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

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election — Republican senators defend Fauci as Trump escalates attacks.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots — University of Michigan students ordered to shelter-in-place.
Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden has huge cash advantage over Trump as Election Day nears

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in Wilmington, Delaware, on Monday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden had $177.3 million in the bank at the end of September, per the latest Federal Election Commission filings.

Why it matters: President Trump's re-election campaign reported having $63.1 million in the bank at the end of last month, as campaigning enters the final stretch ahead of Election Day on Nov. 3.

Court allows North Carolina mail-in ballots deadline extension

An absentee ballot election worker stuffs ballot applications at the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections office in Charlotte, North Carolina, in September. Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images

North Carolina can accept absentee ballots that are postmarked Nov. 3, Election Day, until Nov. 12, a federal appeals court decided Tuesday in a 12-3 majority ruling.

Why it matters: The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling against state and national Republican leaders settles a lawsuit brought by a group representing retirees, and it could see scores of additional votes counted in the key battleground state.