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Evan Vucci / AP

House Speaker Paul Ryan will head to the Buckeye State during this week's Congressional recess to begin his sales pitch for tax reform, according to a source with direct knowledge. After grinding a healthcare bill through the House (a bill that's about to face even more resistance in the Senate), the Speaker should relish the opportunity to change the topic.

  • Ryan travels to Ohio on Wednesday. He'll make the case for tax reform in general and (unsurprisingly) won't emphasize his disagreements with the White House.
  • The Speaker will visit manufacturing companies near Columbus and hold a roundtable discussion with local business leaders.
  • Our source says the event will serve as the beginning of coordinated efforts between House leadership and the administration to sell tax reform.

Between the lines: Ryan obviously favors his own tax plan, endorsed by the rest of House Republican leadership and Ways and Means chair Kevin Brady. The White House also likes a good deal of Ryan's plan, but considers some of its key components politically unfeasible — especially the "border adjustment tax" that would raise more than $1 trillion over ten years by hiking taxes on imports, while cutting taxes on American-made goods that get exported. Private negotiations between the Hill and the White House on the issue will take weeks if not months. In the meantime, Ryan wants to lead a public discussion to generate momentum behind the idea of tax reform.

A big open question: Can Ryan sell tax policy in a way that will appeal to Trump voters across the Rust Belt?

Go deeper

OIG: HHS misused millions of dollars intended for public health threats

Vaccine vials. Photo: Punit Paranjpe/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel alerted the White House and Congress on Wednesday of an investigation that found the Department of Health and Human Services misused millions of dollars that were budgeted for vaccine research and public health emergencies for Ebola, Zika and now the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: The more than 200-page investigation corroborated claims from a whistleblower, showing the agency's violation of the Purpose Statute spanned both the Obama and Trump administrations and paid for unrelated projects like salaries, news subscriptions and the removal of office furniture.

John Kerry: U.S.-China climate cooperation is a "critical standalone issue"

President Biden's special climate envoy John Kerry said Wednesday that the U.S. must deal with China on climate change as a "critical standalone issue," but stressed that confronting Beijing's human rights and trade abuses "will never be traded" for climate cooperation.

Why it matters: The last few years have brought about a bipartisan consensus on the threat posed by China. But as the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter, China will be a vital player if the world is going to come close to reining in emissions on the scale needed to meet the Paris Agreement goals of limiting warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

In cyber espionage, U.S. is both hunted and hunter

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

American outrage over foreign cyber espionage, like Russia's SolarWinds hack, obscures the uncomfortable reality that the U.S. secretly does just the same thing to other countries.

Why it matters: Secrecy is often necessary in cyber spying to protect sources and methods, preserve strategic edges that may stem from purloined information, and prevent diplomatic incidents.