Movement on US House and Senate Energy Packages
On Monday, the White House released its statement of administration policy (SAP) threatening to veto the proposed clean energy package from the House of Representatives (H.R. 4447). Trump Administration policy advisors argued that the legislation would reinstate “big government policies and programs” and “undermine the Administration’s regulatory agenda.” Specifically, the SAP criticizes workforce development provisions in the bill, highlighting that these may override and duplicate efforts at the federal agency level, as well as comments on the overall cost of the legislation.
After yesterday‘s meeting, the House Rules Committee decided to let floor debate proceed on 98 of the 147 amendments offered for the legislation and floor action will commence Thursday. Amendments that will be considered for adoption include several that address environmental justice and programs for low-income communities. For example:
- Amendment #59 by Rep. Barragan (D-CA) to increase funding for environmental justice grant programs at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by $40 million;
- Amendments #61 and #142 also by Rep. Barragan (D-CA) to appropriate an additional $100 million for the Weatherization Assistance Program and $50 million for the low-income solar grant program, respectively;
- Amendment #130 by Rep. Barragan (D-CA) to provide $1 billion each year to establish a climate justice grants program to be administered by the EPA; and
- Amendment #110 by Rep. Lujan (D-NM) requiring states to consider implementing policies to promote community solar projects.
Republican-sponsored amendments by Rep. Burgess (R-TX), would require the Secretary of Energy to certify the legislation will not increase electric rates and gas prices or threaten the country’s energy security. Amendments from Rep. Graves (R-LA) addressing critical mineral imports, will also be considered.
Other amendments slated for consideration seek to lessen fossil fuel dependence, support changes to make buildings more energy efficient and harden them against wildfires, fund research and development for wind and nuclear energy, promote diversity in energy jobs, as well as drive research on the efficacy of carbon capture storage.
A list of all amendments can be found in the House Rules Committee Report, here.
With regard to Senate, Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Murkowski’s (R-AK) bill, the American Energy Innovation Act (S.2657) has recently cleared a hurdle that had stalled the legislation in March. Lawmakers have reached an agreement on provisions relating to hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) phase-down, readying the package for floor consideration. However, with the Supreme Court justice nomination anticipated to take up the available time on the Senate floor, movement on that bill is now expected for after the elections, during a potential Lame Duck session of congress.