GOP House members are ready to approve a sprawling energy package that aims to under almost all of President Joe Biden’s climate change agenda.
The massive Republican bill would dramatically increase domestic coal, natural gas, and oil production and ease the permitting restrictions that delay refineries, pipelines, and other projects. It would also boost the output of crucial minerals, including cobalt, lithium, and nickel, used to make products, including computers, cell phones, and electric vehicles.
Republicans refer to the bill as the “Lower Energy Costs Act” and have given it the symbolic label H.R. 1 — the GOP majority’s top legislative priority. The Republicans took over the majority in the House in January.
The measure will combine dozens of separate proposals and represents over two years of work by Republicans who have opposed the president’s climate agenda. They maintain that Biden’s efforts have increased costs at the grocery store and gas pump and hampered U.S. energy production.
“Families are struggling because of President Biden’s war on American energy,” said GOP House Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana, a bill co-author. “We have way too many energy resources here in America to be relying on hostile nations and paying (high prices) at the pump.”
The Republican bill will “unleash those resources so we can produce energy in America,” said Scalise. “We don’t have to be addicted to foreign countries that don’t like us.”
Dems call the bill a giveaway to large oil companies.
“Republicans refuse to hold polluters accountable for the damage they cause to our air, our water, our communities, and our climate,” said Democrat Representative from New Jersey Frank Pallone, the top Dem on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
“While Democrats delivered historic wins for the American people by passing historic climate legislation, Republicans are actively working to undermine that progress and do the bidding of their polluter friends,” said Pallone.
Biden threatens to veto energy bill
President Joe Biden threatens to veto the energy bill if it arrives on his desk. Dem Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer calls it “dead on arrival” in the Senate, which Democrats currently control.
GOP Speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, said the bill “restores American energy leadership by repealing unnecessary overregulation and taxes on American energy producers” and “makes it easier to build things in America” by putting a time limit of two years on environmental reviews that currently take an average of seven years.
“Every time we need a pipeline, a road or a dam, it gets held up five to seven years and adds millions of dollars in costs for the project to comply with Washington’s permitting process,” said Speaker McCarthy in a House floor speech. “It’s too long, it’s unaffordable, it’s not based on science, and it’s holding us back.”
McCarthy referred to a project to improve and modify Lake Isabella Dam in his district in central California that has gone on for 18 years and is still unfinished.
“Permitting reform isn’t for everyone,” added McCarthy. “If you like paying more at the pump, you don’t want to make it faster for American workers to build more pipelines. If you’re China, you’d rather America sit back and let others lead. And if you’re a bureaucrat, maybe you really do enjoy reading the 600-page environmental impact studies.”
McCarthy maintains that most Americans want increased U.S. energy production and lower prices — results he says will be delivered in the bill.
Democrats say McCarthy and the GOP are misleading. Their plan is a thinly disguised effort to reward energy producers and oil companies that have contributed millions of dollars to Republican campaigns.