Updated Feb 9, 2018

Surprise: Congress backs a bipartisan climate policy

A coal-fired plant in England that installed carbon capture technology. Photo: OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images

The budget bill Congress passed early Friday morning includes a narrow but important tax incentive that would support technology capturing carbon emissions from coal plants and other facilities.

Why it matters: It helps make the economic case for this type of technology, which established science says is essential in cutting greenhouse gas emissions to the level scientists say we must, but is currently too expensive in most instances. It’s also seen as key for coal’s long-term viability in a world combating climate change.

Gritty details: The tax credit, which Congress first created in 2008, is expanded and extended for 12 years in the current budget bill, which experts say would increase the chances of more deployment across a range of innovative but costly technologies in this space. The bill's diverse backers could tout different benefits — climate change or coal's future.

The intrigue: As chief sponsor, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat from North Dakota, has been building an unusually broad coalition of support for the measure that began a couple of years ago (and far earlier for broader efforts on carbon capture). The measure’s sponsors include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican from Kentucky, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat from Rhode Island. Heitkamp also gathered diverse stakeholder support, ranging from environmental groups to coal companies.

In short, Heitkamp’s efforts represent a bipartisan exception to the partisan rule on one of the most partisan topics: energy and climate change.

Yes, but: Absent policy monetizing carbon emissions more broadly, this tax incentive is unlikely to prompt a huge wave of new projects.

Go deeper on my past Axios stories about carbon capture:

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The cost of going after Bloomberg

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Here's the growing dilemma for 2020 Democrats vying for a one-on-one showdown with frontrunner Bernie Sanders: Do they have the guts — and the money — to first stop Mike Bloomberg?

Why it matters: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren all must weigh the costs of punching Bloomberg where he looks most vulnerable: stop-and-frisk, charges of sexism, billionaire entitlement. The more zealous the attacks, the greater the risk he turns his campaign ATM against them.

How Trump’s economy stacks up

Source: "Presidents and US Economy", Trump figures through 2019 courtesy of Alan Blinder; Note: Data shows real GDP and Q1 growth in each term is attributed to the previous president; Chart: Axios Visuals

Average economic growth under President Trump has outpaced the growth under Barack Obama, but not all of his recent predecessors.

Why it matters: GDP is the most comprehensive economic scorecard — and something presidents, especially Trump, use as an example of success. And it's especially relevant since Trump is running for re-election on his economic record.

Coronavirus cases rise as 14 American evacuees infected

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

14 Americans evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship tested positive for the novel coronavirus before being flown in a "specialist containment" on a plane repatriating U.S. citizens back home, the U.S. government said early Monday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,770 people and infected almost 70,000 others. Most cases and all but five of the deaths have occurred in mainland China. Taiwan confirmed its first death on Sunday, per multiple reports, in a 61-year-old man with underlying health conditions. Health officials were investigating how he became ill.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Health