House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) has announced a new reform package aimed at restoring America’s energy independence and protecting American families’ hard-earned dollars amid soaring energy costs.
H.R. 1, known as the Lower Energy Costs Act, includes a string of energy policy proposals aimed at streamlining and expediting energy infrastructure and exports, cutting red-tape regulations to open up pipelines, bolstering domestic energy production, and lowering energy prices across the board for Americans.
The package also aims to boost the domestic production and processing of critical materials that are used in advanced technologies like semiconductors and batteries used in electric vehicles, as well as renewable energy technologies.
While speaking to Fox Business Network’s Larry Kudlow about the energy reform package on Mar. 9, Scalise said it would run contrary to the Biden administration’s current energy policies, under which the cost of energy has soared in the past year.
Scalise said families are now paying over 40 percent more for their gas since January 2021.
“I think the more Americans find out about the Lower Energy Costs Act, they’re going to want this not only to be passed through the House but they are going to want President Biden to sign it, because it’s going to lower energy costs for families who are paying too much because of President Biden’s attack on American energy,” Scalise told Fox.
“Right now, if you’re trying to get permitting for pipelines, for example, it’s almost impossible to do. They don’t want, the Biden administration doesn’t want, pipelines to move energy. They want to make it harder to produce American energy. So, right now you might have to go through five different agencies, and each one of them is going to drag their feet. It might be over a year, two years, before you get an answer. So they just kill these projects,” the lawmaker said.
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“If you just went to one agency—you take, for example, where all of the regulations are rolled into one place—we streamline the regulations,” he continued. “So let’s streamline it.”
The House majority leader said that Republicans also plan on opening up more offshore and onshore leasing, noting that the Biden administration has “canceled so many lease sales, over and over again.”
Biden suspended oil and gas lease sales after taking office and has vowed to overhaul America’s fossil fuels program.
While speaking on boosting local production and processing of critical materials, Scalise noted that China is mining the majority of the rare materials and that the United States is becoming increasingly reliant on Beijing for them.
“Why would we want to be more reliant on China? Let’s make it here. And we do it better than anybody else in the world,” he said.
The announcement of the new reform package comes after National Energy Assistance Directors Association, a policy organization, said (pdf) on Monday that the number of households receiving energy assistance this winter season rose an estimated 1.3 million, from 4.9 million to 6.2 million, the largest one-year increase since 2009 and the highest total rate of applications since 2011.
Overall, home heating prices are at their highest in 10 years, according to the organization, and households will pay 12.7 percent more for home heating this winter.
Heating oil expenditures are projected to rise more than any other fuels, up 25.9 percent, or nearly $500 more than the 2021–22 winter heating season, while natural gas expenditures may also see a significant jump of 14.5 percent more than last year, more than an additional $100, according to the organization.
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H.R. 1 will include legislation led by 26 individual members and produced by the Committees on Energy and Commerce, Natural Resources, and Transportation and Infrastructure.
Scalise is set to introduce the bill next week, and the bill will then be put to the floor for consideration at the end of this month.
Separately, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) welcomed the reform package, which he said will bolster the production and export of American energy and reduce the regulatory burdens that “make it harder to build American infrastructure and grow our economy.”
“The Biden administration has knee-capped American energy production, and endlessly delayed critical infrastructure projects. Democrats’ misguided policies increased costs for every American and jeopardized our national security—and they’ve made the rest of the world more reliant on dirtier energy from Russia and China,” McCarthy said.
“To lower costs for Americans and grow our economy, we need to get the federal government out of the way,” he added.
Elsewhere on Thursday, President Biden unveiled his $6.9 trillion fiscal year 2024 budget plan, which includes “advancing clean energy and investing in climate science” and would accelerate U.S. manufacturing and deployment of “clean energy technologies.”
The plan would cut energy and water bills for American families by investing in a “clean energy workforce” and “infrastructure projects” that will do $1.8 billion worth of work in low-income Americans’ homes, including through weatherization assistance grants and supporting energy efficiency and resilience in federal-assisted and financed developments, among others.
The budget would also raise $31 billion by “eliminating special tax treatment for oil and gas company investments, as well as other fossil fuel tax preferences,” said a White House fact sheet.