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Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse participates in a House Judiciary Committee hearing. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Big oil companies set to meet with Pope Francis later this week are being "duplicitous" in their support for addressing climate change, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island, says in a letter to the Pope dated Tuesday and being released today.

Why it matters: This letter is a window into the heart of the world’s climate and energy debate: To what degree big oil and gas companies, whose products are warming the Earth but also help run the global economy, are genuine about being part of the solution to climate change.

The details: Whitehouse says the oil companies, including ExxonMobil and BP, continue supporting trade groups that oppose any climate policies and aren’t supporting a carbon price bill Whitehouse has sponsored. He wrote:

“[I]t is painfully evident that the oil industry is duplicitous in its public-facing statements as it remorsefully schemes through proxies and agents to obstruct in the United States Congress the very progress it claims to seek.”

For the record: Oil company officials have said they can’t single-handedly change the near zero appetite Congress has to address climate change policy right now, and also that governments in general haven’t done enough on the issue in decades past.

Go deeper: Big Oil teeters between enemy and ally in climate fight.

Go deeper

5 mins ago - Politics & Policy
Scoop

White House plots "full-court press" for $1.9 trillion relief plan

National Economic Council Director Brian Deese speaks during a White House news briefing. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Biden White House is deploying top officials to get a wide ideological spectrum of lawmakers, governors and mayors on board with the president’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief proposal, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The broad, choreographed effort shows just how crucially Biden views the stimulus to the nation's recovery and his own political success.

5 mins ago - World

Scoop: Sudan wants to seal Israel normalization deal at White House

Burhan. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/AFP via Getty

Three months after Sudan agreed to normalize relations with Israel, it still hasn't signed an agreement to formally do so. Israeli officials tell me one reason has now emerged: Sudan wants to sign the deal at the White House.

Driving the news: Israel sent Sudan a draft agreement for establishing diplomatic relations several weeks ago, but the Sudanese didn’t reply, the officials say. On Tuesday, Israeli Minister of Intelligence Eli Cohen raised that issue in Khartoum during the first-ever visit of an Israeli minister to Sudan.