U.S. House Passes Build Back Better Budget Plan; Changes Coming In Senate

Friday morning, the U.S. House approved the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better Act (BBB), the second piece of President Biden’s legislative agenda that focuses on climate change, health care, education, and tax reform.

Click Here to read an updated summary of provisions with changes from the original proposal highlighted.

The House had planned to vote Thursday night; however, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) prevented a vote, speaking for more than eight hours until 5:00 a.m. Friday  morning.

Final passage from the Senate is uncertain given significant concerns from moderate Democrats that BBB will contribute to inflation and push prices even higher over the coming months and years.

Senator Manchin (D-WV) has questioned whether high/rising prices should persuade lawmakers to scale back the BBB agenda.

Regarding electric vehicles (EVs), Sen. Manchin has expressed opposition to the current provision that allows consumers to get a higher rebate if they purchase an electric vehicle produced by a unionized workforce.

EMA is working with its state associations including the West Virginia Oil Marketers and Grocers Association (OMEGA) that would prevent Americans who make over $100,000 a year or who are buying an electric vehicle (EV) that costs more than $40,000 from claiming the EV credit.  Click Here to read the letter.

EMA is also working to limit the electric heat pump rebate program similar to the EV tax credit efforts.

Looking ahead, the Senate is targeting a Christmas deadline for floor consideration with prospects for passage dropping considerably in the new year as moderate Democrats will be reluctant to take any tough votes increasing taxes ahead of the November 2022 midterm elections.

There is a growing possibility that BBB fails to garner the necessary support to move forward at all.

Separately, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels (NOPEC) Act, which would allow the US to sue members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) for manipulating the energy market and creating price fluctuations.

The bill has little chance of ever becoming law.

Looking to the Executive Branch, the Biden Administration continues considering ways to lower the price of gas.

Senior Administration officials, including National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and National Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy, are considering a variety of recommendations, including releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and softening biofuel blending rules for refineries.

In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it would extend the 2020 and 2021 biofuel-blending deadlines for all fuel refiners and importers obligated to meet the Renewable Fuel Standard.

The EPA is also extending the 2019 compliance year for small refineries.

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