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House passes energy-water spending bill

Oct 26, 2023
Illustration of a one hundred dollar bill with a barrel of oil in place of Franklin.

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The House passed its energy and water spending bill this afternoon, inching it another step closer to funding the government for fiscal 2024.

Why it matters: Republicans are using this bill to slash key renewable energy programs and cut more than $5 billion from the IRA. That's a tough starting point in a negotiation with Senate Democrats.

Driving the news: The bill passed on a 210-199 vote.

  • The bill, the fifth spending measure to win House approval, would provide a slight boost to overall Energy Department spending, up to roughly $48 billion — mostly for defense-related programs.
  • But it would massively chop budgets at the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations.
  • The rule, passed by the House early this month before the speaker fight, also slashed an additional $1 billion from EERE, leaving it at $2 billion — almost $1.5 billion below fiscal 2023 levels.

Between the lines: It's the first move for new Speaker Mike Johnson, who's hoping to finish up the individual spending bills and move another CR come Nov. 17.

Zoom in: Lawmakers approved a series of GOP amendments to block Biden administration energy policies.

  • They include provisions to halt DOE's Industrial Decarbonization Roadmap and energy efficiency standards and to curb the use of the social cost of greenhouse gases.
  • That's on top of a series of partisan policy riders already in the base bill. That stuff isn't likely to fly with Senate Democrats, but it'll be a negotiating wedge.
  • The House also signed off on an amendment from Rep. Joe Neguse to give an additional $1 million to the Bureau of Reclamation for Colorado River programs.

What we're watching: The Senate version is, unsurprisingly, more expensive.

  • The GOP also really wants to cut whatever they can from the IRA (more on that here).
  • We expect the energy-water bill to be a sticking point — if they ever get around to negotiating an omnibus.
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