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Jacquelyn Martin / AP

A group of 22 heavyweight Republican senators, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, are sending a letter to President Trump today urging him to make a clean exit from the Paris Agreement to combat climate change. The letter applauds Trump for beginning the process of unwinding Obama's Clean Power Plan regulations, but says that goal is imperiled if he decides to remain in the Paris climate change deal.

Why this matters: Trump promised on the campaign trail to quit the Paris deal, but he's currently reconsidering the decision and his staff is divided.

Urging the president to remain: Ivanka Trump — to preserve a seat at the table for the U.S. — and Jared Kushner and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have been supportive of that approach.

Urging the president to leave: EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, chief strategist Steve Bannon and White House counsel Don McGahn.

Key section from the Senators' letter to Trump:

"Because of existing provisions within the Clean Air Act and others embedded in the Paris Agreement, remaining in it would subject the United States to significant litigation risk that could upend your Administration's ability to fulfill its goal of rescinding the Clean Power Plan. Accordingly, we strongly encourage you to make a clean break from the Paris Agreement."

Senators who signed the letter include:

  • John Barrasso, chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
  • Jim Inhofe, former chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
  • Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader
  • John Cornyn, Senate Majority Whip
  • Roy Blunt, Vice Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference
  • Orrin Hatch, Senate Finance chair
  • High-profile conservative senators: Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to actually deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.

Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

S&P 500 on track for worst-ever start to year

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Stocks suffered their steepest drop of the year early Monday, putting the S&P 500 on course for its worst-ever start to a year.

Driving the news: The benchmark S&P 500 dropped for its fifth straight day, with losses nearing 3% in early trading, momentarily putting it on track to fall into a "correction." Some of the steepest losses were recovered in early afternoon trading.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
3 hours ago - Health

Health care workers hit new breaking point

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The ranks of health care workers are dwindling and stretching what it means to be reaching their "breaking points," particularly at small nonprofit hospitals.

The big picture: Even as Omicron cases have begun to wane in some places, many hospitals are still fielding a crush of patients amid record employee callouts.