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Tuesday brought both a new EPA science policy that conservatives cheered and more ominous headlines for the embattled agency boss Scott Pruitt, who faces a suite of ethics controversies.

Between the lines: The combination highlights why Pruitt's fate is hard to predict. He's forging ahead with policies that conservatives and some business interests have long sought, yet there are fresh signs of eroding GOP support.

What's happening: Pruitt proposed rules that limit the types of scientific studies used to inform regulations by requiring that the data is publicly available for "validation and analysis."

  • EPA called it a pro-transparency move that would bolster the integrity of the rulemakings. It drew cheers from key Republicans and allied interests, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
  • But environmentalists and health advocates attacked the plan, noting that robust studies of links between pollution and health often rely on confidential personal health information.

Yes, but: Tuesday also brought fresh signs of political peril for Pruitt thanks to the scandals around spending, his living arrangement last year and more.

  • The Washington Post reports that several Senate Republicans said Pruitt's actions deserve more Capitol Hill scrutiny.
  • Per Bloomberg, Sen. John Thune — the Senate's third-ranking Republican — said Pruitt has "serious questions to answer."
  • E&E News ($) reported Tuesday afternoon that some top White House aides predict Pruitt isn't long for the job.

Publicly the White House has been more circumspect, praising Pruitt's policy moves while noting that they're investigating the questions around him.

What's next: Pruitt testifies tomorrow before two House committees.

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Joe Biden picks Kamala Harris as running mate

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Joe Biden announced Tuesday that he has chosen Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as his running mate — the first Black woman to be named to a major-party U.S. presidential ticket, and potentially the first woman vice president if Biden defeats President Trump.

The big picture: Harris was probably the safest choice Biden could have made among his running mate finalists. She has a national profile and experience with elected office, was vetted and tested in the Democratic presidential primaries and can boost Biden's fundraising.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 20,158,258 — Total deaths: 738,063 — Total recoveries: 12,388,686Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 5,116,791 — Total deaths: 164,137 — Total recoveries: 1,670,755 — Total tests: 62,513,174Map.
  3. States: Florida reports another daily record for deaths State testing plans fall short of demand.
  4. Axios-Ipsos poll: 1 in 2 has a personal connection to COVID-19.
  5. Business: Moderna reveals it may not hold patent rights for vaccine.
  6. 🏈 Sports: Big Ten scraps fall football season due to coronavirus.

Big Ten postpones fall sports due to coronavirus

Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Big Ten announced Tuesday that it has voted to postpone its 2020 fall sports season, including football, due to risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic, hoping instead to play in the spring.

Why it matters: The move from one of the most prominent conferences in college sports will almost certainly prompt other Power Five leagues to follow suit.