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Scott Pruitt. Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

The White House has told the Environmental Protection Agency to stand down on two changes regarding ethanol quotas after backlash from Iowa politicians, according to a Bloomberg report.

Why it matters: Head of federal affairs for petroleum refining company Andeaver, Stephen Brown, told Bloomberg that "the administration essentially had no choice but to relent," because Iowa senators were "threatening to hold nominees hostage" until they got their way. Republican senator Chuck Grassley said it was a matter of the president sticking to his promise.

The changes being reportedly dropped by the EPA are a reduction in biodiesel requirements, and a proposal letting exported biofuels count toward domestic quotas. The ethanol industry (and Iowa politicians "seeking to preserve demand for corn and soy") strongly opposed the latter.

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in Wednesday's press briefing that Trump had a call with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, and that they plan to continue looking at the renewable fuels standard program, which requires refineries to blend ethanol and other biofuels into the nation's gasoline supply.

Go deeper: Axios' Jonathan Swan and Amy Harder discuss why Trump has to work with Grassley..

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Iran rejects nuclear talks with U.S., for now

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif at Iran/EU talks in 2015. Photo: Carlos Barria/POOL/AFP via Getty

A spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that conditions are not ripe for informal nuclear talks between Iran, the U.S. and other world powers.

Why it matters: The Biden administration had proposed the talks as part of its efforts to negotiate a path back to the 2015 nuclear deal. The White House expressed disappointment with Iran's response, but said it remained willing to engage with Tehran.

1 hour ago - Health

U.S. sets weekend records for daily COVID vaccinations

A driver waits to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in Inglewood, California on Feb. 26. Photo: Eric Thayer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Just over 2.4 million coronavirus vaccinations were reported to the CDC on Sunday, matching Saturday's record-high for inoculations as seen in Bloomberg's vaccine tracker.

Why it matters: Vaccinations are ramping up again after widespread delays caused by historic winter storms. Over 75 million vaccine doses have been administered thus far, with 7.5% of the population fully vaccinated and 15% having received at least one dose.

GOP Sen. Bill Cassidy: "We will lose" if we continue to idolize Trump

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) told CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday he does not believe that former President Trump will, or should, be the Republican nominee for president in 2024.

What he's saying: Cassidy pointed out that "over the last four years, [Republicans] lost the House of Representatives, the Senate and the presidency. That has not happened ... since Herbert Hoover."