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A Democratic Senate duo is introducing legislation today taxing carbon emissions, in the shadow of the largely symbolic but far higher profile debate about the Green New Deal.

The big picture: The bill, sponsored by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Brian Schatz of Hawaii, is the latest in a series of broad bills springing up in Congress after a near decade of mostly inaction on comprehensive climate policy.

Driving the news: At least three bills are forthcoming, with one already floated. Some of these were introduced for the first time last Congress.

  1. The Whitehouse and Schatz bill is similar to the one they introduced last Congress, which divided the money raised to the public and to other purposes. This bill would achieve more reductions in carbon emissions than the last version.
  2. Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania is going to re-introduce his own version of a carbon tax bill that he proposed last Congress alongside then-Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), who lost his reelection bid. This bill eliminates the federal gasoline tax and uses the money raised for various purposes.
  3. Democrat Sen. Tina Smith of Minnesota is crafting a clean energy standard bill, per her office.
  4. A bipartisan group of House members re-introduced another version of a carbon tax bill in January. This bill returns the money raised from the tax to the public.

But, but, but: None of these bills are likely to become law anytime soon given Republican political leaders, including President Trump, dismiss the issue, and they’re controlling much of Washington right now. Instead, these bills are a sign of a debate, long relegated to Washington’s back burner, re-emerging. Whether that translates into actual policy passing is a big open question.

What’s next: Expect more focus on the Green New Deal, which, despite its lack of detail compared to the aforementioned bills, is grabbing all the attention.

Go deeper: Democrats left turn on climate change

Go deeper

9 hours ago - Health

Food banks feel the strain without holiday volunteers

People wait in line at Food Bank Community Kitchen on Nov. 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

America's food banks are sounding the alarm during this unprecedented holiday season.

The big picture: Soup kitchens and charities, usually brimming with holiday volunteers, are getting far less help.

11 hours ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.