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The Trump administration wants to cut the Energy Department's renewable and energy efficiency program by nearly 70%, according to a draft agency budget document viewed by Axios.

Why it matters: Congress is probably not going to grant such deep cuts, but the numbers are nonetheless important for two reasons: 1) It shows how extreme the administration wants to go with its budget cuts in policy areas its rhetoric hasn't supported. 2) It puts a low marker down to negotiate with Congress. The lower the starting point, the lower the ultimate numbers could well end up.

Expand chart
Data: Draft of Energy Department budget; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

For the record: An Energy Department spokesperson didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

What we're hearing: Most environmental groups and other left-leaning advocacy groups have focused on the deep budget cuts Trump wants for the Environmental Protection Agency, but some organizations want to ensure the broader umbrella of Democratic and environmental interests also defends the clean-energy investments at the Energy Department.

"The clean energy and climate communities need to defend energy innovation with the same vigor they're defending environmental protections," said Josh Freed, vice president for clean energy at Third Way, a center-left think tank.

What's next: The Trump administration has said it will send its budget request for fiscal year 2018 to Congress next week. These proposed cuts are part of a broader effort across the administration to make deep spending reductions, including in the Energy Department's offices of nuclear and fossil-fuel energies.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Biden holds first phone call with Putin, raises Navalny arrest

Putin takes a call in 2017. Photo: Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty

President Biden on Tuesday held his first call since taking office with Vladimir Putin, pressing the Russian president on the arrest of opposition leader Alexey Navalny and the Russia-linked hack on U.S. government agencies.

The state of play: Biden also raised arms control, bounties allegedly placed on U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the war in Ukraine, according to a White House readout. The statement said Biden and Putin agreed maintain "consistent communication," and that Biden stressed the U.S. would "act firmly in defense of its national interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us or our allies."

Biden signs racial equity executive orders

Joe Biden prays at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on September 3, 2020, in the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. PHOTO: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed executive orders on housing and ending the Justice Department's use of private prisons as part of what the White House is calling his “racial equity agenda.”

The big picture: Biden needs the support of Congress to push through police reform or new voting rights legislation. The executive orders serve as his down payment to immediately address systemic racism while he focuses on the pandemic.

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