Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Several of the most politically vulnerable Senate Republicans are urging Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to include clean energy provisions in the next coronavirus economic recovery package.

Why it matters: The list of signatures is certainly a sign that vulnerable Republicans see a political upside in calling for clean energy policies. It also shows, once again, that energy politics can be quite regional, even in the era of hyper-partisanship.

Driving the news: Seven members signed a letter calling for "policies that will bolster jobs and innovation" around renewables, nuclear, carbon capture, efficiency, advanced transportation and storage.

  • Of the five facing re-election this year, three are in races listed as a "toss-up" by the respected Cook Political Report: Colorado's Cory Gardner, Maine's Susan Collins, and North Carolina's Thom Tillis. Cook lists the contest of another signer, Arizona's Martha McSally, as "lean Democratic."

What we don't know: Whether this might lead to the inclusion of energy-related provisions in the next economic aid package, which GOP leaders have opposed in prior pandemic response bills. There are also pressures in the other direction. Earlier this week, nine GOP senators signaled opposition to extending the availability of tax credits for building new wind projects.

The big picture: For months the renewables sector has been pushing for changes to existing policies, including the ability to quickly monetize tax incentives, but have not succeeded in the Senate.

  • The clean energy sector, broadly defined, has shed several hundred thousand jobs during the crisis, according to the BW Research Partnership.

What they're saying: "We can’t presume to know what Leader McConnell will decide to do, but it’s certainly meaningful that seven Republican senators wrote to him and urged him to include clean energy policies," said Solar Energy Industries Association president Abigail Ross Hopper.

  • She notes that polling shows that backing renewables is "clearly a winning election issue."

Go deeper: The GOP faces a generational gap on climate change

Go deeper

Column / Harder Line

In pandemic’s wake, global support builds for hydrogen

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As the world seeks to rebuild from the coronavirus pandemic, support is pouring in for hydrogen energy to cut carbon emissions and create jobs.

Why it matters: The obscure energy source could help tackle climate change in the thorniest parts of the global energy system, like shipping and power storage. But it’s prohibitively expensive and would need lots of government support to get off the ground.

Cook Political Report says Democrats are favored to reclaim Senate

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on July 21. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Cook Political Report on Thursday moved its outlook to a net gain of five to seven Senate seats for Democrats, and now says Democrats are slightly favored to win the Senate majority. 

Why it matters: Cook currently forecasts that President Trump's troubles could affect Republicans down the ballot, calling the incumbent president the "decided underdog against former Vice President Joe Biden."

White House, Senate Republicans far apart on stimulus talks

McConnell and Mnuchin. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin were deployed to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to brief the Senate Republican conference, alongside Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, on the details of the GOP coronavirus stimulus bill.

Driving the news: The Senate Republican lunch descended into chaos, several GOP lawmakers said, revealing that the White House and Republican senators remain far apart on key priorities in the next economic package.