The $27B in climate cash that Trump can’t cancel

By Jean Chemnick | 06/14/2024 06:36 AM EDT

Democrats wrote the IRA to prevent the former president from disrupting one of its biggest programs, if he wins the election.

Former President Donald Trump is surrounded by Republican lawmakers on Thursday.

Former President Donald Trump arrives at the National Republican Senatorial Committee on Thursday. Evan Vucci/AP

It might spell doom for climate policies if former President Donald Trump is elected in November. But there’s a mountain of cash that he won’t be able to touch — totaling $27 billion.

Congressional Democrats Trump-proofed the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund by establishing in law that EPA must obligate — or commit to spending — those billions of dollars by Sept. 30. The deadline in the Inflation Reduction Act comes almost four months before a victorious Trump would return to the White House, where he has vowed to reverse large swaths of President Joe Biden’s massive climate legislation.

EPA says it’s on track to obligate the funds ahead of time. That would leave the former president, who has rejected climate science and demonized many forms of renewable energy, helpless to halt EPA’s biggest-ever grant program for expanding clean energy financing in low-income areas.


“Once money is out the door, I don’t know of a way you can claw it back,” Mandy Gunasekara, who served as EPA chief of staff under Trump, told E&E News.