Updated Mar 15, 2018

Coal-state Republicans push longshot coal tax credit

A pile of coal at a West Virginia plant. Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Six House Republicans representing coal-intensive states introduced a bill Wednesday creating a new tax credit subsidizing virtually all coal plants across the U.S., as a way to support the reliability of America’s electric grid.

Why it matters: It’s the latest effort by the coal lobby and its backers in Washington to support the economically struggling fleet of coal plants after the Energy Department’s efforts to boost their revenues through power-market rules was rejected by independent federal regulators.

Flashback: The coal lobby has been trying for months to get Congress to introduce this proposal, as I reported exclusively in this December column.

Gritty details: Rep. Larry Bucshon, Republican from Indiana, introduced the bill along with five other Republicans: Joe Barton of Texas, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Andy Barr of Kentucky, and David McKinley and Evan Jenkins of West Virginia.

One level deeper: A parallel effort I wrote about in December, a similar tax credit for existing nuclear plants, surfaced in bipartisan legislation introduced late last year by Rep. Patrick Meehan, Republican from Pennsylvania. Unlike coal, nuclear power brings with it Democratic support because it doesn’t emit any carbon when burned as electricity.

Bottom line: Both of these efforts are long shots given Congress is not in the mood for creating wholly new tax subsidies, whose price tags will be into the billions (though likely less than the December proposals). The measures nonetheless show the strong influence industry has with Congress.

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OPEC+ and G20 energy meetings mark zero hour for oil diplomacy

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The next two days will be pivotal for determining whether large oil-producing countries can partially stabilize an industry reeling from very low prices and the historic, coronavirus-fueled collapse in demand.

Driving the news: The OPEC+ group led by Saudi Arabia and Russia begin meeting remotely later Thursday morning to discuss production cuts, to be followed by a virtual Friday meeting among G20 energy ministers that includes the U.S.

Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 a.m. ET: 1,498,833 — Total deaths: 89,733 — Total recoveries: 337,074Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 a.m. ET: 432,438 — Total deaths: 14,808 — Total recoveries: 24,125Map.
  3. Business: Fed will lend up to $2.3 trillion amid coronavirus crisis — Another 6.6 million jobless claims filed last week
  4. Public health latest: The federal government is in the process of deploying 90% of its stockpiled medical equipment to fight the pandemic.
  5. States latest: New York has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe — Chicago's Cook County jail is largest-known source of coronavirus in U.S.
  6. Poll: 1 in 10 Americans believe economy will never return to normal from coronavirus.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Fed will lend up to $2.3 trillion amid coronavirus crisis

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell at a press conference in March. Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

The Federal Reserve announced Thursday that it will support the coronavirus-hit economy with up to $2.3 trillion in loans to businesses, state and city governments — made possible in part by Treasury funds set aside in the government stimulus package.

Why it matters: The Fed has taken more action amid the coronavirus outbreak than it has in any other financial crisis in U.S. history in an effort to blunt the effects of the resultant economic shutdown.

DetailsArrowUpdated 37 mins ago - Economy & Business