House Speaker Mike Johnson’s First Big Bill Cuts Biden’s Climate Change Funding

(Bloomberg) -- The first major legislation House Republicans passed under newly installed Speaker Mike Johnson would cut billions of dollars in consumer rebates for energy efficiency upgrades included in President Joe Biden’s signature climate law.

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The $58 billion measure, which funds the Energy Department and other agencies, rescinds more than $5.5 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act, including a $4.5 billion program for homeowners to switch to more energy efficient appliances and a $1 billion grant program to help states craft more stringent building energy codes.

The bill, approved Thursday on a 210-199 vote, also slashes the Energy Department’s energy efficiency and renewable energy office funding by 42% below last year’s levels and revokes $15 billion in loan authority from the department’s loan guarantee program.

Johnson last year criticized the Inflation Reduction Acts’s spending on climate and clean energy measures as “green energy slush funds.”

Representative Morgan Griffith, a West Virginia Republican, said cutting the climate spending would save taxpayers “huge amounts of money.”

While the House measure isn’t expected to pass the Democratic Senate - or receive Biden’s signature - without changes, it represents the Republican’s starting point as they negotiate spending with Democrats ahead of a mid-November government shutdown deadline. Johnson has pledged the House will vote on the remaining spending bills in the coming weeks.

Republican members of the House Appropriations Committee drafted the cuts before Johnson was elected party leader.

Earlier: GOP Speaker Nominee Johnson Has Plan to Avoid November Shutdown

Johnson, of Louisiana, is a long-time ally of his state’s oil and gas sector, and has received about $280,000 in donations from the industry, according to the watchdog group OpenSecrets. The League of Conservation Voters, an environmental group, has given Johnson a 2% lifetime achievement score, citing dozens of votes against climate legislation and other environmental bills.

Johnson has “denied that climate change is a result of fossil fuels and polluters, and appears poised to continue to cater to Big Oil and Gas allies as Speaker,” the environmental group said in a statement.

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