Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Federal fuel efficiency standards issued under President Obama are frozen under a proposal the Transportation Department and Environmental Protection Agency issued today.

Why it matters: These rules, which under Obama would have reached an average of 50 miles per gallon by 2025, were a big part of the former president's climate legacy, cutting carbon emissions and fuel use. The Trump administration is now asserting that the scaled back proposal will save both lives and money.

The details: The proposal includes a range of options, but the administration’s preferred one is the most aggressive: Freezing the standards at 35 miles per gallon in 2020 for six years, instead of rising to 50 mpg. It would also revoke a federal waiver California has to issue tougher standards, which a dozen states also follow. The rollback goes further than what most automakers have said they want.

"More realistic standards can save lives while continuing to improve the environment. We value the public’s input as we engage in this process in an open, transparent manner."
— Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler

The big picture: Early in Trump’s administration, business urged him to slow down on deregulating, stressing that narrow regulation is better than none in a changing political climate. Today’s announcement is one of the starkest signs that Trump is throwing that advice out the window — and inviting lawsuits and regulatory uncertainty.

What's next: The proposal goes through a public notice-and-comment period. The final version could be more moderate than the proposal.

Go deeper: Trump's stealth attack on Obama's legacy.

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DOJ whistleblower to allege political interference in antitrust probes

Photo: Doug MIlls-Pool/Getty Images

A career Justice Department lawyer will testify to the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that political leaders in the agency's antitrust division initiated a probe of four automakers' carbon emissions agreement with California a day after President Trump tweeted criticisms of the preliminary deal.

Driving the news: John Elias, one of two whistleblowers testifying in Wednesday's hearing about political interference at the Justice Department, says in prepared testimony that the since-abandoned probe into Ford, BMW, Honda and VW initiated on Aug. 22, 2019, did not follow the typical procedures.

Biden commits to 3 debates with Trump

Photos: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

In a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates Monday, Joe Biden's campaign manager said that Biden will agree to the commission's proposal of three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate with independent moderators, adding, "Donald Trump and Mike Pence should do the same."

The big picture: Trump's campaign has been calling for four debates and for them to be held sooner because of early voting. Trump has also accused the bipartisan nonprofit organization of being "very biased."

Focus group: Pennsylvania swing voters look to shake-up for stability

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Some swing voters in Erie, Pa., tell us they're gravitating to Joe Biden — less as a change agent than as a path back to stability, and to restoring the national respect they feel has been lost under President Trump.

The big picture: This was the first time in 16 of our monthly Engagious/Schlesinger swing-voter focus groups that more participants opposed Trump than supported him.