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AP

White House press secretary Sean Spicer refused to rule out consideration of a carbon tax when asked about the idea at Tuesday's White House briefing:

There's a robust debate going on with respect to comprehensive tax reform … I'm not going to comment on specific prongs of that.

Why it matters: It's a bit puzzling that the White House is not flatly slamming the door, because a carbon tax has almost no buy in or political traction among influential Republicans. It's at least the second time Spicer has declined to rule it out.

  • A spokesman for Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell reaffirmed Tuesday that he has "long been an opponent of an energy tax." Groups such as Heritage Action and the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity are strongly opposed.

Flashback: In early February Republican elders from the Bush presidencies and the Reagan era—including James Baker, Hank Paulson and George Shultz—pitched a plan to tax emissions, return the money to the public, and scuttle climate regulations.

  • In February Baker and some other backers met with senior White House officials including top economic adviser Gary Cohn and chief of staff Reince Priebus. Spicer batted aside questions about it at the time without ruling it out then either.

Go deeper

Trump to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations before leaving office

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump plans to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: This is a continuation of the president's controversial December spree that saw full pardons granted to more than two dozen people — including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

  • The pardons set to be issued before Trump exits the White House will be a mix of criminal justice ones and pardons for people connected to the president, the sources said.
  • CNN first reported this news.

Go deeper: Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.