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Interior nominee Deb Haaland looks to thread the needle on oil

President Biden's pick for Interior secretary faces a balancing act as she defends limits on oil-and-gas development while responding to concerns that the initiatives — and her own policy views — threaten producing states.

Driving the news: Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) appears this morning before the Senate energy committee vetting her nomination and faces critical questioning from GOP members.


  • "There’s no question that fossil energy does and will continue to play a major role in America for years to come," she states in her prepared remarks.
  • "I know how important oil and gas revenues are to fund critical services," she intends to tell the panel.

But, but, but: "We must also recognize that the energy industry is innovating, and our climate challenge must be addressed," her remarks note.

Haaland has called for much more aggressive steps on climate change and previously expressed opposition to fracking on public lands.

Why it matters: The careful framing of her statement to senators reflects the delicate politics of Biden's oil-and-gas and climate policies — and the key role Interior plays in some of them.

  • Biden has frozen new leasing on federal lands and waters — including Haaland's home state, which has lots of production from federal areas.

What they're saying: Administration officials have pointed to companies' stockpiles of current leases.

  • But the industry has bashed the policy on new leases and fears Interior is also making it harder to develop existing acreage, even as the agency has been emphasizing that permitting is proceeding.
  • "We...urge members of the Committee to seek assurances that Ms. Haaland will protect America’s ability to access our oil and natural gas resources," the American Exploration and Production Council, said in a statement.

What we’re watching: Haaland could play a role in determining whether a contentious copper-nickel mine moves forward in northeastern Minnesota.

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Report: "Clear evidence" China is committing genocide against Uyghurs

Chinese authorities have breached "each and every act prohibited" under the UN Genocide Convention over the treatment Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China's Xinjiang province, an independent report published Tuesday states.

Why it matters: D.C. think-tank the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy, which released the report, said in a statement the conclusions by dozens of experts in war crimes, human rights and international law are "clear and convincing": The ruling Chinese Communist Party bears responsibility.

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Twitter sues Texas AG Ken Paxton, alleging he launched probe in retaliation for Trump ban

Twitter on Monday filed a lawsuit against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), saying that his office launched an investigation into the social media giant because it banned former President Trump from its platform.

Driving the news: Twitter is seeking to halt an investigation launched by Paxton into moderation practices by Big Tech firms including Twitter for what he called "the seemingly coordinated de-platforming of the President" days after they banned him following the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

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Twitter sues Texas AG Ken Paxton, alleging he launched probe in retaliation for Trump ban

Twitter on Monday filed a lawsuit against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R), saying that his office launched an investigation into the social media giant because it banned former President Trump from its platform.

Driving the news: Twitter is seeking to halt an investigation launched by Paxton into moderation practices by Big Tech firms including Twitter for what he called "the seemingly coordinated de-platforming of the President" days after they banned him following the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

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Retiring Republicans could clear the path for GOP troublemakers to join the Senate ranks

Sen. Roy Blunt's retirement highlights the twin challenge facing Senate Republicans: finding good replacement candidates and avoiding a pathway for potential troublemakers to join their ranks.

Why it matters: While the midterm elections are supposed to be a boon to the party out of power, the recent run of retirements — which may not be over — is upending that assumption for the GOP in 2022.

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Diversity in Congress is growing steadily, but lags behind the U.S. population

Data: Brookings Institution and Pew Research Center; Note: No data on Native Americans in Congress before the 107th Congress; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The number of non-white senators and House members in the 535-seat Congress has been growing steadily in the past several decades — but representation largely lags behind the overall U.S. population.

Why it matters: Non-whites find it harder to break into the power system because of structural barriers such as the need to quit a job to campaign full time for office, as Axios reported in its latest Hard Truths Deep Dive.

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As Senate Republicans retire, lobbyists eye staff as top-notch talent

The retirements of high-profile Senate Republicans mean a lot of experienced staffers will soon be seeking new jobs, and Washington lobbying and public affairs firms are eyeing a potential glut of top-notch talent.

Why it matters: Roy Blunt is the fifth Republican dealmaker in the Senate to announce his retirement next year. Staffers left behind who can navigate the upper chamber of Congress will be gold for the city’s influence industry.

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U.S. grants temporary protected status to thousands of Venezuelans

Venezuelans living in the United States will be eligible to receive temporary protected status for 18 months, the Department of Homeland Security announced Monday.

Why it matters: Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have fled to the U.S. amid economic, political and social turmoil back home. Former President Trump, on his last full day in office, granted some protections to Venezuelans through the U.S. Deferred Enforced Departure program, but advocates and lawmakers said the move didn't go far enough.

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Zuckerberg floated possibility of remote work in January 2020. Sandberg thought he was "nuts"

Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg thought Mark Zuckerberg was "nuts" when he raised the possibility in January 2020 that 50,000 Facebook employees might have to work from home. By March 6, they were.

Why it matters: In an interview Monday with Axios Re:Cap, Sandberg explained how Facebook moved quickly to respond to the pandemic with grants for small businesses and work-from-home stipends for its employees, and how the company has been watching the unfolding crisis for women in the workforce.

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