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.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 a.m. ET: 11,093,182 — Total deaths: 525,491 — Total recoveries — 5,890,052Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 a.m. ET: 2,795,163 — Total deaths: 129,437 — Total recoveries: 790,404 — Total tested: 34,213,497Map.
  3. States: ICU beds in Arizona's hot spot reach near capacity.
  4. Public health: The states where face coverings are mandatory Fauci says it has been a "very disturbing week" for the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S.
  5. Economy: The economy may recover just quickly enough to kill political interest in more stimulus.

Kimberly Guilfoyle tests positive for coronavirus

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Kimberly Guilfoyle, Donald Trump Jr.'s partner and a top fundraising official for the Trump campaign, tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday, The New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Guilfoyle is the third person in President Trump’s circle known to have contracted the coronavirus. Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary tested positive, as did a personal valet who served Trump food.

America's exceptionally uneventful Fourth of July

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Amateur fireworks and small backyard cookouts are winning the weekend as the coronavirus takes the flash out of the Fourth of July.

What's happening: Public parades and fireworks displays around much of the country are being cancelled to prevent mass gatherings where the virus could spread. Hot-dog contests and concerts will play to empty stands and virtual audiences — all while American pride treads an all-time low.