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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

A bipartisan House duo is floating a new plan that's both a throwback idea and a sign of today's climate politics.

Driving the news: Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.) and Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) want to require utilities to greatly cut carbon emissions by mid-century.

  • They laid out the broad strokes of their planned bill in a USA Today op-ed Thursday and through information circulated to reporters.

How it works: It would create a "clean energy standard" requiring an 80% cut in power sector emissions by 2050 while providing the industry all kinds of leeway to determine how to get there.

  • The mandate would not begin for up to 10 years, to be preceded by "public and private investments in clean energy innovation and infrastructure development."
  • It would also inoculate the industry from Clean Air Act carbon emissions regulations during the 10-year ramp-up.

Why it matters: The plan says a lot about the state of climate politics. It signals the GOP shift away from rejecting or at least challenging consensus climate science.

  • McKinley was in that camp years ago but the new op-ed calls climate change the "greatest environmental and energy challenge of our time."

The big picture: It's far less aggressive than what senior Capitol Hill Democrats and the party's White House hopefuls are promoting.

  • "The plan is modest, compared to other Democratic proposals aiming to reach net-zero emissions by midcentury across the entire economy, and many states that have imposed immediate clean electricity standards without delay," the Washington Examiner notes.

Between the lines: Ideas for a federal "clean energy standard" of some sort have been rattling around for a decade.

  • I first started noticing them when Republicans floated them as an alternative to Democratic calls for renewables-specific mandates, and then-President Obama floated his own version in 2011.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

2 mins ago - Podcasts

Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reviewing two emergency use authorization requests for COVID-19 vaccines, with an outside advisory committee scheduled to meet next Thursday to review data from Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.

Axios Re:Cap digs in with former FDA commissioner Rob Calif about the EUA process, the science and who should make the final call.

The recovery needs rocket fuel

Data: BLS. Chart: Axios Visuals

Friday's deeply disappointing jobs report should light a fire under Congress, which has dithered despite signs the economy is struggling to kick back into gear.

Driving the news: President-elect Biden said Friday afternoon in Wilmington that he supports another round of $1,200 checks.

1 hour ago - Health

CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use"

Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

The CDC is urging “universal face mask use” for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, citing recent case spikes as the U.S. has entered a phase of “high-level transmission” before winter officially begins.

Why it matters: Daily COVID-related deaths across the U.S. hit a new record on Wednesday. Face coverings have been shown to increase protection of the wearer and those around them, despite some Americans' reluctance to use them.