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Adam Sieminski, who was administrator of the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration under President Obama, says with a laugh that now he's left the government, he can have an opinion again. On the sidelines of a Brookings Institution confab in D.C. on Monday, he told Axios:

One opinion I don't have to stifle anymore is that I think the Keystone XL pipeline should have been built.

Why it matters now: With Republicans in control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, some Democrats might find it more politically possible to take positions that go counter to certain liberal causes, such as opposing fossil-fuel infrastructure like Keystone, which could lead to more bipartisan energy policy.

Our thought bubble: During the seven-year Keystone XL saga (which ultimately led Obama to reject it in November 2015), many Obama administration officials privately said the fight was a distraction and the pipeline should be approved. In the end though, symbolic climate politics won out over pragmatic energy policy.

Go deeper

Biden says $1,400 stimulus payments can start going out this month

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Biden said Saturday that the Senate passage of his $1.9 trillion COVID relief package means the $1,400 direct payments for most Americans can begin going out later this month.

Driving the news: The Senate voted 50-49 Saturday to approve the sweeping legislation. The House is expected to pass the Senate's version of the bill next week before it heads to Biden's desk for his signature.

7 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 drives smell loss awareness, research

A health worker carries out an olfactory test outside Buenos Aires. Photo: Alejandro Pagni/AFP via Getty Images

The pandemic has thrust a relatively unknown ailment, anosmia — or smell loss — into the international spotlight.

Why it matters: Researchers hope smell testing becomes as standard as the annual flu shot, helping to detect early signs of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.