Congressional Update: Senate, House Coming Back To Multiple Issues

The U.S. House and Senate return Monday from Memorial Day Recess with a daunting agenda: both chambers will explore paths to address gun violence and will begin the annual defense policy bill process.

The House and Senate will continue negotiating changes to the “China legislation” that promotes investments in domestic technologies to compete with China.

Senate Republicans reported that Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is currently more interested in negotiating a slimmed-down reconciliation than continuing bipartisan energy tax credit discussions.

As we have written, Senator Manchin has expressed interest in an “inflation-fighting” reconciliation bill that includes clean energy tax credits, raises taxes, and lowers drug prices.

Build Back Better

While it is clear that the previous iteration of Build Back Better is dead, a new version could be fast-tracked should Senators Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) agree.

The 48 other Senate Democrats would likely agree to any version – no matter how small – ahead of the midterm Congressional elections.

Should reconciliation talks fail, Senator Manchin will likely turn towards an end of year bipartisan energy package that would focus simply on extending clean energy tax credits.

Still, the Congressional calendar is not favorable to Democrats, as much serious legislating will stall between August and November.

Republican Climate Plan

House Republicans began laying out their energy and climate agenda should they win a majority this November.

The plan – released from the “Energy, Climate, and Conservation” task force – focuses on an all-the-above energy strategy that promotes private sector innovation to curb emissions.

Republicans noted their support for traditional oil and gas, along with cleaner technologies such as wind, solar, small modular nuclear reactors, hydrogen, and carbon capture.

The proposal also formalizes Republican opposition to mandates, taxes, or regulations to achieve carbon goals.

Many Congressional Democrats criticized the proposal as not serious.

EU Ban On Russian Oil

Across the pond, gas prices rose after the European Union announced a deal to impose an import ban on seaborne Russian crude oil six months from adoption and petroleum products after eight months.

While there will be exceptions for certain pipelines and countries, the policy change is likely to impose significant economic costs on Russia.

Looking abroad to help lower the price at the pump, White House officials confirmed anonymously that President Biden will meet with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia – Mohammed bin Salman – during his upcoming Middle East visit.

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