Acting EPA chief Andrew Wheeler. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Acting EPA chief Andrew Wheeler will appear before the Senate's environment panel this morning as lawmakers vet his nomination to formally get the job. But he might not be the only one trying out.

What we're watching: The hearing will be a high-profile chance for lawmakers to grill the EPA boss on controversial policies, like the proposal to replace Obama-era climate rules.

  • Also of interest, though, is that several Democrats in the early 2020 White House mix sit on the Environment and Public Works Committee.
  • If they show up, the hearing could provide a window onto how they're positioning themselves on climate and the environment.

Senators running in or weighing the race, who are on the panel, include Kirsten Gillibrand (who began her campaign yesterday), Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, and Jeff Merkley, though he's a longshot.

Why it matters: This committee could become the panel to watch, especially if more of its members follow Gillibrand into the race.

  • Aides for Gillibrand, Sanders and Booker did not respond to inquiries about whether their bosses will be there.
  • A Merkley aide confirmed his attendance.

Go deeper: 2020 presidential election: Track which candidates are running (Axios)

Go deeper

Biden releases 2019 tax returns ahead of debate

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Joe Biden's campaign released his 2019 tax returns on Tuesday, showing that he and his wife, Jill, paid nearly $300,000 in federal taxes last year.

Why it matters: The release, timed just hours before the first presidential debate, comes days after a bombshell New York Times report said that President Trump paid only $750 in federal taxes in 2016 and 2017. Biden's team is hoping to make the tax contrast a sticking point during their showdown.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2:15 p.m. ET: 33,454,037 — Total deaths: 1,003,571 — Total recoveries: 23,204,219Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2:15 p.m. ET: 7,165,067 — Total deaths: 205,476 — Total recoveries: 2,794,608 — Total tests: 102,342,416Map.
  3. Health: Americans won't take Trump's word on the vaccine, Axios-Ipsos poll finds.
  4. States: NYC's coronavirus positivity rate spikes to highest since June.
  5. Sports: Tennessee Titans close facility amid NFL's first coronavirus outbreak.
  6. World: U.K. beats previous record for new coronavirus cases.

NYC's coronavirus positivity rate spikes to highest since June

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

New York City's coronavirus positivity rate has ticked up to 3.25%, its highest since June, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The jump — from 1.93% on Monday — came on the first day that public elementary classrooms reopened in the city after months of closures, but guidelines state that all public schools will have to shut if the citywide seven-day positivity rate stays above 3%.

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