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National Economic Council director Brian Deese speaks during a White House news briefing. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Biden White House is deploying top officials to get a wide ideological spectrum of lawmakers, governors and mayors on board with the president’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief proposal, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The broad, choreographed effort shows just how crucially Biden views the stimulus to the nation's recovery and his own political success.

Driving the news: Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council, and Jeff Zients, Biden’s COVID czar, have a meeting scheduled with the centrist New Democrat Coalition later Wednesday.

  • Over the weekend, Deese’s meeting with 16 senators drew focus, but in reality, there are dozens of calls every day as the White House works to build the first coalition of Biden’s presidency.

How it works: Overall outreach to congressional members and staff is coordinated by Biden counselor Steve Ricchetti and legislative affairs director Louisa Terrell.

  • President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain and senior adviser Anita Dunn have made individual calls to lawmakers this week.
  • Zients spoke Tuesday with governors from both parties and other officials briefing tribal leaders and mayors.
  • Cedric Richmond, who leads the White House's Office of Public Engagement, reached out Tuesday to civil rights groups including the NAACP, Urban League, Coalition of Black Civic Participation and Black Women’s Roundtable.

What they're saying: "President Biden and the White House are mounting a full-court press to engage leaders and stakeholders in Washington," said Mike Gwin, a deputy White House press secretary.

The big picture: Biden has said he prefers a bipartisan approach to getting his plan through Congress. But he hasn’t ruled out relying on Democratic votes alone to pass his proposal through the budget reconciliation process, which requires a bare majority in the Senate.

  • Some progressives like Senate Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) argue Biden should move to the reconciliation track now and not waste time looking for 60 votes.
  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said yesterday that “we're keeping all our options open, on the table, including budget reconciliation."

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 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Several states report zero COVID deaths for the first time in months — CDC says schools should still universally require masks and physical distancing.
  2. Politics: New York to lift mask mandate for vaccinated people — CDC director says politics didn't play a role in abrupt mask policy shift.
  3. Vaccines: Sanofi, GSK COVID vaccine shows strong immune response in phase 2 trials — Vaccine-hesitant Americans cite inaccurate side effects — 600,000 kids between 12 and 15 have received Pfizer dose since FDA authorization.
  4. Business: How retailers are responding to the latest CDC guidance — Delta to require all new employees be vaccinated — Target, CVS and other stores ease mask requirements after CDC guidance.
  5. World: World's largest vaccine maker expects to resume exports by end of 2021 — Biden administration to send 20 million U.S.-authorized vaccine doses abroad.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
2 hours ago - World

Scoop: Biden to waive sanctions on company in charge of Nord Stream 2

Angela Merkel (left) with Vladimir Putin. Photo: Adam Berry/Getty Images

The Biden administration will waive sanctions on the corporate entity and CEO overseeing the construction of Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline into Germany, according to two sources briefed on the decision.

Why it matters: The decision indicates the Biden administration is not willing to compromise its relationship with Germany over this pipeline, and underscores the difficulties President Biden faces in matching actions to rhetoric on a tougher approach to Russia.