Mar 23, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden's energy infrastructure push is starting to take shape

Biden wearing hard hat

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo Mark Makela/Getty Images

The White House is starting to fill in some of the blanks on plans to push an infrastructure package with climate and energy provisions.

Driving the news: President Biden is considering using budget reconciliation two more times this year to pass up to $3 trillion in spending aimed at core priorities, including infrastructure, climate change, education, taxes and health care, Axios' Hans Nichols and Alayna Treene report.

Why it matters: Biden campaigned on big investments in areas like EV charging, grid modernization and boosting R&D, but specifics of his proposals have yet to emerge.

  • And while a legislative strategy is still taking shape, using reconciliation would enable Democrats to bypass Senate filibusters.

Where it stands: Stories Monday in the New York Times and Washington Post provide some broad-brush numbers on climate and energy pieces of the much wider — and preliminary — White House plans.

Via the Post...

  • "The infrastructure component of the proposal includes $400 billion in spending to combat climate change, including $60 billion for infrastructure related to green transit and $46 billion for climate-related research and development. The plan also would aim to make electric-vehicle charging stations available across the country."

And the NYT notes...

  • "Documents suggest it will include nearly $1 trillion in spending on the construction of roads, bridges, rail lines, ports, electric vehicle charging stations, and improvements to the electric grid and other parts of the power sector."
  • The story also notes an emphasis on building one million new affordable and energy-efficient housing units.
  • A separate NYT story notes power sector efforts will include a focus on disproportionate air pollution burdens that communities of color face.

What we don't know: A lot at this point. Those known unknowns include the prospects for bipartisan cooperation on grid modernization and other energy topics that have buy-in from both parties.

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