Analysis by Energy Workforce President Tim Tarpley
Last month, Congress cut a deal extending the current funding package through January 19 for the departments of Veterans, Transportation and Housing, with all other funding expiring on February 2. This sets the stage for additional negotiations and drama in Congress during the first month of 2024 but avoids the typical last-minute negotiations that tie up the legislature during the holiday season.
House Speaker Mike Johnson has so far avoided a protracted fight by extending spending to last year’s levels, relying on large bipartisan votes to push the package over the finish line. Unfortunately, this strategy has been showing the initial signs of cracking, and it is possible that he will face a more challenging negotiation next month. Meanwhile, the U.S. ended the fiscal year with a $1.7 trillion deficit, the largest on record outside of the peak during the COVID-19 pandemic. Moody’s rating agency changed its outlook on the U.S. creditworthiness to “negative” from “stable” citing the political dysfunction of the U.S.
Until spending for the remaining part of the year is settled, it appears unlikely that additional issues that we have been watching closely, such as permitting reform, will be addressed. As primary election season begins with the Iowa caucuses in January, movement on large pieces of legislation will become increasingly challenging. EWTC will continue to push for comprehensive permitting reform to move in Congress prior to the election.
As we enter the oliday season, we will also be watching federal agency actions, specifically the SEC, to see if they finally release the long-delayed final SEC ESG reporting requirements. It appears that the Biden Administration would need to release the requirements at some point in January, as political considerations may hamper a release much later than that.
Tim Tarpley, Energy Workforce President, analyzes federal policy for the Energy Workforce & Technology Council. Click here to subscribe to the Energy Workforce newsletter, which highlights sector-specific issues, best practices, activities and more.