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Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.). Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Democratic Rep. Paul Tonko of New York is working on a cap-and-trade bill to cut greenhouse gas emissions, Axios has learned. Tonko’s measure is the third comprehensive climate-change measure to surface in the last couple of weeks in the House.

The bottom line: These bills are very unlikely to get broad support any time soon, and they offer competing ways to address climate change. But the mere introduction indicates a thawing of sorts after a decade of mostly dormant policy in this space on Capitol Hill.

Tonko is the top Democrat on the environment panel of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, which has primary jurisdiction over the topic.

  • The other two bills: a formerly introduced carbon tax bill by GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida, and another carbon-pricing bill that Rep. Ted Deutch, a Democrat also from Florida, is working on with other Republicans, Deutch told Axios last week.

One level deeper: Second-quarter lobbying filings by Shell and BP reflect their engagement on these bills, particularly the Curbelo and Tonko measures.

  1. Tonko’s office confirmed he’s working on the bill and is soliciting input from stakeholders including companies, but a spokesman didn’t provide details. His bill creates a cap-and-trade system where companies buy and sell credits of carbon while staying below an overall emissions limit.
  2. Curbelo met with oil companies and other stakeholders before he introduced his bill last week, which would likely prompt increased disclosure on the matter in federally required filings. A BP spokesman confirmed that company's participation.
"Our advocacy has always been to educate, trying to build support for a federal carbon price ... It feels like there's a breeze, a slight breeze, and I don't know if it ever becomes a wind. Depends on what happens in the fall."
— Industry official involved in the debate

What's next: While not about climate change, the midterm elections could have a big impact on whether the issue gets closer to the front-burner next Congress if Democrats win control of the House.

Go deeper

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.

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