McConnell and Mnuchin. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were deployed to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to brief the Senate Republican conference, alongside Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, on the details of the GOP coronavirus stimulus bill.

Driving the news: The Senate Republican lunch descended into chaos, several GOP lawmakers said, revealing that the White House and Republican senators remain far apart on key priorities in the next economic package.

Why it matters: McConnell told reporters he doesn't think they'll be able to pass a bill by the end of next week — ramping up pressure for a side deal on unemployment insurance, since the supplemental $600-per-week benefits passed in the CARES Act are set to expire on July 31.

  • McConnell's view stands in contrast with that of Meadows and Mnuchin, who both said they're aiming for a July 31 deadline.

Inside the lunch: The White House officials did little talking, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) told reporters. Instead, senators used the time to air their disagreements. "There's a robust difference of opinion," Hawley said.

  • Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a deficit hawk, stormed out of the lunch early and told reporters he finds it infuriating that the majority of the GOP conference is willing to support another trillion-dollar bill.
  • "Just came from Progressive Democrat, whoops, I mean Republican caucus," Paul later tweeted, calling the majority of Republicans "no different than socialist Democrats when it comes to debt."
  • One lawmaker described the lunch as "messy" and said they still "have a lot of work to do." Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) added: "About 15 different members wanted to make a point, and they made them."

Details: The White House wants a payroll tax cut, restrictions on additional funding for testing, and federal funding for schools to be contingent on their reopening plans. Most Senate Republicans disagree with each of these priorities.

What we do know: The Senate GOP bill, which will be publicly rolled out later this week and serve as a starting point for negotiations with Democrats, will include more money for schools, an extension of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), new unemployment benefits, and money for testing.

  • But the devil is in the details, lawmakers say, and the next few weeks of negotiations will be more complicated than many had hoped.

The big picture: Meanwhile, several states are halting their reopening plans as the virus continues to surge through the country, creating an increased need for new funding — particularly with regard to unemployment insurance.

What to watch: Meadows and Mnuchin are slated to meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer later Tuesday afternoon.

  • "We may seem far apart, but I imagine they'll be on a different planet entirely," one GOP congressional aide told Axios.

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President Trump in the Oval Office on Sept. 17. Photo: Oliver Contreras-Pool/Getty Images

Vice President Pence's former lead staffer on the White House coronavirus pandemic response announced on Thursday that she plans to vote for Joe Biden in the 2020 election, accusing President Trump of taking actions "detrimental to keeping Americans safe."

What she's saying: "It was shocking to see the president saying that the virus was a hoax, saying that everything's okay when we know that it not. The truth is that he doesn't actually care about anyone else but himself," said Olivia Troye, Pence's former homeland security, counterterrorism and coronavirus adviser.

Coronavirus cases increase in 17 states

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Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

Coronavirus infections ticked up slightly over the past week, thanks to scattered outbreaks in every region of the country.

Where it stands: The U.S. has been making halting, uneven progress against the virus since August. Overall, we're moving in the right direction, but we're often taking two steps forward and one step back.

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Millions of COVID-19 vulnerable adults tied to schools

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

At least 42% of school employees are vulnerable to the coronavirus, and at least 63.2% of employees live with someone who is at increased risk, according to a new study published in Health Affairs.

Why it matters: We know children can catch and spread the virus. This study emphasizes why minimizing risk if and when schools reopen is crucial.