Sep 16, 2017

Trump's position on the Paris accord hasn't changed

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

There's a lot of noise surrounding a WSJ story today saying the Trump administration has changed its mind on the Paris climate accord and isn't pulling out. The White House responded that there has been "no change" in the position on Paris and that the U.S. is "withdrawing unless we can re-enter on terms that are more favorable to our country."

Trump's position announced in June was the U.S. is bailing but willing to renegotiate. Remember it actually takes several years to formally withdraw.

Our thought bubble: Nobody has really taken this "renegotiation" idea especially seriously. Why people are surprised today is that it wasn't believed the administration was serious about really engaging on this at all. It is still a very big question how genuine their efforts are, but today's news represents the next stage regarding what Trump already said in June he was willing to do. He said the U.S. is going to withdraw unless it can get a better deal.

Bottom line: The basic question here is whether the U.S. might be cracking the door open slightly to a more serious willingness to stay in with a softened commitment.

Go deeper: What we've written before about the Trump administration's climate outreach.

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U.S. and Taliban announce first step in Afghanistan peace process

Photo: Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty Images

The State Department confirmed Friday morning the U.S. and Taliban have "reached an understanding" that starts a 7-day "reduction of violence" to be followed by a signed U.S.-Taliban agreement.

Why it matters: The Afghanistan war is the longest war in U.S. history. President Trump has previously pulled out of talks at the last minute, only to restart them.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 19 mins ago - World

Bloomberg's debate backfire could boost Bernie

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Mike Bloomberg got into the 2020 race to stop Bernie Sanders and socialism. If he doesn't bounce back from this week's debate, he may seal the deal for both.

Why it matters: Bloomberg’s own campaign has warned that Sanders could lock up the nomination in mere weeks, thanks to rivals spitting the opposition vote. But Bloomberg’s own spending makes it harder for other rivals to cut through — and virtually assures he sucks up significant delegates.

Surprise billing may be about to get worse

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The problem of surprise medical billing — which Congress failed to solve last year — is about to get worse, thanks to a feud between an insurance giant and a company that employs thousands of doctors.

The big picture Parents who have babies in intensive care, women with high-risk pregnancies and people who need anesthesia could receive unexpected bills in the mail as a result of the fight between Mednax, the physician-staffing firm, and UnitedHealth Group.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - Health