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Energy Secretary Rick Perry will testify before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee next Thursday. Photo: Susan Walsh / AP

Energy secretary Rick Perry will testify before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee next Thursday, lawmakers announced yesterday. The hearing's focus is supposed to be broad, but expect lots of questions about Perry's instantly controversial proposal to shake up power market rules by ensuring coal and nuclear plants are compensated for their "reliability and resilience" attributes.

Why the stakes are high: Perry is catching lots of flak from critics who call the plan a naked attempt to prop up power sources that are increasingly on the losing end of competition from natural gas and renewables.

If Perry isn't able to mount a convincing and detailed defense of why he asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to craft the rules, it will bolster opponents who say the move is more about rewarding favored power sources than ensuring grid reliability and resilience in the event of disasters.

What else to look for: Whether influential House GOP lawmakers who oversee energy policy — including Energy and Commerce chairman Greg Walden and energy subcommittee head Fred Upton — start tipping their hand about what they think of the underlying proposal.

Interest is running high: There's mounting concern about the fast pace of the rulemaking process, specifically FERC's request for initial comments from outside parties by Oct. 23. One new sign: yesterday a suite of groups representing independent oil-and-gas producers asked FERC for at least a 90 day initial comment period.

  • Their motion, which adds to requests from other gas and renewables trade groups, says FERC should quickly signal that it's slowing down the process in order to "reassure markets...that adequate time and resources" will be devoted to the topic.

Go deeper

Scoop: Lindsey Graham is talking to John Kerry about climate — again

"Axios on HBO"

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told "Axios on HBO" he intends to "lean into" climate change and that he has already discussed potential common ground with President Biden's special climate envoy John Kerry.

Behind the scenes: In a follow-up interview with Axios, Graham said Kerry called him in November, around the time Kerry's new position was announced, to see if there were openings to work together.

Graham deals with Trump "dark side" to "harness the magic"

Sen. Lindsey Graham told "Axios on HBO" that Donald Trump has a "dark side" but he tries to "harness the magic" because he succeeded where Republican candidates like John McCain and Mitt Romney failed.

Why it matters: The South Carolina Republican gyrates between support and criticism of the former president, even after Trump harshly criticized McCain — Graham's longtime friend — and helped spark the Capitol insurrection.

17 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Senate plots its own earmark return

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With the Senate done battling over President Biden's coronavirus rescue package, it's preparing to tackle another priority: earmarks.

Driving the news: Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the top members on the Senate Appropriations Committee, are expected to work out a deal restoring the congressional spending tool in the coming weeks, committee aides tell Axios.