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Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) speaks during a news conference in December with a group of bipartisan lawmakers. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Vaccine distribution, pandemic data and a cross-party comity dominated today's virtual meeting between White House officials and a bipartisan group of lawmakers, Senator Angus King told Axios.

Why it matters: Given Democrats' razor-thin majority in both chambers of Congress, President Biden will have to rely heavily on this group of centrist lawmakers — dubbed the "Sweet 16" — to pass any substantial legislation.

  • "If you were just listening on the call, I don't think you would have been able to tell who were the Republicans and who were Democrats and who were independents," said King (I-Maine).

Details: National Economic Council Director Brian Deese led the Sunday afternoon meeting, and several other top White House officials also joined the video call.

  • It was the largest meeting between the Biden administration and senators since Wednesday's inauguration.

What he's saying: "There's absolute consensus" that the administration and Congress' main priority needs to be speeding up the rate of vaccination, King said.

  • The group plans to work closely with the White House to gather data about where the "bottlenecks" are in the current distribution system.
  • King added that the senators asked for data to back up the administration's pandemic proposal. "You know, how did they arrive at the numbers that they have?"

One big question they need to solve, King said, is how much unspent money from the previous coronavirus packages can be reallocated to the Biden package.

Timing: King said that while the administration did not lay out a specific timeframe, there was general consensus that this next stimulus bill should be done sooner rather than later.

  • However, looming in the background is the impeachment trial for former President Trump, which is roughly two weeks away.
  • King said "it would be desirable" to start moving on the next relief package before then, but "whether that's going to be possible I just don't know."

Go deeper

The Mischief Makers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers are emerging as troublemakers within their parties and political thorns for their leadership.

Why it matters: We're calling this group "The Mischief Makers" — members who threaten to upend party unity — the theme eclipsing Washington at the moment — and potentially jeopardize the Democrats' or Republicans' position heading into the 2022 midterms.

Updated 6 hours ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

🚨: Japan's Naomi Osaka lights Olympic cauldron; Photos

👻: How the no-spectator Olympics could affect the athletes

🇺🇸: "What an honor it is to watch you soar," first lady tells U.S. Olympians

🌏: Meet the underdogs from Latin America

🥇: The six new sports at Tokyo 2020

💉 About 100 U.S. Olympic athletes are unvaccinated

✍️ Axios at the Olympics: What it's like inside the opening ceremony

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

Senate Democrats demand answers on FBI's Kavanaugh probe

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Democrats are demanding that the FBI hand over "all records and communications" related to the FBI tip line set up to investigate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh when he was a nominee in 2018.

Why it matters: The ask comes after the FBI revealed it received more than 4,500 tips about Kavanaugh when he was awaiting Senate confirmation amid sexual assault allegations. Only the most "relevant" of these tips were forwarded to the Trump White House.