Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Energy Secretary Rick Perry is preparing to step down by the end of the year, per several reports Thursday night citing anonymous sources familiar with his plans.

Why it matters: Perry has served far longer than many officials in President Trump's Cabinet and avoided the kinds of controversies that forced out ex-EPA chief Scott Pruitt and former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Where it stands: Politico reported last night that the former Texas governor is "expected" to announce his resignation by the end of November. A subsequent Washington Post story says the timing is "by the end of the year," while The New York Times reports the timeframe is "by December."

  • The Energy Department pushed back against the stories but stopped short of denying them outright.
  • "While the beltway media has breathlessly reported on rumors of Secretary Perry’s departure for months, he is still the Secretary of Energy and a proud member of President Trump’s cabinet," DOE spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said in a statement.
  • "One day the media will be right. Today is not that day," she added.

The big picture: Perry has been a vocal advocate for U.S. fossil fuel production and exports, in particular touting the role of U.S. liquefied natural gas in bolstering allies' energy security.

  • However, his high-profile efforts to create new federal support for coal-fired and nuclear plants at risk of closure never came to fruition.
  • Perry has also backed DOE's alternative energy programs, a delicate role at a time when White House officials have called for steep cuts that Congress has rejected on a bipartisan basis.
  • He notably has talked up the Advanced Research Projects Agency — Energy, which White House budget proposals have sought to choke off.

What's next: Democrats are seeking more information about Perry's interactions with Ukrainian officials as they investigate Trump ahead of potential impeachment.

  • However, per the Post: "[N]o evidence has emerged that Perry participated in the effort to pressure Ukranian officials to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter."

Go deeper: Democrats press Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Ukraine travels

Go deeper

Trump signs bill to prevent government shutdown

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel and President Trump arrives at the U.S. Capitol in March. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Trump signed a bill to extend current levels of government funding into the new fiscal year, White House spokesperson Judd Deere confirmed early Thursday.

Driving the news: The Senate on Tuesday passed the legislation to fund the federal government through Dec. 11, by a vote of 84-10.

Editor's note: This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

Updated 22 mins ago - Science

In photos: Deadly wildfires devastate California's wine country

The Shady Fire ravages a home as it approaches Santa Rosa in Napa County, California, on Sept. 28. The blaze is part of the massive Glass Fire Complex, which has razed over 51,620 acres at 2% containment. Photo: Samuel Corum/Agence France-Presse/AFP via Getty Images

More than 1700 firefighters are battling 26 major blazes across California, including in the heart of the wine country, where one mega-blaze claimed the lives of three people and forced thousands of others to evacuate this week.

The big picture: More than 8,100 wildfires have burned across a record 39 million-plus acres, killing 29 people and razing almost 7,900 structures in California this year, per Cal Fire. Just like the deadly blazes of 2017, the wine country has become a wildfires epicenter. Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma, and Shasta counties.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 33,880,896 — Total deaths: 1,012,964 — Total recoveries: 23,551,663Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 7,232,823 — Total deaths: 206,887 — Total recoveries: 2,840,688 — Total tests: 103,939,667Map.
  3. Education: School-aged children now make up 10% of all U.S COVID-19 cases.
  4. Health: Moderna says its coronavirus vaccine won't be ready until 2021
  5. Travel: CDC: 3,689 COVID-19 or coronavirus-like cases found on cruise ships in U.S. waters — Airlines begin mass layoffs while clinging to hope for federal aid
  6. Business: Real-time data show economy's rebound slowing but still going.
  7. Sports: Steelers-Titans NFL game delayed after coronavirus outbreak.