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President Biden at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado on Sept. 14, 2021. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The White House is stepping up its PR push for strong climate measures on Capitol Hill even while arguing it can make lots of progress with executive powers.

Driving the news: President Biden yesterday called for congressional action in remarks at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado.

  • He touted proposals in the bipartisan infrastructure plan, like transmission investment, and clean energy and electric car measures in the far more sweeping plan Democrats are trying to move on an uncertain party-line vote.
  • On Monday Biden also promoted his climate efforts after visiting the National Interagency Fire Center in Idaho. The NYT has more on his appearances.

The intrigue: What caught my eye was the press gaggle en route to Colorado by White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre.

  • She said the White House is "strongly committed" to the Democratic legislation and the bipartisan package that's moving on a dual-track.
  • But she also talked up the "whole of government" approach of executive steps and said Biden is committed to "using all of the tools at his disposal."

Our thought bubble: The message on display Tuesday underscores a delicate position ahead of the critical United Nations climate summit that's less than seven weeks away.

  • Democratic legislative provisions like the expansion of renewables and EV incentives, and new financial carrots for utilities to speed clean power deployment, are vital to meeting the White House 2030 emissions pledge under the Paris deal.
  • But if the efforts shrink or die in Congress, administration officials still need to convince other nations that the U.S. can put real policy weight behind its nonbinding climate goals.
  • The dynamic isn't lost on the White House. A spokesperson told CNN that there are "a number of paths to meeting our emission goals and targets" and doesn't rest on Congress alone, but is "integrated throughout both."

Go deeper: The fraught sprint to the UN climate summit

Go deeper

Exclusive: Youth climate activists get boost from Dutch tech billionaire

Climate activist Alexandria Villaseñor speaks at the C40 World Mayors Summit on Oct. 11, 2019, in Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo: Ole Jensen/Getty Images

Dutch billionaire Steven Schuurman, who co-founded and led Elastic, a data and analytics firm, is donating $1.5 million to two prominent youth climate groups: Fridays for Future and Earth Uprising.

Why it matters: Youth-led activism serves a unique and powerful role in the climate movement, acting as a moral voice for future generations while prompting sustained, widespread media attention.

As Afghanistan envoy departs, tens of thousands remain in limbo

Afghans listen to a lesson in an Afghan refugee camp on Nov. 4 in Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

As President Biden's point person for Afghan refugee resettlement steps aside, advocacy groups are pressing the Biden administration to accelerate its efforts to help the tens of thousands of people still stuck in limbo.

Why it matters: Former Delaware Gov. Jack Markell (D) is leaving the envoy role after being confirmed as the U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The transition comes amid criticism that there hasn't been enough high-level, sustained engagement to ease the backlog of applications nearly four months after the U.S. military and diplomatic withdrawal from Kabul.

Why 401(k) rollovers are so annoying

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

If you happened to change jobs recently, you may have tried to transfer your retirement account from your former employer into an Individual Retirement Account or your new employer's 401(k) plan. If so, you probably encountered a bureaucratic gantlet — and you're not alone.

Why it matters: Kludgey processes around retirement account transfers result in people losing track of their funds, giving up important tax advantages, or otherwise disadvantaging themselves and being less prepared for retirement.