Justin Green Mar 18, 2017
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Rex Tillerson finally speaks

Alex Brandon / AP

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has given an interview in his new role. Highlights from his conversation with IJR's Erin McPike:

  • The big question on China: "I think there's a question, perhaps even in the minds of the Chinese: How will the American people, the Chinese people, live with each other in this world for the next half century?"
  • Denied cutting short his meeting with the South Koreans: "They never invited us for dinner, then at the last minute they realized that optically it wasn't playing very well in public for them, so they put out a statement that we didn't have dinner because I was tired."
  • On Trump's North Korea tweet, which said: "North Koreans are behaving badly and China has done little to help." Tillerson said it came without warning, but was in line with their private conversations.
  • Defended his decision to only take one reporter (McPike) on his plane: "[W]e're trying to save money ... and we're going to destinations that, by and large, the media outlets have significant presence already... I spend my time working on this airplane. The entire time we're in the air, I'm working."
Amy Harder 9 mins ago
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Column / Harder Line

The swamp’s tug-o-war over America’s ethanol mandate

American eagle with corn in its claws
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

A biofuels standard Congress passed more than a decade ago in the name of rural development, energy security and climate change has devolved into an arcane fight over market share that has nothing to do with those initial three goals.

Why it matters: The law — called the renewable fuel standard that requires refineries to blend biofuels into gasoline — is a textbook example of how regulations create winners, losers and unintended consequences.

Caitlin Owens 39 mins ago
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GOP: Fixing the tax law is nothing like fixing the ACA

Sens. John Thune, Roy Blunt and Mitch McConnell
Sens. John Thune, Roy Blunt and Mitch McConnell (Photo: Al Drago / Getty Images)

Republicans have discovered their tax law contains a mistake and are hoping Democrats will help them fix it. But if the narrative of "one party passed a giant law and now wants to change it" sounds familiar, Republicans are insisting this is different from when they wouldn't help fix the Democrats' Affordable Care Act.

Between the lines: This is a great indicator of why Congress struggles to get anything done — because now the precedent has been set for one party to refuse to fix problems with the other party's laws. And for what it's worth, some Democrats are also denying the parallel — because, of course, they say their ACA process was much more inclusive than the GOP's tax one.