House GOP: Biden’s ‘Green Budget’ Is DOA

President Joe Biden’s $6.9 trillion Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) budget request sustains the green energy emphases established with the adoptions of the Infrastructure Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and increases spending to combat the “climate crisis” by 26 percent.

Biden’s FY24 budget request, released March 9—more than a month late in the annual budget cycle—invests $52.2 billion “to tackle the climate crisis,” nearly $11 billion more than what Congress granted him in his FY23 budget.

The spring and summer will be spent combing through the budget requests in committee hearings before FY24 begins on Oct. 1, 2023.

With Republicans now ruling the House, one chamber panel certain to give a heave-ho to the president’s sustained emphasis on renewable energies is the House Energy & Commerce, which has its own 20-bill ‘unleash America’s energy’ slate calling for expanding domestic oil and gas production.

“President Biden’s energy crisis means higher costs for farmers … and higher costs at the grocery store for everyone,” House Energy & Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers said in a tweet after Biden’s budget reveal during a Philadelphia press conference.

The House Energy & Commerce Committee “is leading on solutions today to reverse the damage of [Biden’s] war on American energy,” she added.

Green Energy Emphasis

Among other proposed appropriations, Biden’s budget request includes $16.5 billion for climate science and clean energy research; $23 billion for community climate resilience against floods, wildfires, and storms; and $4.5 billion for clean energy workforce and infrastructure projects, such as weatherizing and retrofitting low-income homes, improving local electric grids, and expanding permitting for offshore wind projects.

A wind farm, used to generate wind power, stands along the roadside in Sanborn, Iowa, on Jan. 16, 2020. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

According to a White House Fact Sheet accompanying the FY23 budget request, since taking office, the administration claims its emphasis on the “climate crisis” has “boosted U.S. manufacturing” and the “deployment of cost-cutting clean energy technologies” that has the nation “on a durable path” in sustaining domestic energy independence while also meeting the Paris Climate Accords’ goal of reducing greenhouse gas pollution by 50-to-52 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

The White House maintains after the November 2021 adoption of the Inflation Reduction Act secured “the largest investment to advance energy security and combat climate change in American history,” the administration will continue to implement its initiatives in “clean energy transition and making clean and energy efficient technologies more affordable for American families,” it said.

The administration said the proposed budget continues to allocate federal funding for “jumpstarting an electric transportation future that is ‘Made in America,’ new climate-smart agriculture and forestry initiatives, to ensuring 40 percent of the federal investments in climate and clean energy are delivered to disadvantaged communities.”

Of the $4.5 billion committed to “building clean energy infrastructure,” nearly $50 million is tabbed for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Solar Energy Technology Office “to assist communities and low-income households in continuing to decrease the cost of installing rooftop solar and solar plus storage on homes across the country.”

Luminalt solar installers Pam Quan (R) and Walter Morales install solar panels on the roof of a home in San Francisco on May 9, 2018. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

‘Clean Energy Workforce’

According to the administration, the proposed budget “would cut energy bills for American families so that they pay less each month” by investing in a “clean energy workforce” to do:

— $1.8 billion in work on low-income Americans’ homes, including $375 million for weatherization assistance grants;

— nearly $750 million in work to support energy efficiency and resilience in federal-assisted and financed developments;

— $800 million in work for the U.S. Health & Human Services Department’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program;

— $50 million to launch a new Energy Burden Reduction Pilot by DOE “to lower energy costs while also reducing emissions through efficiency, electrification, and distributed energy resource installation retrofits in at least 3,000 low-income households.”

The proposed budget provides $30 million for grants and $1 billion for loan guarantees for clean energy systems and energy efficiency improvements for farmers and rural small businesses.

Biden’s budget request calls for $6.5 billion in rural electric loans “to support additional clean energy, energy storage, and transmission projects that would create good-paying jobs,” $15 million in funding to support the creation of a ‘Rural Clean Energy Initiative,’ and $75 million to accelerate “American manufacturing and deployment of clean energy technologies.”

“To build on the resurgence of American manufacturing, the budget complements funding provided in the Inflation Reduction Act by providing robust support” for loan programs for “projects supporting the repurposing of legacy energy infrastructure, and advanced technology vehicle manufacturing projects.”

The proposed budget sets aside $1.2 billion for the DOE to address “hard to decarbonize industrial processes … through innovation, targeted investment, and technical assistance.

There is $64.4 million for the Environmental protection Agency (EPA) to implement the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act and “to continue phasing out potent greenhouse gases known as hydrofluorocarbons” and “invests in the restoration of some of the nation’s most unique aquatic ecosystems, such as the Chesapeake Bay, the Upper Mississippi River, the Great Lakes, and the Louisiana Coast.”

The sun behind a crude oil pump jack in the Permian Basin in Loving County, Texas on Nov. 22, 2019. (Angus Mordant/Reuters)

House GOP: No Dice

As far as House Republicans are concerned, Biden’s budget was dead before arrival. The chamber’s Energy & Commerce Committee, shortly before the president revealed his spending plan adopted the proposed ‘Protecting American Energy Act’ sponsored by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C) in a 29-19 vote.

Duncan’s measure is the first of a raft of bills that address securing “critical minerals,” advancing development of nuclear energy—both with bipartisan support—and expanding refinery and pipeline capacities for greater production and export of oil and natural gas, which is where committee members diverge by party affiliation.

Among bills that the committee expects to advance in March is HR 647, the proposed “Unlocking our Domestic LNG Potential Act of 2023,” sponsored by Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), the proposed “Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act,” sponsored by Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), the “Promoting Cross-Border Energy Infrastructure Act,” and a resolution “Expressing the sense of Congress that the Federal Government should not impose any restrictions on the export of crude oil or other petroleum products.”

“Biden’s “proposed budget would INCREASE the national debt and result in record-breaking deficit spending while putting even more financial pressure on Americans,” Burgess said via Twitter. “House Republicans are counteracting the Biden Admin’s efforts to stifle energy production with pro-energy legislation–like my Refiner Act–to unleash domestic energy production, lower costs, & secure our energy independence.”

Committee member Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) was particularly critical of Biden’s budget proposal in a series of tweets,

“If it weren’t for the Biden Administration’s backwards energy policies, the U.S. would be producing 2-3 million more barrels of oil per day – an added total of $100 billion in our GDP per year,” he said. “What’s the cause? The extreme measures this admin has implemented–canceled pipelines, reduced drilling on public lands, new taxes on the oil & gas industry, and ridiculous environmental standards that raise the cost of operating.”

Before Biden took office, Crenshaw said, U.S. producers were producing 13 million barrels of oil a day.

“Now? Roughly 11.6 million. That’s a significant decrease. And we’re feeling the pain at the pump,” he said. “This administration’s attacks on oil and gas have led us to prioritizing unreliable energy sources (like solar & wind), supplemented by dirty foreign oil & groveling to foreign leaders with worse environmental standards & labor records than our own. Let America prosper, @POTUS.”


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