Senate approves climate, budget reconciliation bill

By Manuel Quiñones | 08/07/2022 03:18 PM EDT

The legislation passed months behind schedule and after roughly 15 hours of amendment debate. It also ended up being much smaller than many Democrats would have liked.

Senate Environment and Public Works Chair Tom Carper, a Democrat from Delaware, gives a thumbs-up in an elevator.

Senate Environment and Public Works Chair Tom Carper (D-Del.) giving a thumbs-up this weekend as the Democrats took up their budget reconciliation bill. Francis Chung/E&E News

The Senate approved a $740 billion budget reconciliation bill with incentives for clean energy production to address climate change.

The legislation — which passed 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie — has $369 billion in climate and clean energy policies, including incentives for renewable energy, hydrogen, nuclear and electric vehicles. The bill also has $60 billion for environmental justice (E&E Daily, July 28).

“The ‘Inflation Reduction Act’ is a groundbreaking bill for the American people,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) this weekend.


The bill includes a compromise methane fee to address the powerful greenhouse gas, a new royalty rate for oil and gas production on federal lands and waters, and an extension of black lung disease benefits (E&E Daily, July 29). Other provisions would revive a Superfund tax on industry and fund drought response (E&E Daily, Aug. 3).

Democrats were hoping to approve a climate package through budget reconciliation last year but Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chair Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) balked at a larger bill in December.

To secure Manchin’s support, Democrats agreed to some provisions to encourage fossil fuel production and vowed to push a permitting reform bill next month (E&E Daily, Aug. 2). Republicans have said they won’t make that deal easy to fulfill.

Democrats voted down Republican energy and environment amendments during what’s known as vote-a-rama. The party’s strategy was to take tough votes to keep the agreement intact.

The House is planning on returning to Capitol Hill on Friday to approve the Senate-passed reconciliation package.