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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Democrats have unveiled specifics about their draft climate and social spending plan, but its path forward is pretty vague.

Catch up fast: The White House announced a "framework" Thursday morning with $555 billion in clean energy and climate investments. A nearly 1,700-page House draft emerged hours later.

Why it matters: The package of spending and tax incentives — if approved in something resembling its current form — would be by far the most sweeping climate bill in U.S. history.

  • The provisions would do a lot to put the U.S. on a path toward meeting President Biden's goal of a 50% cut in domestic emissions by 2030.

What we don't know: It's unclear how Democrats will navigate trying to pass their plan on a party-line vote and the bipartisan infrastructure deal.

  • House progressives held up the vote on the bipartisan infrastructure deal, given how many of their social program priorities were whittled down or eliminated from the framework entirely. But they have endorsed the overall framework agreement.
  • The timing has international repercussions. The lack of votes Thursday night raises the odds that President Biden will participate in the COP26 summit in Glasgow early next week without having enacted his legislative climate agenda, which would weaken U.S. credibility at a critical moment. 
  • However, it may be approved during the two-week negotiations, which might restore some U.S. leverage.

The big picture: The plan has all kinds of provisions aimed at speeding up the deployment of zero-carbon power, electric vehicles, hydrogen and carbon capture and removal tech, efficient buildings and more.

  • Per the White House summary, there are $320 billion in various clean energy tax incentives. S&P Global Market Intelligence has a rundown.
  • Bloomberg has details over the tentative compromise on oil-and-gas industry methane emissions, which blends new financial support to cut methane and penalties.

Between the lines: The House draft provides a major expansion of EV purchase incentives, including a measure that allow credits that are $4,500 larger — totaling $12,500 — for union-made EVs.

  • Via The Detroit News, "that would be a boon to the Detroit Three automakers over Tesla Inc. and foreign auto producers whose U.S.-based workforces are not members of the United Auto Workers or other unions."

Go deeper

Updated Dec 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Congressional leaders clinch support for crucial defense bill, debt limit votes

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer passes waiting reporters on Tuesday. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Congress has found a shortcut to pass its annual defense funding bill and raise the debt limit.

Driving the news: The House voted Tuesday night on two major bills — one creating a one-time, fast-track process for the Senate to raise the debt ceiling with just 51 votes, and another passing its annual defense bill.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Dec 7, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Power industry teams up on highway EV charging

A vehicle at a Tesla Supercharger station in Vallejo, California, on Oct. 19. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The big trade group for investor-owned power companies is set to unveil Tuesday a new coalition aimed at making electric vehicle charging more accessible along the nations' highways.

Driving the news: The Edison Electric Institute is rolling out the National Electric Highway Coalition. It merges two existing efforts — Electric Highway Coalition and the Midwest Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Collaboration — and brings in new companies.

Dec 7, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Congress hunts for shortcut to pass defense funding, debt limit combo

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer returned to his office Monday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The scramble in Congress to pass the National Defense Authorization Act is being complicated by an effort to tie it to a needed hike in the federal debt limit.

Why it matters: The House and Senate are rapidly coming up against a series of deadlines they must address before the end of the year — or risk disrupting crucial military funding and upending the economy. Congressional leaders are now hoping they can knock out both "must-pass" priorities in one, complex swoop.