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John Minchillo / AP

Sen. Rob Portman says he's going to vote for a measure repealing an Obama-era regulation cutting methane emissions from oil and natural gas wells on federal lands after getting concessions from the Trump administration on the issue.

Why this matters: Portman's planned yes vote makes it more likely the measure will pass the Senate by week's end. Portman represents the moderate flank of the GOP, so his position is important and could foreshadow the vote of others that had been undecided.

The details: Portman says he decided to vote yes after he asked for and got concessions from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, whose department has jurisdiction over the issue, that he would still address the issue of the waste of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, which is sometimes inadvertently emitted from oil and gas wells.

In a letter dated May 4 and obtained Monday by Axios, Zinke writes to Portman that he will "take concrete action to reduce methane waste" within the confines of the Interior Department's existing regulatory framework.

For the record: In announcing his decision, Portman writes that he got commitments from the department that despite the repeal of this rule, it will do more to prevent waste of methane emissions. "And I will hold the agency accountable to ensure that it does."

Who's next? Other senators who remain publicly undecided on this vote include Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, along with Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, according to spokespeople for their offices.

The big picture: Out of the handful of Obama-era energy regulations that Congress has sought to roll back since Jan. 20, this is the only one that is facing an uphill battle. That's a testament to advertising and lobbying by groups like the Environmental Defense Fund, and to the notion that moderates from both parties remain concerned about the environment and climate change, despite the prevailing rhetoric from GOP leaders across Washington.

Go deeper

Scoop: U.S. begins denying Afghan immigrants

Afghan refugees on a bus bound for temporary housing after arriving in Greece. Photo: Byron Smith/Getty Images

The Biden administration has begun issuing denials to Afghans seeking to emigrate to the United States through the humanitarian parole process, after a system that typically processes 2,000 applications annually has been flooded with more than 30,000.

Why it matters: Afghans face steeper odds and longer processes for escaping to the U.S., despite the earlier sweeping efforts by the Biden administration to assist its allies. Immigration lawyers and advocacy groups say the government has set untenable barriers to a safe haven in the U.S.

43 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Dems invoke Robert Byrd to sell Manchin on Senate rules changes

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photos: Diana Walker, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A small group of Senate Democrats is privately invoking the legacy of late West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd in an effort to sway Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to support their plans to change the chamber's rules, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Manchin — who holds Byrd's Senate seat — has often referenced his predecessor's strong moral conviction and insistence on preserving the Senate as an institution, as justification for some of his tough positions.

House votes to ban imports from Xinjiang over forced labor concerns

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The House voted 428-1 on Wednesday to pass a bill that would ban all imports from the Chinese region of Xinjiang unless the U.S. government determines that the products were not made with forced labor.

Why it matters: Both the Trump and Biden administrations, as well as several foreign parliaments, have recognized China's repression of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang as genocide.