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‘Build Back Better’ Package Hanging By a Thread

SVP Government Affairs Tim Tarpley
Tim Tarpley, SVP Government Affairs & Counsel

Analysis by Energy Workforce SVP Government Affairs & Counsel Tim Tarpley

The Biden Administration continues to work to salvage as much of the “Build Back Better” package as they can before the clock runs out. A flurry of meetings on the Hill this week report that the Administration is aiming to salvage climate change measures but pare down or cut items like the child tax credit and paid family leave to appeal to Sen. Joe Manchin and other Democrats.

Should the voting legislation currently on deck in the Senate fail to pass, the Democratic leadership will try to save at least some elements of “Build Back Better.”  White House climate czar Gina McCarthy and U.S. Treasury officials are slated to head to Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers and staff on the bill, sources said, as part of the effort to preserve some of Biden’s economic and environmental agenda. 

Of particular note to our sector is many of the climate provisions, such as the proposal to create a “methane fee,” increased royalties for oil and gas production on federal lands and waters, and a number of tax provisions. While the ultimate chances of success of this last ditch effort remain unclear, it is important to remember that given the use of proxy voting during this Congress due to COVID, the Congressional calendar is a bit longer than past years as members can vote on any potential package remotely from their districts while they campaign. However, consensus building becomes much more difficult in this scenario, and members also become very hesitant to take any difficult votes after campaign season heats up. 

Draft European Union Proposal to Classify Natural Gas as Green

While still early in the process, it is worth keeping an eye on a draft proposal in the European Union that would classify some nuclear power and natural gas plants as “green” investments within Europe. 

The European Commission said it had begun consultations with European Union countries on the proposal, which is intended to provide a common set of rules on what counts as a “sustainable investment” in Europe. Any final plan can be blocked by a majority of member states or by the European Parliament, so there could still be alterations or changes down the road. 

The development of this proposal is worth watching, as in the opinion of the Council, there has been a vagueness and uncertainty from the Biden Administration on their support for and policies towards natural gas power generation and LNG exports. Any decision by the EU along these lines will be watched closely on this side of the Atlantic and could serve to sway U.S. policymakers on the issue. 

If you would like to get involved with the Council’s advocacy efforts or the Government Affairs Committee, contact SVP Government Affairs Tim Tarpley.

Tim Tarpley, SVP Government Affairs & Counsel, analyzes federal policy for the Energy Workforce & Technology Council. Click here to subscribe to the Council’s newsletter, which highlights sector-specific issues, best practices, Council activities and more.


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