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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

All kinds of strange things can happen in a lame-duck session — ahead of a White House transition no less — and apparently a bipartisan energy deal is among them.

Driving the news: Per multiple reports (like this Washington Examiner piece) and some of Axios' own sourcing, lawmakers are closing in on an agreement on a package that would be attached to an omnibus spending deal moving through Congress.

Why it matters: One major provision is an apparent deal on phasing down the use of hydrofluorocarbons, a very potent greenhouse gas used in refrigeration, air-conditioning and other applications.

  • "We have made very good progress towards an agreement on HFC reduction," Sen. Chuck Schumer, the top Senate Democrat, said on the chamber's floor yesterday.
  • He said it would be the "single biggest victory in the fight against climate change to pass this body in a decade."

The big picture: Per a draft reviewed by Axios and several reports, the overall measure contains a suite of provisions authorizing finance and overhaul of Energy Department programs to boost innovation and deployment of carbon removal tech, energy storage, renewables, nuclear and more.

  • Here's a snippet of a detailed E&E News piece this morning: "In total, the bill would authorize $35.2 billion in research spending over the next decade. That includes more than a dozen demonstration projects on advanced nuclear reactors, energy storage and carbon capture technologies."

Yes, but: Bipartisan energy deals come around extremely rarely, so let's see if this actually happens.

  • Roll Call reported last night that "House Democratic leadership had not delivered an official blessing of the energy deal" and that the situation is "fluid."

Go deeper

24 hours ago - World

Iran lays out "road map" for nuclear talks with Biden

Khamenei earlier this month. Photo: Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty

Iran has been accumulating bargaining chips and laying out its strategy for engagement with Joe Biden, who arrives in office promising to return the U.S. to the 2015 nuclear deal if Iran returns to compliance.

Why it matters: Recent statements from Iran's leaders indicate that they're willing to strike such a deal. But the sides differ over who will have to make the first move, and when.

On Day One, Biden will move to rejoin Paris Climate Agreement

Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

President-elect Biden on Wednesday will begin the formal process for the U.S. to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, making good on a highly touted campaign promise.

Catch up fast: President Trump first announced his intention to abandon the accord in June 2017, angering countries worldwide. The U.S. became the only country to pull out of the pact on Nov. 4, 2020, the day after the election and the first possible day for the country to withdraw under the agreement's terms.

43 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Stalemate over filibuster freezes Congress

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell's inability to quickly strike a deal on a power-sharing agreement in the new 50-50 Congress is slowing down everything from the confirmation of President Biden's nominees to Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Why it matters: Whatever final stance Schumer takes on the stalemate, which largely comes down to Democrats wanting to use the legislative filibuster as leverage over Republicans, will be a signal of the level of hardball we should expect Democrats to play with Republicans in the new Senate.