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Team Biden eyes a trillion-dollar January stimulus

If Joe Biden wins the presidency, he might need a trillion-dollar stimulus bill in January, just to buy enough time to push through his nearly $3 trillion "Build Back Better" plan later in spring 2021. That's according to Biden advisers who are growing increasingly worried that the economy is deteriorating by the day.

The big picture: Congress and the White House are locked in a stalemate on additional spending to soften the blow of the pandemic. Every day that extra stimulus is delayed only serves to increase the ultimate size of the final cost to the economy.


  • Economists advising the Biden campaign are privately warning that problems can compound and cascade — including business bankruptcies, supply chain disruptions, mass evictions, and huge shortfalls in state and local budgets.
  • "We have always contemplated the need for additional stimulus," Jake Sullivan, a senior policy adviser to Biden, tells Axios. "We will confront the situation we find in January."

Between the lines: Biden's signature economic stimulus plan is an ambitious attempt to recover from the pandemic while tackling income inequality, climate change and structural racism. The plan would pump $2.7 trillion into American manufacturing, clean energy technology and infrastructure over just four years.

  • He wants to spend an additional $775 billion for working parents and caregivers over 10 years.

Reality check: In a crisis, the most important aspect of any stimulus is speed — getting cash out the door as quickly as possible.

  • Even if Democrats win the Senate, Biden's advisers know that it will be difficult to pass such a plan within weeks of the inauguration.
  • Our thought bubble: Even Biden is not going to get Congress to spend $300 billion on new batteries before Valentine's Day.

By the numbers: Officially, Biden aides are reluctant to commit to a January price tag, given uncertainties about the virus and congressional action this fall. But many economists on his advisory committees privately put it between $1 trillion and $2 trillion, depending on what Congress passes (if it passes anything).

  • The goal would be to get money out the door and Americans back to work, while keeping families in their homes.
  • One blueprint already exists: The House passed a $3 trillion Cares Act II in May, but it's not close to becoming law. House and Senate leaders are trillions of dollars apart.

The other side: Trump would also spend big in January, if not before, if he's re-elected.

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to spend $1 trillion this fall, but he's warned Trump about going much higher.
  • Trump's call for a $2 trillion infrastructure bill back in March would be a starting point for a 2021 stimulus.

The bottom line: Many of Biden's economic advisers served in the Obama administration and know what it's like to inherit an economic crisis on day one.

  • They feel that the 2009 stimulus package — the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act — was woefully inadequate. And they're determined not to make the same mistake twice.

Democrats demand Trump release his tax returns after explosive NYT report

Democrats called President Trump to disclose his tax returns following a New York Times report that he allegedly paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017, and nothing in 10 of the past 15 years.

Details: Trump said the report was "total fake news," that he's unable to release the returns as they're "under audit" by the IRS, "which does not treat me well." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement the report "provides further evidence of the clear need" for a House lawsuit to access the tax returns and "ensure the presidential audit program is functioning effectively, without improper influence."

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Former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale hospitalized

Police responded to a home owned by former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale in Fort Lauderdale Sunday evening after his wife called to say he "had guns and was threatening to harm himself," officers confirmed to the Sun Sentinel.

Details: Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Karen Dietrich told the news outlet Parscale was taken to a hospital without incident. He "went willingly under Florida’s Baker Act, which allows police to detain a person who is potentially a threat to himself or others,” per the Sun Sentinel.

Trump campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh told Axios: "Brad Parscale is a member of our family and we all love him. We are ready to support him and his family in any way possible."

  • Axios has contacted Fort Lauderdale for comment.

Wine country blaze prompts evacuation orders as California endures "critical" fire conditions

Firefighters in the western U.S. were facing "critical fire weather conditions," as a rapidly spreading new wildfire in Northern California prompted fresh evacuations Sunday.

Why it matters: Wildfires have burned a record 3.6 million acres in California this year, killing 26 people and razing over 7,600 structures, per Cal Fire. Utility provider Pacific Gas & Electric cut power to 11,000 customers early Sunday and planned outages for 54,000 others later in the day because of fire risks.

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TikTok beats Trump in court, ban won't take effect

A federal court judge on Sunday granted TikTok's request for a temporary restraining order against a ban by the Trump administration.

Why it matters: American will be able to continue downloading one of the country's most popular social media and entertainment apps. At least for now.

Go deeper: WH pushes to uphold TikTok ban

New York Times: Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017

The New York Times has obtained more than two decades worth tax-return data from Trump and the companies that make up his business, writing in an explosive report that the documents "tell a story fundamentally different from the one [the president] has sold to the American public."

Why it matters: The Times' bombshell report, published less than seven weeks before the presidential election, lays bare much of the financial information Trump has long sought to keep secret — including allegations that he paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017, and has over $300 million in personal debt obligations coming due in the next four years.

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How Trump, Biden plan to score at Tuesday's debate

President Trump has been practicing with flashcards and prepping with former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie before Tuesday's presidential debate

Behind the scenes: Top aides tell Axios he's been testing his attacks on the campaign trail for weeks, seeing what ignites his crowds or falls flat. One of the biggest themes Trump plans to drive home is his "tough guy" persona, which advisers see as an advantage with voters in key states.

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GOP fears Democrats will attack Amy Coney Barrett as insensitive to “the little guy"

White House aides and Senate Republicans have spent the past week readying binders full of messaging and rebuttals to guide Judge Amy Coney Barrett to a pre-Nov. 3 confirmation. "We knew for days it was going to be Amy," a Senate GOP aide involved in her confirmation process told Axios.

What we're hearing: Beyond the expected questions about her views on religion, abortion and health care, Republicans worry about Democrats painting Barrett as someone who is insensitive and unfair to “the little guy,” one source involved in the talks told Axios.

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Debate commission co-chair: We don't expect moderators to fact-check candidates

Presidential Debate Commission co-chair Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. said Sunday he doesn't expect Fox News anchor Chris Wallace or any of the other moderators to fact-check President Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden at the debates.

What he's saying: "There's a vast difference between being a moderator in a debate and being a reporter who is interviewing someone." Fahrenkopf Jr. said on CNN's "Reliable Sources."

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