GOP Senators Outline Infrastructure Plan; Biden Announces U.S. Emissions Goal at Global Summit
Senate Republicans on April 22 unveiled a five-year, $568 billion infrastructure proposal as a counteroffer to President Joe Biden’s eight-year, $2.2 trillion plan. (Republican infrastructure framework and press conference)
Contrasting Infrastructure Plans
- The GOP plan, crafted by a group led by Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), at podium in photo, adheres to a more narrow definition of infrastructure than the Democrats' proposal. (CQ and CNBC, April 22)
- The Republican proposal is focused on transportation, but also targets broadband and water projects. Details about how to fund the plan are vague, referencing unspecified user fees and spending unused money from prior COVID-19 relief bills. (Republican infrastructure framework and Politico Pro, April 22)
- Funding for Biden's multitrillion dollar “hard infrastructure” plan, by contrast, would rely on an increase in corporate taxes and further address electrical vehicles and “clean energy” assets. The Administration is expected to unveil its “American Families Plan” next week – an extensive framework supporting “human infrastructure” investments that would be paid for, at least partially, through tax increases on wealthy individuals. (Roundtable Weekly, April 2)
- Meanwhile, a group of 58 bipartisan lawmakers called the Problem Solvers Caucus on April 23 released a report that proposes several possible fee increases to pay for infrastructure spending. The caucus report includes options to impose a vehicle-miles traveled tax from electric vehicles – and proposes indexing gas and diesel taxes to inflation, highway construction costs, fuel-economy standards, or some combination. (Caucus report and Wall Street Journal, April 23)
- President Biden held a historic “virtual” climate summit yesterday and today with 40 world leaders to build global commitments to slash greenhouse gas emissions and ramp-up renewable energy development. (New York Times, April 22 and White House Fact Sheet, April 23)
- Biden committed the U.S. to cut its emissions in half by 2030 (relative to a 2005 baseline) – a pledge that would “dramatically reshap[e] key sectors of the economy.” (Wall Street Journal, April 23). The Biden Administration considers its climate commitments a “core part of [its] $2.2 trillion infrastructure plan,” essential to embrace new technologies, and necessary for the U.S. to out-compete China. (POLITICO, April 22)
- An open letter signed by 400+ businesses and investors support Biden’s 2030 target, calling it “ambitious and attainable.” The CEOs for Bank of America and Citibank appeared at the summit, as the financial sector faces increasing pressure to “play its biggest role yet in greening the global economy.” (Axios, April 22)
Energy Tax Bill
- Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) on April 21 reintroduced legislation that would consolidate and refocus a range of existing energy tax incentives directed at buildings, clean electricity, transportation and conservation.
- The Clean Energy for America Act would provide performance-based tax incentives for energy efficient homes and commercial buildings – with the value of the tax incentives increasing as more energy is conserved. (Text of the legislation, one-page summary of the bill and a section-by-section summary.)
- Similar to the previous version of the legislation, the bill would also address Section 179D – the enhanced deduction for energy-efficient commercial buildings – by creating a sliding scale based on the percent of energy efficiency achieved above the most recent ASHRAE 90.1 standard.
- A business coalition led by The Roundtable supports the E-QUIP Act (H.R. 2346), which proposes “accelerated depreciation” for high-performance equipment installed in commercial and multifamily building. The coalition is urging policymakers to include this measure as part of any “green tax” package that may be folded into larger infrastructure spending legislation. (Roundtable Weekly, April 2)
The Senate Finance Committee will discuss energy tax policy and climate change at an April 27 hearing entitled "Climate Challenges: The Tax Code’s Role in Creating American Jobs, Achieving Energy Independence, and Providing Consumers with Affordable, Clean Energy."
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