Kristen Cheriegate | ICAST Policy Analyst
The Future of the Build Back Better Bill
The Build Back Better (BBB) bill may be dead in the water in its original form. President Biden said in a White House Press conference that the authors will “have to probably break it up,” and that he has “been talking to [his] colleagues on the Hill; it’s clear that [the authors] would be able to get support for the 500-plus billion dollars for energy and the environment.” However, Senator Manchin, a key Democrat who opposed the passing of the BBB bill, told reporters shortly after the President’s speech that he had not yet been approached to discuss breaking out pieces of the BBB agenda.
Historic Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program Funding Making its Way to States
The Biden Administration announced a state-by-state breakdown of funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). LIHEAP funding was more than doubled in 2021 through an additional $4.5B provided by the American Rescue Plan – bringing the total to $8B delivered nationally last year. These funds represent the largest appropriation in a single year since the program’s establishment in 1981, and are already allowing States across the country to provide more home energy relief to low-income Americans. Examples of funding:
Senators Ask Biden to End Trump-Era Solar Tariffs
Eight bipartisan Congressmembers in the Senate sent President Biden a letter asking him not to extend the previous Administration’s tariffs on solar panel imports. Authors of the letter argue that “continued tariffs will hurt the nearly 90% of workers in the domestic solar industry who work in non-manufacturing jobs.” The President is expected to decide whether or not to extend the tariffs before February 6th, when the tariffs are set to expire.
California Proposes Historic Clean Energy and Transportation Investments
In January, California Governor Gavin Newsom released his 2022-23 state budget proposal: the California Blueprint. The plan’s proposals include various methods of combating the climate crisis – e.g., investments for drought response and reducing the State’s reliance on fossil fuels – as well as investments to help tackle the cost of living, including leveraging $2B in new grants and tax credits to build more housing. The Blueprint also proposes over $6B in clean transportation and $2B in clean energy investments.
States to Receive Funding for Electric Vehicle Chargers in 2022
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal that was signed into law in 2021 provided approximately $7.5B – $5B in formula funding and $2.5B in competitive grants – for installation of approximately 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations across the country. The U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Treasury created the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation to manage the rollout of the funding and programming. In their first joint appearance, officials announced that the Joint Office will issue guidance to states in February on how to deploy the new funding, with an eye towards accessibility, affordability, and equity.