Washington Energy and Sustainability Update — August 2022 | Mintz – Viewpoints on Energy and Sustainability
Building Back Better, No More – Welcome to the Cut Inflation Act
Beginning as a $3.5 trillion legislative proposal to address climate change and strengthen the social safety net, the Build Back Better Act was eventually scaled down to $2.2 trillion before it passed the House of Representatives. in November 2021. This still ambitious plan hit a wall in the Senate when the senses. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) declined to support it, denying Democrats the 50 votes they needed to push the bill forward under budget reconciliation rules without Republican support.
After much back and forth and intense negotiations, Sen. Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) surprised most of Washington on July 27 when they announced agreement on a measure of compromise – Inflation Reduction Act – which will represent $369 billion in investments in energy security and the fight against climate change, as well as $64 billion for an extension of subsidies to low- and middle-income households under the Affordable Care Act, which are due to expire at the end of the year. The bill would generate $739 billion in revenue from a new 15% corporate minimum tax, prescription drug pricing reform, IRS tax enforcement and narrowing the loophole on interest paid. Together, these new investments and increased revenues would reduce the deficit by more than $300 billion.
Although significantly less in scope than what President Biden had called for and House Democrats had passed, the Cut Inflation Act remains a hugely important piece of legislation and, if signed into law, will be the legislation ambitious climate change enacted in the United States.
The complete legislative text is available by clicking HERE.
Click HERE for a summary of the energy security and climate change provisions, which:
- reduce consumer energy costs and make homes more energy efficient,
- support clean energy production and domestic manufacturing,
- decarbonize the economy by reducing emissions from various sectors,
- investing in environmental justice and disadvantaged communities, and
- support farmers, forest owners and rural communities.
The legislative schedule is getting tighter as the midterm elections approach in November, leaving Congressional Democrats with limited time to push through the Inflation Reduction Act. The Senate is due to leave Washington for the annual August recess on Aug. 5, but Majority Leader Schumer has told the Democratic caucus to plan for an intense week of late hours as it seeks to pass the bill before d ‘adjourn. The draft legislative text has been transmitted to the parliamentarian of the Senate, who will determine whether the various provisions meet the requirements of the budget reconciliation. Once approved by the Senate, the bill will be submitted for consideration by the House. Many in the House will be disappointed with the smaller scale of the legislation, but most should recognize it as the best option available and support the bill. The House is not officially expected to return until after Labor Day, but if the bill is approved by the Senate, the House is said to cut short August recess to return to Washington for votes.
President Biden has signaled his full support for the Cut Inflation Act, saying, “This is the strongest bill you can pass to cut inflation, cut the deficit, cut costs health care, fight the climate crisis and promote energy security, all the while reducing the burdens faced by working and middle class families.
Click HERE to read the White House statement on the Inflation Reduction Act.
Bipartisan Opportunities in Infrastructure Law
The Department of Energy continues to roll out the opportunities of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) and in July announced the following:
- Advanced Equity Through Workforce Partnerships (funding opportunity announcement) supporting the development of workforce programs and partnerships that will facilitate the continued deployment of solar energy technologies while supporting an inclusive workforce with opportunities for career advancement, including union membership. The deadline for a letter of intent is August 13, concept papers due August 20, and full applications due by December 6.
- Implementing Building Codes for Efficiency and Resilience (Notice of Intent) announcing a future funding opportunity focused on efforts related to implementing more efficient building codes, as well as encouraging more resilient buildings, including grid flexibility and stability, storage, durability and better protection against extreme weather events.
- FY22 Photovoltaics Research and Development (Funding Opportunity Announcement) to fund projects aimed at reducing photovoltaic material costs and environmental impacts and increasing perovskite module performance. These areas of research will support the increased deployment of photovoltaics needed to achieve the Biden administration’s goal of a carbon-free electricity sector by 2035. The deadline for a letter of intent is 3 August, with concept papers due by August 12 and full applications by October. 17.
- Carbon Capture Demonstration Program (Notice of Intent) announcing a future funding opportunity focused on carbon capture and storage demonstration projects.
- Vehicle Technologies Office Program (Funding Opportunity Announcement) supporting research projects aimed at addressing priorities in the following areas: the cost-effective deployment of electric vehicle charging for those who do not have easy home charging, innovative solutions for improving mobility options for underserved communities, community engagement to accelerate clean transportation options in underserved communities, batteries and electrification, materials technologies, fuel-efficient commercial off-road vehicle technologies , medium and heavy-duty vehicle charging in corridors, and advanced engine and fuel technologies to improve fuel economy and reduce GHG emissions. The deadline for submitting concept papers is August 25, with full applications due November 10.