. Four "musts" for Trump, based on conversations with advisers:

  1. Come across as someone who can get stuff done. You'll never be seen as a statesman or unifier — don't bother trying. But Republicans need their confidence bolstered that the GOP-controlled government can deliver Obamacare repeal-and-replace and tax reform. If you do that, plus win confirmation of your Supreme Court nominee, nothing else will matter -- your Hill game will be a hit with the party and GOP critics will forgive other sins.
  2. Get past campaign rhetoric and be specific. Lawmakers consider it insulting to be barraged with slogans instead of substance.
  3. Keep cool, in both rhetoric and body language. Command respect from fellow Rs — you don't want GOP or independent voters at home seeing expressions of disapproval from your own party. And be prepared for a "You lie" moment, like the startling rebuke yelled at Obama by House Republican Joe Wilson during a health care speech to a joint session in 2009. The moment you mention walls or travel bans or deportation, brace yourself and don't take the bait.
  4. Spotlight your Cabinet and stack the front row with your national security team. Nothing reassures Republican skeptics like seeing Defense Secretary Mattis or Homeland Security Secretary Kelly or SecState Tillerson or the national security adviser you named yesterday, Army Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, who won praise from Richard Haas, John McCain, Tom Ricks, etc.
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Go deeper

Updated 19 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Harris breaks tie as Senate proceeds with lengthy debate on COVID relief bill

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The Senate on Thursday voted 51-50 — with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie — to proceed to debate on President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package, likely setting up a final vote this weekend.

The state of play: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) forced Senate clerks to read the entire 628-page bill on the floor, which took nearly 11 hours and lasted until 2:05 a.m. Friday. The Senate then adjourned and is expected to reconvene at 9 a.m. to debate the bill before considering amendments.

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's advisers successfully pushed state health officials to exclude certain data on the number of COVID-19 nursing home deaths from a July report, the Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday.

Why it matters: The changes resulted in a "significant undercount of the death toll attributed to the state’s most vulnerable population," the WSJ wrote.

Ro Khanna wary of Biden approach on Middle East

Rep. Ro Khanna. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images

An outspoken progressive Democrat is wary of President Biden’s approach to the Middle East, arguing it’s like “conceding defeat of the aspiration” to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

Why it matters: A number of members of Biden’s own party dislike his Middle East strategy, as his administration signals the region is no longer the priority it was for President Obama and his predecessors.