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Carolyn Kaster / AP

New Environmental Protection Agency secretary Scott Pruitt — confirmed by the Senate 52-46 Friday — told the WSJ that he will vigorously defend states' rights, and pledged to keep the EPA's annual $7 billion budget — roughly half — that goes to the states as funds and grants.

Pruitt argues that his dedication to rebalancing power between Washington and the states departs from previous administrations, mainly Obama's. "This past administration didn't bother with statutes," said Pruitt. "They displaced Congress, disregarded the law, and in general said they would act in their own way. That now ends."

Pruitt's approach to also defies the stereotype of wanting to gut the agency, WSJ's Kimberley Strassel writes. At the same time, he's also been a target of members of the anti-Trump "resistance" who have threatened to bury Pruitt in lawsuits if he attempts to roll back their agenda. But Pruitt said he isn't too worried about his opponents. He argues that by sticking to the statues and ensuring that the state's get their fair share of power, the EPA will be protected from all rival factions.

Go deeper

19 mins ago - World

Netanyahu and Israel reluctantly adjust to a post-Trump Washington

Netanyahu (R) and Biden in 2010. Photo: Avi Ohayon/GPO via Getty

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his close aides are very nervous about the transition to a new U.S. administration after a four-year honeymoon with Donald Trump. One Israeli official told me it felt like going through detox.

What he's saying: Netanyahu congratulated Biden minutes after he was sworn in, saying in a statement that he looked forward to working together to "continue expanding peace between Israel and the Arab world and to confront common challenges, chief among them the threat posed by Iran."

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. State of play: New coronavirus cases down, but more bad news ahead.
  2. Politics: Biden set to immediately ramp up federal pandemic response with 10 executive actions — Scoop: Joe Biden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. World: Biden will order U.S. to rejoin World Health OrganizationBiden to bring U.S. into global COVAX initiative for equitable vaccine access.
  4. Vaccine: Amazon offers to help Biden administration with COVID vaccine efforts.
Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

First glimpse of the Biden market

Photo: Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images

Investors made clear what companies they think will be winners and which will be losers in President Joe Biden's economy on Wednesday, selling out of gun makers, pot purveyors, private prison operators and payday lenders, and buying up gambling, gaming, beer stocks and Big Tech.

What happened: Private prison operator CoreCivic and private prison REIT Geo fell by 7.8% and 4.1%, respectively, while marijuana ETF MJ dropped 2% and payday lenders World Acceptance and EZCorp each fell by more than 1%.