House Passes the Largest Expenditure on Climate in U.S. History
Republicans, who unanimously opposed the bill, assailed the climate provisions. “This includes payoffs for electric vehicle owners,” said Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, the ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “It includes higher taxes on American energy and higher prices for consumers.”
The measures, he said, “would raise costs for working families.”
In an eight-hour attack on the bill on the House floor that started on Thursday night and bled into Friday morning, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the House Republican Leader, said, “Every moment you heat your home in the winter or cool it in the summer, you will pay more. That alone is enough reason to defeat the bill — defeat the bill!”
Climate change is the single largest spending category of the new legislation, which also encapsulates the rest of Mr. Biden’s broader domestic agenda, including expansions of child care, health care and education programs. More than one-quarter of the bill — about $500 billion to be spent over the next decade — is devoted to pulling the American economy away from its 150-year-old reliance on fossil fuels and toward clean energy sources such as wind, solar and nuclear power.
By comparison, the largest amount previously spent by the federal government to combat climate change was about $80 billion, in the 2009 economic stimulus package signed into law by former President Barack Obama. Mr. Obama also put in place the nation’s first major climate change regulations, but they were later weakened or erased by the Trump administration.
Once enacted, the new legislation could prevent emissions of about one billion tons of carbon dioxide by 2030, according to an analysis by Rhodium Group, an independent research organization. That’s the equivalent of taking roughly all the cars in the United States off the road for one year. But it would bring the country only about halfway to Mr. Biden’s goal, the analysis found.
“With passage of this bill, Biden will have made an outstanding accomplishment which can get the U.S. part of the way there,” said Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University.