Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says that many of the provisions in the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill will reward U.S. adversaries by increasing energy dependence on countries such as China and Russia.
“So, Democrats’ plans would have American families hurting badly. But it’s not even like all the sacrifice would buy some big national advantage. It’s just the opposite. Their proposals would be a huge gift, a huge gift, to adversaries like Russia and China,” McConnell said on the Senate floor on Sept. 28.
The Democrats are in the process of passing trillions of dollars of legislation to fund their climate change and green energy mandates, which would allocate billions for electric vehicles, refitting homes and offices with solar panels, and ending the use of U.S. fossil fuels.
“To give just one example, the Democrats are drafting blunt mandates for more solar panels. Somebody should tell our colleagues that China currently supplies about three-quarters of the world’s solar panels. They’ve also largely cornered the market on some of the necessary raw materials and critical minerals. So, look, if we’re going to borrow money from China to send a windfall right back to Chinese miners and manufacturers? Is that the master plan?”
Chinese coal-fired factories supply more than three-quarters of the world’s polysilicon, which is a key component in most solar panels. The Chinese regime has thousands of coal-burning power plants to meet the demands of the clean energy industries and demands for solar panels.
Supporters of clean energy sources such as solar panels argue that even though panels are produced through the use of coal, emissions are reduced over time because solar panels don’t emit carbon and last almost 30 years.
According to a memorandum (pdf) sent to Democratic senators in August, the Senate Budget Committee recommended an allocation of $67 billion to the House Environment and Public Works Committee as their portion of the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, to be used for the Clean Energy Technology Accelerator “that would fund low-income solar and other climate-friendly technologies.”
In addition, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s portion of the budget is $198 billion and will help Democrats reach their climate goals, reaching net-zero emissions economy-wide by no later than 2050.
The $3.5 trillion package will invest “$27.5 billion in a Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to support the rapid deployment of low- and zero-emission technologies. We also invest in electric vehicles, appliances, and building efficiency rebates, electric transmission, and low-income solar,” said Committee on Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (pdf) during a markup of the bill.
“Also, on the environmental front, we provide $30 billion in funding to fulfill the President’s commitment to replace all lead service lines in drinking water systems, as well as $10 billion for Superfund cleanups, and $5 billion for environmental and climate justice block grants,” Pallone said.
“I’m thrilled by the historic investments we made to fight the climate crisis and create millions of new, good-paying clean energy and manufacturing jobs right here at home,” Pallone said in a statement after the passage of the bill in his committee.
However, Republicans don’t share the Democrats’ desire to replace fossil fuel sources, because they say it will kill U.S. energy independence and lead to higher energy costs for average Americans. They also argue that the United States has reduced its emissions significantly and continues to be a leader in producing clean energy, while countries such as China are one of the biggest carbon emitters.
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), the ranking Republican member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee (ENRC), opposes the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget and abrupt shift away from fossil fuels.
“Democrats are trying to jam through a scheme that would impose new costs on the natural gas and electricity that nearly every American family uses to heat and power their homes. This is a tax on all Americans. The House Democrats’ bill will wreak havoc on the nation’s economy, make energy less reliable, and cost thousands of workers—especially those in energy-producing states—their jobs. Congress should reject this dangerous proposal,” Barrasso said in a statement.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), chairman of the ENRC, is one of the only Democrats to argue that ending the use of fossil fuels in the United States will not solve climate problems, as most of the carbon emissions come from countries such as China.
“My concern [about the environment] is basically being realistic and being practical about what’s going on in the world. Within the next 10 years, 90 percent of pollution is going to come from one continent, Asia. And China is going to have 3,500 coal-fired plants. In America, they make you believe we only have 504. There’s 6,600 operating and they’re building another 1,063—none in America,” Manchin said in an August interview on “Face the Nation.”
The West Virginia senator argued that research and development is a more realistic and U.S.-friendly solution to lowering emissions and saving the environment.
“We have $12 billion for carbon capture sequestration. If you don’t do that, you’re not going to save the climate.”
Meanwhile, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters during a Sept. 28 press briefing that there is broad public support and advocacy for the climate change provisions within the budget reconciliation package and President Joe Biden understands the urgency of the matter.
“It is clear the climate crisis is here, and it’s taking its toll. The recent IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] made clear we’ve faced code red for humanity because of the climate crisis. And that is why, inspired by the American people led by our climate champions and President Biden, our Democratic majorities in Congress are taking action,” said Pelosi.
Pelosi said the legislation will create jobs in the green technology sector.
“The president has made this very special to his agenda. He will go to Glasgow wanting to do so with legislation that has passed, that again confirms our commitment to the Paris Accords by honoring our commitment to first emission standards, and then the president, again, has the bill—this is today we’re telling you they’ll build back better for climate.”
However, McConnell said China will be glad the United States is relying on its energy.
“They’ll go roaring by, increasing their prosperity and emissions, no matter what we do. Hurt families helps China. A war on American energy just as the rest of the world is stealing for shortages. This is just one piece of the Democrats’ reckless taxing and spending spree, along with historic tax hikes,” McConnell said.