What to watch in Biden's infrastructure rollout
President Biden is expected to show his cards this week when it comes to energy and climate provisions he'll ask Congress to include in a big-dollar infrastructure package.
Why it matters: Biden campaigned on major investments in zero-carbon power, electric vehicle charging, climate-resilient infrastructure and more.
Chances to move a huge package like this come around exceedingly rarely, and specifics have been absent so far.
What's next: His speech in Pittsburgh on Wednesday — and other info the White House may reveal — should provide more clarity on what he wants in the wider infrastructure proposal expected to be well north of a trillion dollars.
Needless to say, we'll have way more later in the week, and here's a few things we're watching...
The pitch: Biden is expected to promote the plan as a major jobs package, but a note from the research firm ClearView Energy Partners said it could also be part of a wider message on competition with China.
- It notes that amid concerns about inflation and with the pandemic receding, the plan may be positioned partly as "an industrial policy by which the U.S. might counter and contain a rising China."
The specifics: There's intense interest among energy lobbyists of various stripes, activists and others to see a huge array of provisions included, and not everyone will come away happy.
- To take just one example, there's a push to create new tax incentives for battery storage projects.
The strategy: It's not yet clear how much Biden and Democrats will seek to move through budget reconciliation (the filibuster-proof process that constrains what can be included), or whether there's an opening for some bipartisan dealmaking.
The lobbying and advocacy: The upcoming plan is the biggest opening for a sweeping climate and clean energy package in a decade.
- Axios' Hans Nichols reports that progressives are trying to sell the initiative with new cable TV ads arguing clean energy projects will immediately create thousands of jobs.
- And Axios' Andrew Freedman, in the same story, noted the stakes of that and other advocacy efforts that will surround the bill.
- There may be resistance to making the infrastructure bills too climate-heavy unless the public views clean energy spending as a win/win for jobs and the environment, Andrew notes.