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Andrew Harnik / AP

They're playing tough in public — it's called negotiating — but privately, senior White House officials are in no mood to get into a knock-down-drag-out fight over government funding.

The government runs out of money April 29, and the White House has less fire in its belly than it might seem from media reports. Around a week and a half ago, Budget Director Mick Mulvaney "came in a little hot" in setting terms of negotiations with appropriators, according to a Senate source familiar with the meeting. Mulvaney said Trump needed language in the bill to cut funding to sanctuary cities.

The reality, according to three well-placed sources: These words are fairly toothless.

  • Behind-the-scenes: If Trumpcare 1.0 hadn't been such a mishandled flop, the administration might be willing to pick real funding fights over sanctuary cities or Planned Parenthood. But with healthcare still unresolved, the White House can't risk another calamity like a shutdown. The administration will be happy to claim a couple of "victories" — like boosted military spending and border security money, if not specifically for the bricks-and-mortar wall — and then move on as quickly as possible.
  • The wildcard: Chuck Schumer has plenty of leverage and won't concede anything of value to Trump in the negotiations; but he's the predictable one. Top sources in the House and Senate tell me their much bigger concern is the Freedom Caucus. If these ultra-conservative House members come back from recess and ask for things leadership can't deliver — like defunding Planned Parenthood or cutting the payments to Obamacare insurers — then leadership and the White House will have a new crisis on their hands.

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: The good and bad news about antibody therapies — Fauci: Hotspots have materialized across "the entire country."
  2. World: Belgium imposes lockdown, citing "health emergency" due to influx of cases.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Education: Surge threatens to shut classrooms down again.
  5. Technology: The pandemic isn't slowing tech.
  6. Travel: CDC replaces COVID-19 cruise ban with less restrictive "conditional sailing order."
  7. Sports: High school football's pandemic struggles.
  8. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Updated 4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Dunkin' Brands agrees to $11B Inspire Brands sale

Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Dunkin' Brands, operator of both Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, agreed on Friday to be taken private for nearly $11.3 billion, including debt, by Inspire Brands, a restaurant platform sponsored by private equity firm Roark Capital.

Why it matters: Buying Dunkin’ will more than double Inspire’s footprint, making it one of the biggest restaurant deals in the past 10 years. This could ultimately set up an IPO for Inspire, which already owns Arby's, Jimmy John's and Buffalo Wild Wings.

Ina Fried, author of Login
6 hours ago - Technology

Federal judge halts Trump administration limit on TikTok

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A federal judge on Friday issued an injunction preventing the Trump administration from imposing limits on the distribution of TikTok, Bloomberg reports. The injunction request came as part of a suit brought by creators who make a living on the video service.

Why it matters: The administration has been seeking to force a sale of, or block, the Chinese-owned service. It also moved to ban the service from operating in the U.S. as of Nov. 12, a move which was put on hold by Friday's injunction.

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