The debt limit bill passed by House Republicans this week was not only a move made to force President Biden into negotiations to prevent a catastrophic federal default this summer, but it included massive cuts in green energy funding.
Passed on a 217-215 vote with all five Oklahoma Representatives voting for the measure, the Limit, Save, Grow Act would raise the government’s legal debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion in exchange for spending restrictions.
Among those restrictions was the repeal of clean energy tax credits in a signed law, In order to get the support of some Midwest members of Congress, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy had to do some fast politicking.
The bill originally called for the elimination of biofuel tax credits that were signed into law last year by President Biden. In the end, McCarthy and other Republicans agreed to keep the tax credits on the books, assuring the support of Representatives from Iowa, a major corn state which feeds the ethanol industry.
‘Our delegation has stood united for Iowa’s farmers and producers fighting to amend the bill to protect biofuels tax credits,’ said the four House Republicans from Iowa in a joint statement announcing their support for the bill.
At the same time, Republicans tacked on a move to spur more oil, gas and coal production.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated the GOP plan could reduce federal deficits by $4.8 trillion over the decade.
Some of the work was carried out in the House Rules Committee chaired by Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole.
“It’s not the end of the road, but it’s a great personal and political victory for the speaker who got it done. He got a lot of people to vote for a debt ceiling increase who’ve never done that before,” he said.
He added that passage of the bill puts pressure on the Senate to also head to the negotiating table.
“They can’t pass a clean debt ceiling. They know that — and it brings the president to it.”
Rep. Kevin Hern, who chairs the Republican Study Committee in the House, called the bill only the first step.
“– we still have to get this bill through the Senate and on to the President’s desk. I urge my colleagues to stand their ground, fight for the conservative principles in this legislation, and continue the work to get this bill to the finish line. We will not allow the Senate to water down this legislation, because we know that fiscal responsibility is not a partisan concept. Our work is not done until this bill is signed into law,” stated the Tulsa congressman in a statement from his office.
Congressman Frank Lucas said the bill targets what he called the “reckless spending” of President Biden and Washington Democrats.
“Simply put, our national debt is unsustainable and a symptom of Washington’s fiscal irresponsibility- but it’s not unfixable. Congress- and the Biden Administration and future administrations- has the ability to enact sensible reforms to programs and return fiscal responsibility to our country’s budget,” said Rep. Lucas.