Mar 2, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Senate debate on bipartisan climate package could open new fault lines

Sens. Joe Manchin and Lisa Murkowski. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

The Senate's debate over energy legislation this week is slated to bring fresh collisions over climate change overall and electric vehicles policy specifically.

Catch up fast: The Senate will consider a grab bag of measures introduced as a catch-all package by Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski and West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, who head the Senate's energy panel.

The intrigue: Sen. Chuck Schumer, the chamber's top Democrat, is signaling that Democrats will use the debate to highlight differences over climate policy.

  • "Senate Republicans who claim to want to do something about climate change face a big test," he said in a statement.

What's next: A Democratic aide said they would push amendments, including:

  • The bipartisan energy efficiency package that Sens. Rob Portman and Jeanne Shaheen have been pushing for years.
  • Bolstering tax credits for renewables and electric vehicles.

Quick take: Seeing where the GOP votes line up on efforts to expand electric vehicle tax credits should be interesting because the White House explicitly opposes them.

Go deeper: There's hope that Congress may pass energy legislation in 2020

Go deeper

How the coronavirus stimulus bill impacts the energy sector

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The White House and Senate struck a deal on a roughly $2 trillion economic rescue package early Wednesday that lacks separate energy provisions sought by Republicans and Capitol Hill Democrats.

Driving the news: It omits $3 billion to buy roughly 77 million barrels of oil for the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a plan Democrats called a "bailout" for the oil industry, per Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer.

Big climate change policy unlikely no matter who wins the White House

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Don’t hold your breath for big climate policy changes — even if a Democrat wins the White House.

Why it matters: Congress is likely to remain gridlocked on the matter, leading to either more of the same with President Trump’s re-election or a regulatory swing back to the left no matter which Democrat wins — but far short of a legislative overhaul.

The renewable energy industry wants a piece of the coronavirus stimulus

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Renewable energy industries and some Democrats have begun efforts to ensure the economic response to the coronavirus outbreak helps a sector that's suddenly facing strong headwinds.

The state of play: The industry has already had discussions with lawmakers' offices about how to proceed, Axios has learned.