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EPA Chief Scott Pruitt. Photo: Pete Marovich / Getty Images

Here are highlights from Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s appearance Tuesday in front of the Senate, the first since his confirmation almost a year ago:

  • Pruitt said he didn’t remember predicting in a 2016 interview that Donald Trump would abuse the Constitution more than Barack Obama did if elected president.
  • Be smart: Pruitt joins a long list of conservative politicians who criticized candidate Trump during the campaign, but went on to pledge their support to the president following his election.
  • Pruitt said he was still considering some sort of public debate about climate-change science, but he didn’t provide many details beyond that.
    • Reality check: Most scientists agree human activity is the driving cause of a warmer planet over the last century. The debate should exist around what policies governments should impose to address the associated risks.
  • He wouldn’t say whether he would seek to review a scientific finding on climate change that Obama's EPA issued in 2009.
    • Reality check: Trump's EPA is working to write a pared-down rule cutting carbon emissions from power plants, a subtle indication the agency isn’t going to touch the finding, which legally underpins that rule.
  • Pruitt indicated he doesn’t support California’s fuel-efficiency standards driving stronger federal standards by saying federalism “doesn’t mean one state has the ability to dictate the rest of the country.”
    • Yes, but: He’s said things like this before, and the big auto companies don't want him to revoke that waiver, as it would create a regulatory mess for them.

Go deeper

Biden says presidency "will be determined" by outcome of spending plans

President Biden walks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after addressing the House Democratic Caucus on Thursday. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden told the House Democratic caucus Thursday "my presidency will be determined" by the votes he wants in the next week on his $1.75 trillion social safety net expansion and $1.2 trillion infrastructure package.

Driving the news: Biden made the comment, according to a source in the room, as he tried to rally support for the $1.75 trillion package. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi acted immediately, calling for a vote on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill later in the day.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
5 mins ago - Energy & Environment

China declines to speed emissions cuts in new UN pledge

A view of the skyscrapers in the haze in Shanghai, China, in December 2020. Photo: Feature China/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Chinese leaders are sticking with a prior target to bring the country's carbon emissions to a peak before 2030, according to documents filed with the United Nations Thursday under the Paris climate agreement.

Why it matters: The new documents come just days ahead of the UN climate summit (COP26) in Glasgow. China is by far the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter, and its emissions path is key to whether the temperature-limiting goals of the Paris agreement can remain within reach.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Biden lays out $1.75 trillion "framework" before Europe departure

President Biden in Kearny, N.J., on Oct. 25. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

President Biden announced Thursday a "framework" for $1.75 trillion in social program and climate change spending after failing in prior efforts to win over his fellow Democrats on a much broader and costlier package.

Why it matters: Biden is gambling that by proclaiming the broad contours of the proposal, which he immediately began selling in a meeting with House Democrats before jetting off to Europe, progressives will vote for his $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan if and when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi brings it to the floor.