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Andrew Harnik / AP

That was fast. A few hours after White House press secretary Sean Spicer gave an ambiguous answer about whether the administration is considering a carbon tax, the White House took it off the table.

"The Trump Administration is not considering a carbon tax," an official said.

Why it matters: The statement puts a cork in the longshot idea that the White House would throw its weight behind a carbon tax plan.

Former Secretary of State and the Treasury James Baker and other backers had pushed the idea in a meeting with senior White House officials early last month.

  • "Part of the [National Economic Council's] responsibility in coordinating economic policy for the President is to listen to a range of viewpoints on various issues," the White House official said in the statement ruling out a carbon tax.

Go deeper

Updated 4 mins ago - World

Putin calls Biden summit "constructive," says ambassadors will return to posts

Putin at the summit with Biden. Photo: Mikhail Metzel\TASS via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that his summit with President Biden was "constructive," and that the countries had agreed their ambassadors would imminently return to their posts in Moscow and Washington.

What he's saying: "Many of our joint positions are divergent but nevertheless I think both sides manifested a determination to try and understand each other and try and converge our positions," Putin told reporters at a press conference immediately following the meetings, according to a translator.

Updated 33 mins ago - World

Live updates: Putin holds press conference after Biden summit concludes

President Biden met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva for less than four hours of talks on Wednesday, a highly anticipated summit that comes as both sides say U.S.-Russia relations have sunk to a new post-Cold War low.

The latest: The summit concluded at about 11:15 a.m. ET, according to the White House. At a press conference, Putin called the talks "very constructive' and announced that the U.S. and Russia's respective ambassadors would return to their posts. Biden is expected to deliver his own press conference at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Southwest heat wave intensifies, breaks records and worsens drought

A temperature "misery index" shows peak levels across the Southwest (orange and yellow), and the upper air flow shows how the jet stream is being pushed north, away from the heat dome parked over the Four Corners region. (Earth.nullschool.net)

A punishing and long-enduring heat wave is intensifying in parts of the West and Southwest, with heat warnings and advisories in effect across seven states Wednesday. The heat will not relent until late in the weekend.

Threat level: In the coming days, 40 million are likely to see temperatures reach or exceed 100 degrees.