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Our bold predictions

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Axios Energy Policy reporters Jael Holzman and Nick Sobczyk wanted to start this year off with a couple of bold predictions …

Jael's take: Toward the end of this year, we will see the passage of an aggressively anti-China package, likely attached to the NDAA.

  • Here's why: The likely GOP nominee is running on the most isolationist trade agenda in possibly a century. And President Biden's more laissez-faire approach to global commerce is proving relatively unpopular.
  • So Jael believes that Senate Dems and House Republicans will strike some sort of grand bargain on China policy when the NDAA comes up in the fall, as a sop to the Midwest and a play to the MAGA base.
  • At least on the House side, the policies up for grabs could produce a rapid departure from a functional relationship with China … which is the point.

Nick's take: Republicans won't succeed at making the IRA (or another Solyndra) a wedge issue in the election.

  • Sure, they've generated some oversight wins so far (see: Microvast), and they've made nominal attempts to repeal the climate provisions of the law.
  • But the IRA doesn't seem to have the same political juice as the Affordable Care Act or the 2009 stimulus. There's just so much money flowing to red states and districts.
  • Plus, Republicans are much more focused on impeaching Biden, going after major asset managers and the battle over abortion rights.
  • The real threat to the IRA is that a future GOP administration significantly weakens implementation or rewrites guidance so that the tax credits become virtually unusable.
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