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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

The money manager behind New York's public pension fund, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, is leading the charge urging more action on climate change within ExxonMobil and other publicly traded companies.

Why it matters: The investment community is becoming an alternative battleground between corporations as U.S. government policy on climate change retreats under President Trump.

Where it stands: New York's fund and Church of England's endowment have filed a non-binding but symbolically significant resolution for consideration at Exxon's annual meeting in May, calling for the company to disclose targets drastically reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. The oil giant has asked the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, which governs the process, to throw it out. A decision is expected imminently.

One level deeper: Here are edited excerpts of my recent interview with DiNapoli for my latest Harder Line column.

Axios: Would you ever consider divesting your shares — about 0.25% of all outstanding Exxon shares — if the company doesn't act in the way you're calling for?

"We do that rarely and not without very significant deliberation … Having a voice at the table, trying to press them to do the right thing, that in the short run I still think is a smarter strategy. Longer term, we're going to keep a close eye on how Exxon behaves in response to our calls. … I'm sure they would love us to sell our shares so we wouldn’t be at the table anymore pressing them."

Axios: What's your reaction to Norway’s sovereign wealth fund — the largest in the world — divesting from some oil companies, those focused just on exploring and producing?

"Some people have argued, 'look at Norway, they're pulling out of all of this.' They're not really. It's a lot more nuanced and complex than divestment advocates recognize or are willing to admit. … You can't lose sight of the fact that while we certainly want companies to do the right thing on climate change, at the end of the day we have to produce returns that support retirement benefits of 1.1 million New Yorkers."

What's next: DiNapoli will receive a report from an advisory panel this month recommending ways to make the fund he manages — more than $200 billion — greener.

Go deeper

37 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Democrats settling on 25% corporate tax rate

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The universe of Democratic senators concerned about raising the corporate tax rate to 28% is broader than Sen. Joe Manchin, and the rate will likely land at 25%, parties close to the discussion tell Axios.

Why it matters: While increasing the rate from 21% to 25% would raise about $600 billion over 15 years, it would leave President Biden well short of paying for his proposed $2.25 trillion, eight-year infrastructure package.

GOP pivot: Big business to small dollars

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Republican leaders turned to grassroots supporters and raked in sizable donations after corporations cut them off post-Jan. 6.

Why it matters: If those companies hoped to push the GOP toward the center, they may have done just the opposite by turning Republican lawmakers toward their most committed — and ideologically driven — supporters.

CDC: Half of US adults have received one COVID-19 vaccine dose

Data: CDC; Chart: Axios Visuals

Half of US adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and about a third are fully vaccinated, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are still on the rise, CDC director Rochelle Walensky said during Friday's White House COVID-19 briefing. With cases in many states being driven by variants, public health officials have emphasized the need to ramp up vaccinations.

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