On Thursday afternoon, House Republicans passed the first funding bill approved on the floor since former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was ousted and replaced by House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) three weeks later.
The measure, a sprawling partisan energy plan, passed in 210–199 vote Thursday afternoon, with just one Republican no vote. It is only the second piece of legislation to cross the floor after Johnson was installed on Wednesday.
“This is the first step in getting our appropriations done,” Johnson said shortly after the measure passed. “Yesterday, I promised we were going to get back to work for the American people and today we proved it.”
The bill cuts more than $5 billion in spending, which was passed as part of the Democrats’ signature climate, tax and health care bill, the Inflation Reduction Act, approved without GOP support in 2022.
The legislation is unlikely to pass into law, due to the fact that the Biden administration has already threatened to veto it. However, the measure represents the House Republican position on energy-related issues while they negotiate funding for 2024 with the Democrat-led Senate and White House.
Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) was the only Republican who voted with Democrats against the measure. According to spokesperson Victoria Marshall, Buck voted against the bill because he wanted funding to remain at 2019 levels.
The legislation targets a program that gives rebates to consumers who purchase electric appliances and aims to cut another program aimed at helping state and local governments adopt climate-friendly building codes.
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN), the head of the subcommittee tasked with crafting the funding bill, defended the measure on X ahead of the bill’s passage, arguing that it made “America safer, more energy secure and increases our global economic competitiveness.”
Fleischmann added that Republicans “are investing in America while cutting billions in wasteful, unnecessary, and inflationary spending.”
The White House, meanwhile, claimed that the climate cuts would “result in unacceptable harm to clean energy and energy efficiency initiatives that lower energy costs and critical investments in rural America,” prompting their threats to veto the bill.
The bill would fund the Energy Department, providing about 8% more than last year for the nuclear weapons agency while simultaneously cutting the department’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office by about $466 million, or 13% compared with what it was given in last year’s appropriations bill, drawing more criticism from Democrats.
Additionally, a rule allowing for the vote’s consideration would cut an additional $1 billion from the office — bringing the total cuts for the office to about 42%.
“This office researches and develops manufacturing, building, energy management, and weatherization technologies that are critical to our nation’s growth and resilience,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) a member of the House Appropriations Committee, said on the floor this week. “That is over a billion dollars that will not be invested in our economic, energy, and climate future.”
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