House to vote today on climate and infrastructure bills

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Democratic House leaders are hoping to secure support for a $ 1.7 trillion climate and social services package today, amid lingering concerns over a proposed methane regulatory regime and moderate concerns about its cost.

President Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Spent much of the day yesterday trying to get the votes for the passage. The measure went to the rules committee last night, and Democrats put the bill for a vote today.

Lawmakers are eager to act ahead of a congressional delegation heading to the United Nations climate change summit in Scotland this weekend.

“Our members are engaged in very thoughtful deliberations with each other. And as I told you before, 90% of this bill has been approved: House, Senate, White House. And wrote, we’ve made some changes since last week. People need to be familiar with it, ”Pelosi told reporters yesterday.

She admitted that she was “really upset” that the bill did not pass last week, even after President Biden came to Capitol Hill to defend the case. But it is clear from her limbs buttonhole on the floor yesterday in a long string of votes that she hopes to move the bill forward quickly.

While most Democrats support budget reconciliation legislation and a $ 1.9 trillion infrastructure bill, Pelosi is operating with a slim majority and cannot afford to lose more than three votes. It does not allow a bill to be voted on without knowing in advance that it has the votes to pass it.

The House’s narrow margin has allowed state fossil fuel lawmakers to raise concerns about methane. Meanwhile, moderates have demanded a detailed cost estimate, and Hispanic members are making a late push to include immigration provisions.

“Different people have different issues,” said Representative Henry Cueller (D-Texas), a Blue Dog from a border district filled with small independent power producers. “I want to move the ball forward, but I’m still having trouble with the energy part.”

Cuellar is concerned about how a proposal in the bill would affect small independent businesses. The provision would provide $ 775 million in loans, grants and other subsidies to help energy producers reduce methane emissions and impose hefty fines for excess emissions – reaching $ 1,500 per tonne as of 2025.

“We believe the new EPA rules can solve the climate and methane issues,” Cuellar said, referring to the agency’s new rule this week to reduce methane emissions (Energy wire, November 3). He suggested that the provisions of the bill be completely dropped. Previously, he had suggested that he would seek an exemption for small producers.

Cuellar and Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-Texas), who also expressed some opposition to the methane royalty proposals, were seen huddling on the ground yesterday with Pelosi, but changes were not expected to be brought.

Representative Paul Tonko (DN.Y.), chair of the Energy and Trade Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change, said he did not expect major changes in the proposal on methane.

“There may be adjustments, but for the most part it will stay,” Tonko said, noting that methane is 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas and that its reduction is vital. to make progress in the fight against climate change.

Representative Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Who sharply criticized the $ 775 million in methane support in the package, said he expected “no more concessions” for gas-linked energy producers .

Cuellar noted, however, that he may not need to resolve the issue in the House, as the Senate is evenly divided, having yet to act. Energy and Natural Resources Senate Speaker Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) has already repeatedly used his influence in the 50-50 House to derail several climate proposals in the bill and could do so again on methane.

Machin refused to speak to reporters yesterday.

Cost issues

While the Congressional Budget Office has yet to release a score of the measure’s impact on the deficit, the White House and Pelosi said yesterday that the revised bill would increase more than enough revenue to prevent the bill from falling. law to increase the deficit – a concern that Manchin and the moderates continue to talk about in the reconciliation campaign.

In a “Dear Colleague” letter – one of several this week – Pelosi noted that the Joint Committee on Taxation’s latest estimate that the bill would raise more than $ 1.5 trillion through a combination of tax increases. taxes on large multinational corporations and wealthy Americans.

That analysis did not include other payments to the measure totaling an additional $ 650 million, which Pelosi said would also reduce the deficit.

“It is essential that the legislation is fully paid and reduces the debt,” she wrote.

The bill’s clean energy tax title – which includes provisions from the House Ways and Means Committees and Senate Finance Committees – stands at just over $ 300 billion.

Some of the tax changes incorporated in the latest version include a reduction in the extension of the nuclear generation tax credit from eight to six years, as well as incentives for energy efficiency and electric bicycles. These provisions have been reduced to make room for new tax credits to encourage domestic production of semiconductors favored by leading Democratic senators (Daily E&E, November 4).

Absent from the revised bill, there is a 30 percent investment tax credit for dam improvement sought by the hydropower sector (Daily E&E, October 26).

Northeastern members of the National Hydropower Association yesterday lobbied Ways and Means President Richard Neal (D-Mass.) To add credit to the reconciliation case.

Reporters Geof Koss and Jeremy Dillon contributed.


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