Energy & Environment

White House plans for $500B for climate in Democratic spending bill

The White House is seen from the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., on Friday, September 24, 2021.
Greg Nash

Democrats are poised to spend at least $500 billion on climate in their spending package — indicating a smaller top-line cut than other programs in the reconciliation bill. 

During The Hill’s A More Perfect Union event on Tuesday, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain alluded to the figure, saying, “We have a proposal in the reconciliation bill, in the Build Back Better bill, to make a historic investment in climate change.”

“More than $500 billion over 10 years. Just to put that in perspective, the entire Department of Energy over the next 10 years is going to spend $450 billion. We’re talking about an investment in climate change larger than the entire Department of Energy. We just now have to go get that done. I think we’re making a lot of progress in that regard,” he said. 

Two sources confirmed to The Hill that the White House was telling lawmakers that the climate provisions will probably cost more than $500 billion, saying that an Axios report on the topic was accurate. 

That report also listed a number of climate provisions expected to be in the bill, including grants, loans and tax credits for industrial decarbonization, expanded rooftop solar and electrification for houses, expanded grants and loans for clean energy and efficiency at rural electric co-ops, and expanded grants and loans to help agriculture shift toward clean energy. 

The news comes as Democrats inch closer to an agreement on the climate portion of their package, with senators indicating that they believe they have a pathway that includes a fee on methane emissions. 

But it also followed a cut to a different key program that sought to decarbonize the electric sector through grants and fines to power providers amid opposition from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). 

Morgan Chalfant contributed.

Tags Joe Manchin Ron Klain

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