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The Biden administration is arguing that the massive $3.5 trillion tax and spend budget reconciliation bill is a climate bill. It’s not. We will not find durable or practical solutions in one massive bill that is equivalent to more than twice the combined budgets of all 50 states.
An Everything But the Kitchen Sink Bill
The reconciliation bill is an "everything but the kitchen sink" bill consisting of a wish list of a big government policies that would forever alter the American economy. One look at the committee drafts that have been released shows that the majority party has rolled every policy they’ve been unable to enact into one bill. It includes everything from new mandates on small business to offer retirement programs, “free” community college, trade adjustment assistance, Medicare expansion, labor law changes, dozens of tax increases on employers and much, much more. Some of these proposals may be worthwhile, many are not, but one look at the bill, and it is clear this isn't a climate change bill.
In fact, there are parts of the bill that run counter to good climate policy. For instance, no serious climate policy would limit the ability to develop the critical minerals we need to power clean energy, but that’s in the reconciliation bill.
We won’t solve climate change–or any other policy problem–that way.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill is a Better Model
A much more productive path is to follow the model of the bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed the Senate and is in the House. Its development engaged a wide array of stakeholders.
What’s more, that bill is more critical for climate progress. As Marty Durbin, president of the Chamber’s Global Energy Institute, wrote last month, the $100 billion for climate and energy in it is several times more than any other appropriation in history.
In addition, it has greater long-term potential to reduce emissions, because the technologies it supports will be deployed globally, whereas the tax and regulatory approach of the reconciliation bill is primarily focused on deploying existing technologies domestically.
The Chamber Supports Smart and Durable Climate Policy
The Chamber supports enactment of a market-based mechanism to accelerate emissions reductions. We also support ratification of Kigali Amendment and sensible methane regulations and have been meeting with Congressional staff advocating for both. Additionally, we’ve been engaged in dialogue with members of Congress and their staffs on both a Clean Energy Standard and Border Carbon Adjustment Mechanism. Also, we released principles summarizing our member input on both of those topics.
Bottom line: Inaction is not an option on climate change, and more must be done. But don’t confuse the reconciliation bill as a serious attempt to establish durable climate policy. The Chamber is ready continue working with Congress and doing our part.