Jan 30, 2018

EPA chief in Senate hot seat: highlights

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

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 5,929,312 — Total deaths: 357,781 — Total recoveries — 2,385,926Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 1,709,996 — Total deaths: 101,002 — Total recoveries: 391,508 — Total tested: 15,192,481Map.
  3. States: New York to allow private businesses to deny entry to customers without masks.
  4. Public health: Louisiana Sen. Cassidy wants more frequent testing of nursing home workers.
  5. Congress: Pelosi slams McConnell on stimulus delay — Sen. Tim Kaine and wife test positive for coronavirus antibodies.
  6. Business: Louisiana senator says young people are key to reopening the economy —U.S. GDP drop revised lower to 5% in the first quarter.
  7. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 43 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Twitter fact-checks Chinese official's claims that coronavirus originated in U.S.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. Photo: Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter slapped a fact-check label on a pair of months-old tweets from a Chinese government spokesperson that falsely suggested that the coronavirus originated in the U.S. and was brought to Wuhan by the U.S. military, directing users to "get the facts about COVID-19."

Why it matters: The labels were added after criticism that Twitter had fact-checked tweets from President Trump about mail-in voting, but not other false claims from Chinese Communist Party officials and other U.S. adversaries.

Podcast: Trump vs. Twitter, round two

President Trump is escalating his response to Twitter’s fact check of his recent tweets about mail-in voting, issuing an executive order that's designed to begin limiting social media's liability protections. Dan digs in with Axios' Margaret Harding McGill.

Go deeper: Twitter vs. Trump... vs. Twitter

1 hour ago - Politics & Policy