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EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has been in Morocco to talk about the U.S./Morocco trade agreement and how American natural gas can help the Moroccan economy, according to an agency official.

Why it matters: Natural gas, which produces 50% less carbon emissions than coal, has been a key part of the environmental platform for an administration that has otherwise focused on rolling back regulations. Morocco hosted the United Nations climate talks last year.

Between the lines: Pruitt has taken a very broad definition to what his mission is at the agency, whose stated mission is to protect human health and the environment in the U.S. It is not customary for the environmental chief of the U.S. to be touting natural gas as an economic solution to another country.

One level deeper: The EPA has faced criticism for not publicly alerting the administrator’s travel ahead of time. It was not previously publicly known than Pruitt was traveling abroad.

Go deeper

5 mins ago - Podcasts

Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reviewing two emergency use authorization requests for COVID-19 vaccines, with an outside advisory committee scheduled to meet next Thursday to review data from Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.

Axios Re:Cap digs in with former FDA commissioner Rob Calif about the EUA process, the science and who should make the final call.

10 mins ago - Politics & Policy

The recovery needs rocket fuel

Data: BLS. Chart: Axios Visuals

Friday's deeply disappointing jobs report should light a fire under Congress, which has dithered despite signs the economy is struggling to kick back into gear.

Driving the news: President-elect Biden said Friday afternoon in Wilmington that he supports another round of $1,200 checks.

1 hour ago - Health

CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use"

Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

The CDC is urging “universal face mask use” for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, citing recent case spikes as the U.S. has entered a phase of “high-level transmission” before winter officially begins.

Why it matters: Daily COVID-related deaths across the U.S. hit a new record on Wednesday. Face coverings have been shown to increase protection of the wearer and those around them, despite some Americans' reluctance to use them.