Dems Poised to Launch Vote on Sweeping Climate Bill

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Senator,Kyrsten,Sinema, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Meeting

Senate Democrats are poised to begin voting as early as Saturday on the sweeping climate and energy package, and Democratic leadership is promising the 50 votes needed to secure passage in the upper chamber.

“I believe we will have 50 votes,” US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) told reporters Friday, indicating Senate leadership could advance the bill in the 50-50 Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris being the tiebreaking vote.

Democrats plan to move the bill via a simple majority vote without GOP support as part of the reconciliation process for legislative measures that are deemed material to the budget and revenue.

Schumer’s remarks follow a last-minute deal hashed out with key swing vote US Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) that forced Democrats to tack on a $74 billion, 1% excise tax on stock buybacks and scale back the 15% minimum corporate tax and a provision that would have narrowed a tax break for carried interest.

Schumer said Friday that the “core” of the 725-page bill remains intact, though Senate officials are still in the process of vetting the bill’s various components to ensure they comply with the reconciliation rules.

The bill as written houses a massive package of tax incentives meant to drive investments in renewables, electric vehicles, batteries, hydrogen, carbon capture, and other clean energy technologies, and a methane “fee” for oil and gas operators meant as something of a backstop for federal regulations.

Tradeoffs include:

  • a statutory cap on how high royalty rates can be raised;
  • a mandate that the US Interior Department restore canceled lease sales in the US Gulf of Mexico and Alaska’s Cook Inlet and validate the results of last year’s US Gulf sale that was annulled by a federal court;
  • and a promise to secure future legislation to ease pipeline construction, including approval of the Mountain Valley Pipeline.

The US House of Representatives is currently on recess, but House lawmakers announced plans to begin their own vote next Friday.

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