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Senator Sullivan speaking at CERAWeek. Photo: Amy Harder / Axios

HOUSTON -- A Republican lawmaker and a CEO of a pipeline company expressed concern over President Trump’s plans to impose tariffs on steel at an energy confab getting underway today in America’s oil capital.

The bottom line: Expect this to be one of the most prevalent themes here at the conference, called CERAWeek by IHS Markit, coming just a few days after the tumultuous announcement out of the White House last week.

Fast facts: The oil and gas industry is heavily dependent upon steel to construct pipelines to move their products. Much of the steel used is imported, largely because the type of steel used is not readily available in America.

Quoted:

“Right now the approach seems to be splitting our allies apart.”
— Sen. Daniel Sullivan, Republican from Alaska
“We don’t think it would be appropriate to put a tariff on something you can’t buy here in the United States... We’ll survive no matter what. It’s a thornier issue than printed in the headlines."
— Gregory Armstrong, CEO and chairman of Plains All American Pipeline

The intrigue: Those comments came during the opening event at the conference, hosted by IHS executive and energy historian Daniel Yergin. The question came toward the end of Yergin’s conversation with Sullivan and Armstrong, but it was what everyone was waiting for: “And I guess I should ask you what you think about tariffs. Who wants to go first.”

Go deeper: Trump should be great for oil and gas. He’s not.

Go deeper

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas case, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

Officials warn 5 key tech sectors will determine whether China overtakes U.S.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. intelligence officials responsible for protecting advanced technologies have narrowed their focus to five key sectors: artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology, semiconductors and autonomous systems.

Why it matters: China and Russia are employing a variety of legal and illegal methods to undermine and overtake U.S. dominance in these critical industries, officials warned in a new paper. Their success will determine "whether America remains the world’s leading superpower or is eclipsed by strategic competitors."

5 hours ago - Health

Pfizer says COVID vaccine over 90% effective in kids

Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech said their COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective at protecting children between the ages of 5 and 11 from symptomatic infections from the virus, according to a study posted online by the FDA Friday.

Why it matters: Pfizer is seeking an emergency use authorization to vaccinate children — one of the last groups of Americans still largely ineligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine.

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