Apr 27, 2023 - Energy & Environment

Climate law: Democrats say GOP debt ceiling plan is a gift to China

 Illustration of China’s flag casting a shadow over a smaller US flag.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The debt ceiling standoff is intensifying partisan fights over the climate law — and both parties are wielding China as a weapon, Ben writes.

Driving the news: Democrats say House Republicans' bid to scuttle many climate law subsidies for low-carbon energy — a condition of their debt proposal — would aid Beijing.

The big picture: They point to the huge wave of climate law-fueled investments in U.S. EV battery manufacturing, a sector China currently dominates.

  • Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, in a statement Tuesday, said the GOP plan would "send American manufacturing jobs back to China."
  • The Center for American Progress, a group aligned with Democrats, is making the same case this week around batteries and solar manufacturing.

The intrigue: Democratic messaging flips the script on GOP's criticisms of the statute, and other White House policies like new draft vehicle emissions rules.

  • One example: A GOP memo alongside a House energy committee hearing yesterday argues the push for aggressive renewables and EV deployment aids China.
  • That's because the "rush to green" is outpacing domestic mineral supply chains, boosting dependence on Chinese materials, it claims.

The bottom line: GOP moves to kill climate law tax incentives are unlikely to succeed in the debt ceiling fight.

  • But dueling claims around which party's energy policies are better-suited to counter economic and security concerns could easily spill into the 2024 elections.
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