Congressional Democrats took aim at proposed cuts to renewable energy tax credits and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) programs in the House GOP’s debt ceiling plan in a press conference on Capitol Hill Wednesday.
Members frequently presented the spending cuts in the bill as a detriment to job growth and said they would particularly hurt energy investments in Republican states and localities.
You are reading: Congressional Democrats blast proposed repeal of green tax credits in debt limit bill
“A lot of those investments are happening in Republican congressional districts across the country, in the red states, so why would they then want to dismantle that project?” Rep. Mike Levin (D-Calif.) said of the IRA’s energy provisions.
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Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) referenced recent efforts by Midwestern Republican members to preserve ethanol subsidies in the bill, saying they indicated GOP awareness of what is at stake for red states in some of the cuts Republicans are pushing for.
“What you have seen over the last 24 hours with our Republican colleagues in Iowa, we’ve seen them scrambling because they know the benefit of those subsidies that their communities are benefiting from,” Escobar said.
In Texas, she added, “over 1 million … households will be able to access rooftop solar with the inflation Reduction Act. It delivered 66 and a half billion dollars in investments in large=scale, clean energy generation and storage to support the clean energy industries, which already employs almost 250,000 Texans and American manufacturing, which employs almost 875,000 Texans.”
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Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), one of the most vocal advocates of the climate provisions in the final IRA bill, added that “many of these Republican members have been home in their districts taking credit for the new projects that the IRA tax credits are starting in their districts.”
“They go home, they take credit for the tax credits. They come back here and they vote to undo the tax credits. That is fossil fuel dark money at work,” Whitehouse said.
The package of spending cuts presented by Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as a condition to increase the federal debt limit and avoid a default would repeal a number of renewable energy tax credits, including major provisions of the IRA. The measure, almost certainly doomed in the Democratic Senate, was amended Wednesday to restore the biofuel subsidies.
“There’s five revisions to the biofuels tax credit; of those — we were able to get all of them in,” Rep. Zach Nunn (R-Iowa) said Wednesday after emerging from a GOP conference meeting. Nunn called the addition of the subsidies “a massive sea change from where we were just 24 hours ago.”