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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Photo: Win McNamee / Staff

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday that oil companies are eligible for aid from new lending programs the Federal Reserve is setting up, but not direct loans from his department.

Why it matters: U.S. producers are facing financial distress from the price collapse that stems from COVID-19 causing an unprecedented drop in oil demand, and the Saudi-Russia price war.

Driving the news: GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who heads the Energy Committee, on Wednesday sent Mnuchin a letter urging him to consider the industry for loans under the recently signed $2.2 trillion economic rescue bill.

Where it stands: Mnuchin, when asked about her request at a White House briefing, said he has "very limited ability to do direct loans out of the Treasury," and that he can provide only for specific sectors including airlines and national security companies.

But he added: "Outside of that, we work with the Federal Reserve to create broad-based lending facilities, which we will do."

"Our expectation is the energy companies, like all our other companies, will be able to participate in broad-based facilities, whether it's the corporate facility or whether it's the Main Street facility."
— Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”