After surviving a 16-hour “vote-a-rama,” the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), passed the Senate over the weekend and is headed to the House of Representatives for final passage later this week. The bill, which has the skeleton of the president’s cornerstone legislation, Build Back Better, was crafted seemingly overnight between Majority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WVA) after Manchin initially announced he would only support legislation focused on healthcare. The climate provisions in the IRA were added after significant discussion and pressure campaigns on the West Virginian Senator. Although the margins in the House are small (3 Democrat votes against would derail its passage), Speaker Pelosi is known for her ability to keep her party members in line, especially for such a critical part of President Biden’s agenda.
The industry has mixed feelings about the IRA bill. Initially, portions such as tying offshore wind leases to offshore and onshore federal leases and enhancements to 45Q, were tepidly supported. However, this support has been tampered by provisions, particularly those tied to taxes, that would raise the price of domestic energy production. These include a 15% minimum tax on large corporations and a 1% tax on stock buybacks. A more detailed list of provisions that could benefit the energy services sector and concerns, are detailed in a previous article.
Though the President’s party appears to celebrate the “largest climate action bill” in decades, President Biden’s approval rating has not improved. Prices at the pump and inflation concerns are still worrying Americans who mostly feel that Washington D.C. is dysfunctional. However, President Biden will be signing two bipartisan pieces of legislation this week – signaling that DC may not be as broken as it appears.
After Republicans in the Senate faced heavy criticism for delaying its passage, the “PACT Act” was signed on Wednesday. The bill puts $278.5 billion toward expanded Veterans Affairs health care and benefits for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits and their survivors.
President Biden also signed the “CHIPS and Science” package which aims to reduce American reliance on foreign-made computer chips, particularly from China, and funds domestic research and developments. The bill includes more than $52 billion in funding for semiconductor manufacturing – critical components of modern technologies used in every industry including oil and gas development. Energy Workforce has previously explored how critical minerals play into the supply chains for renewables and new energy technologies.
Energy Workforce will continue to focus on analyzing the legislation for opportunities and lobbying the priorities of the energy services and technology sector.
Maria Suarez-Simmons, Director Government Affairs, writes about industry-specific policies for the Energy Workforce & Technology Council. Click here to subscribe to the Energy Workforce newsletter, which highlights sector-specific issues, best practices, activities and more.