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Cracks Show in Path to Passing Reconciliation Bill

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

Analysis by Energy Workforce SVP Government Affairs & Counsel Tim Tarpley

As discussed in last week’s column, the committees of jurisdiction in the House of Representatives are marking up sections of the reconciliation bill within their jurisdictions.

Many proposed tax changes affecting our sector fall within the Ways and Means Committee, which began with the healthcare portion of their jurisdiction rather than taxes. The Council will track details on that markup in the coming weeks.

The House Natural Resources completed its markup of the provisions discussed in last week’s column, which would add significant costs to the leasing process on federal lands.  

Over the weekend, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin emerged as a potential roadblock that could slow or derail the process. Manchin published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal expressing serious concerns about the $3.5 trillion price tag.

Manchin wrote of his worries that the U.S. has already spent roughly $5 trillion responding to the coronavirus pandemic and further government spending could lead to inflation and unsustainable national debt. While his op-ed does not preclude passage of the package, his position presents a significant stumbling block.

With margins so close in the Senate, proponents of the package cannot lose Manchin’s support so early in the process. Expect further negotiations.    

Complicating the situation for supporters of the bill is the fact that lowering the price tag means the removal of provisions popular with progressives. This balancing act puts House and Senate leadership in a tough bind. Removing provisions to lower the cost risks losing the support of progressives, some of whom have publicly said they will not support a smaller bill.    

The Council’s Government Affairs team will continue to work against provisions that will hurt our industry and will keep members up to date.

For more information on the Council’s advocacy efforts or to get involved, contact SVP Government Affairs & Counsel 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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