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Brennan Linsley / AP

The American Petroleum Institute has tapped Megan Bloomgren, who worked on the Trump administration's transition team at the Interior Department, to be its top communications official.

Why it matters: Finding a unified voice in trade associations is like herding cats, and Bloomgren will be at the heart of that task shaping the group's public communications strategy amid tumultuous times in Washington and an unpredictable administration. The group, the U.S.'s biggest lobbying group representing the oil and natural-gas industry, finds itself on offense after eight years of mostly defense with former President Obama's aggressive regulatory agenda.

But remember: Offense is not always easier than defense. Bloomgren says her top priorities will include making sure the industry's tax policies are protected in any overhaul Congress might pursue, expanding access to land and water to drill and influencing Washington's infrastructure debate. The industry itself is divided on some of these issues, with integrated oil companies like ExxonMobil Corp., and Royal Dutch Shell often on different sides than more domestically focused companies.

Her background: Before helping Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke through his confirmation process, Bloomgren was at the public relations firm DCI Group, and has also held communication jobs at various federal agencies under then-President George W. Bush, including the Energy Department and EPA.

Her predecessor:

Bloomgren is replacing Linda Rozett, who is retiring after seven years on the job, according to API.

Go deeper

Congress plots COVID pandemic-era office upgrades

oving crates outside Rep. Elise Stefanik's old office Tuesday. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The House plans to renovate members' suites even though staff are worried about an influx of contractors and D.C. is tightening restrictions on large gatherings, some staffers told Axios.

Why it matters: The Capitol has been closed to public tours since March. Work over the holiday season comes as U.S. coronavirus cases spike, Americans beg for more pandemic assistance and food lines grow.

Trump pressures Barr to release so-called Durham report

Bill Barr. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump and his allies are piling extreme pressure on Attorney General Bill Barr to release a report that Trump believes could hurt perceived Obama-era enemies — and view Barr's designation of John Durham as special counsel as a stall tactic, sources familiar with the conversations tell Axios.

Why it matters: Speculation over Barr's fate grew on Tuesday, with just 49 days remaining in Trump's presidency, after Barr gave an interview to the Associated Press in which he said the Justice Department has not uncovered evidence of widespread fraud that could change the election's outcome.

CDC to cut guidance on quarantine period for coronavirus exposure

A health care worker oversees cars as people arrive to get tested for coronavirus at a testing site in Arlington, Virginia, on Tuesday. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The CDC will soon shorten its guidance for quarantine periods following exposure to COVID-19, AP reported Tuesday and Axios can confirm.

Why it matters: Quarantine helps prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which can occur before a person knows they're sick or if they're infected without feeling any symptoms. The current recommended period to stay home if exposed to the virus is 14 days. The CDC plans to amend this to 10 days or seven with a negative test, an official told Axios.

  • The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.