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Richard Drew / AP

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is considering cutting 2,300 jobs at the State Department, according to the AP — a three percent cut to the department's roughly 75,000 employees. This would also slash the number of new diplomats being hired and potentially include a State Department and USAID consolidation.

Why now: To adjust to Trump's proposed budget cuts to the State Department for the next fiscal year, which are more than a quarter of its current allowance.

Why it matters: Laying people off certainly doesn't fit into Trump's rhetoric about creating jobs, and just yesterday the WH blamed the State Department for not recommending people to fill nearly every undersecretary and assistant secretary position, as well as one-third of ambassadorships, at the department.

Senators are taking note: A group of 43 senators from both sides of the aisle sent a letter to appropriators on the Hill this week, warning cuts in this area would be "shortsighted, counterproductive and even dangerous."

What's next: Tillerson will outline the plan to staffers next week.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's carbon emissions-cutting pledge faces tough climb

Image from the Rhodium Group study "Pathways to Paris." Courtesy of the Rhodium Group.

The verdict is in: President Biden's U.S. emissions-cutting pledge isn't a fantasy, but the path to meeting it is very difficult and relies on forces outside of White House control.

Driving the news: The Rhodium Group just released an analysis of policy combinations that could close the gap between the current U.S. trajectory and Biden's vow under the Paris Agreement to cut emissions in half by 2030.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Updated 1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Johnson & Johnson pulls the trigger on Texas talc gambit

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It's official: Johnson & Johnson has invoked a Texas legal loophole in an attempt to protect the bulk of its corporate assets from claims that its baby powder caused ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.

Why it matters: It's the biggest and boldest invocation yet of the so-called Texas two-step defense. But it's still not clear whether it's going to work.

Poll: U.S. leadership approval rebounds from Trump low

A Gallup report published Tuesday found approval of United States leadership in 46 countries and territories hit 49% — up from 30% at the end of Donald Trump's presidency, and matching former President Obama's first year (2009).

Why it matters: Biden's efforts to reengage with the international community following the Trump administration appear to be improving the global approval ratings for U.S. leadership, though this poll does not take into account the withdrawal from Afghanistan in August.