Will Republican House Upend Climate Action Bill?

November 25, 2022

Now that Republicans have retaken the House of Representatives by a narrow margin, fears have been raised that they will try to chip away at the Inflation Reduction Act, landmark legislation that includes massive funding for clean energy and climate action.
Bur the results of the election made clear that among the young, climate action and the energy transition are broadly popular. Moreover, renewable energy, battery production, and EV production are producing big job gains in solidly red areas – to the path for Republicans is not entirely clear.

Houston Chronicle:

Speaking at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt this week, Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Houston, argued the United States should pursue “rational environmentalism” when it comes to climate policy.

“Radical environmentalism is what we mostly see. And that perpetuates solutions that are downright scary and foolish,” he said. “Let’s not lie to our children and scare them to death and tell them they’re going to burn alive because of (climate change).”

What Crenshaw and other Republicans are looking for is a more measured climate policy that allows for the continued use of oil and natural gas, energy sources the United States has in abundance and are critical to economies of states like Texas. But with the White House and Senate still under Democratic control, Republicans’ opportunities to undo climate policies all together are limited.

The tax incentives and funding for clean energy that make up the Inflation Reduction Act have already been approved for many years to come, making the bill “very durable” against efforts to undermine it, said Matthew Davis, legislative director at the League of Conservation Voters, an environmental group.

“The chances the Congress will repeal or do serious damage to (the Inflation Reduction Act) seems to be diminished considering the outcome of the election,” said Scott Segal, a Washington energy attorney whose clients include oil and gas companies.

House Republicans, however, will have the opportunity to hold oversight hearings on Biden’s climate policies and bring more scrutiny on the federal agencies.The Interior Department’s handling of offshore drilling permits for oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska is likely to attract a lot of attention from the GOP after the Biden administration raised the possibility earlier this year of halting leasing in years to come.

The GOP’s most eloquent spokesperson on climate is, of course, Senate Candidate and former football player, Herschel Walker.

Utility Dive:

If it seems like we’ve seen this show before, it’s because we have. When the Affordable Care Act became law in early 2010, it, too, was quick to draw starkly partisan responses: praise from supporters who saw it ushering in a transformation of American health care and vows from detractors to bring a quick end to this latest affront to personal freedom. What followed was a years-long battle with about 8 million to 10 million Americans’ access to heath insurance hanging in the balance each election cycle.

The renewable energy industry is accustomed to this political roller coaster. For some who felt the IRA might be too good to be true, the potential for a drawn-out political battle seemed likely. Legal and political experts — including some whose experience includes the ACA itself — say a complete repeal of the IRA seems unlikely. But that won’t prevent it from remaining the subject of political rhetoric for years to come, they say, even as renewable energy advocates renew calls for policy stability.

The scale, significance and partisan nature of the Inflation Reduction Act closely mirror the Affordable Care Act, and the similarities mean that stakeholders — and politicians on Capitol Hill — can draw some lessons from the Republican Party’s unsuccessful attempt to overturn the health care reform law, according to Michael Strazzella, an attorney who has studied the Affordable Care Act case as the federal government relations practice leader at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney.

Strazzella believes Republicans will spend the next two years scrutinizing and attacking the IRA. However, he thinks it’s unlikely they’ll overturn the law entirely. Like the ACA, certain provisions of the IRA are popular with the Republican base, and they’re likely to become even more popular among residents of conservative communities where manufacturing expansions and job growth are set to take place. This will make eliminating the IRA politically tricky.

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One Response to “Will Republican House Upend Climate Action Bill?”

  1. mboli Says:

    The current favored Republican legislative response to climate change is the “Trillion Trees Initiative.”

    I didn’t make that up. It is a bill that has been floating around in Congress for several years. Republicans sign on as co-sponsors so they can point to a climate change bill they support.

    I guess Walker didn’t get the memo, if he is complaining about trees.


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