House Republicans are gearing up to pass three bills this week, but President Joe Biden isn’t backing down. He has already threatened to veto two of them.
But House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) isn’t fazed. In fact, he sees this as an opportunity to strengthen his negotiating position with the Democrat-controlled Senate and White House.
The battle over federal spending in 2024 has sparked disagreements among Democrats and Republicans alike. In the midst of this clash, House Republicans are pushing for conservative spending bills.
Here’s a look at the speaker’s strategy, the crux of the debate, and a top-line summary of the bills themselves.
Negotiating From Strength
With Democrats in control of the Senate and the White House, Republicans in the House have a slim majority. To level the playing field, Speaker Johnson wants to pass all 12 spending bills in the House before the Senate finishes its work. This way, he can negotiate “from a position of strength.”
In an Oct. 23 letter to GOP members, Johnson outlined this strategy just before his election as speaker.
So far, the House has passed five of the 12 spending bills, accounting for over 70 percent of nondiscretionary spending. The Senate, however, has not passed any.
By passing bills with significant spending cuts, Johnson hopes to pressure the Senate into accepting at least some of the House’s spending plan.
Despite President Biden’s veto threat, Johnson sees these bills as a starting point for negotiations.
However, Democrats are not likely to accept the House’s demands without a fight. They believe they have already reached a deal on spending levels for 2024.
The Real Problem
In April, the House passed the Limit, Save, Grow Act, a conservative spending package aimed at prompting negotiations over the debt ceiling with President Biden. The bill set spending levels at the 2022 level and limited spending growth to 1 percent per year.
While the bill successfully initiated negotiations, the administration did not agree to the outlined cuts. Instead, they agreed to slight reductions in nondefense discretionary spending and modest increases in defense spending for 2024. Spending growth was capped at 1 percent for 2025.
Democrats considered this negotiation a done deal, resulting in the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) of 2023, which set spending levels for 2024 and 2025 with bipartisan support, according to the White House.
However, Republicans, particularly fiscal hawks, view the FRA as an upper limit on spending and still want to enact the lower spending levels of the Limit, Save, Grow Act. Democrats argue that a deal is a deal.
But it’s not just about the dollar amounts. Democrats also claim that the cuts target key parts of President Biden’s agenda, such as green energy, diversity and inclusion programs, and support for low-income families.
Here’s a high-level summary of the three bills on tap for this week.
The Transportation spending bill, which also covers Housing and Urban Development, amounts to $90.24 billion. This is $8.63 billion (9 percent) less than what President Biden requested.
However, the actual cost to taxpayers is only $65.21 billion, as more than $25 billion will be offset by cutting proposed spending on new IRS agents over the next 10 years.
The bill includes cuts of $8.35 billion to transportation grant programs and reductions in spending on various areas, from air-traffic controller hiring to lead-based paint removal.
Democrats are unhappy with this bill, arguing that it will make life less safe and affordable for working Americans.
The Office of Management and Budget has stated that the bill would undermine planned infrastructure improvements and the administration’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
One potential hitch for Republicans is that the spending in this bill is actually $2.9 billion higher than in 2023. This is due to the need for new funding to offset lower-than-expected income from government housing and the impact of inflation on housing assistance recipients.
It’s worth noting that last week, Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) voted against the Energy and Water spending bill because he believed it didn’t cut spending enough. His spokesperson explained that Buck wanted the bill to remain at 2019 spending levels.
The Department of the Interior spending bill, which also covers the environment, amounts to $34.8 billion. This is a 10 percent reduction from last year.
The bill also takes back $9.4 billion in funding allocated by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and related entities.
Thus, the actual cost to taxpayers is about $25.4 billion, less than the amount for 2018.
The bill cuts funding for nearly every program, with the EPA seeing a reduction of nearly $4 billion (39 percent of total funding).
The administration has raised concerns about the bill, stating that it would jeopardize the health of Americans by failing to protect the environment.
Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) highlighted the bill’s damaging cuts, including a 13 percent cut to the National Park Service. She questioned whether overflowing trash, dirty bathrooms, and unsafe trails were what the country wanted.
The Legislative Branch spending bill covers Congress, the Capitol police, the Library of Congress, the Congressional Budget Office, and other agencies supporting Congress’s work. The bill amounts to $6.74 billion, a 2 percent reduction from last year.
Funding for the Capitol police increased by $46 million to $781 million, while most agencies and programs remained relatively unchanged.
This bill is the least controversial of the three. However, Democrats have objected to some proposed cuts, arguing that they undermine diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and discriminate against the LGBTQI+ community.
Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.) acknowledged that the bill keeps Congress and supporting agencies running but expressed disappointment that it didn’t do more to enhance security and inclusivity on the Capitol campus.
The House is expected to debate and offer amendments to these bills on Nov. 1. To pass each bill, 217 out of 221 Republican votes will be required, assuming all members are present and voting.
Environmental and conservation programs, as well as for land management agencies. It also reduces spending on renewable energy and climate change initiatives.
Democrats argue that these cuts will hinder efforts to combat climate change and protect natural resources. They believe that investing in renewable energy and environmental conservation is crucial for the future of the planet.How do land management agencies play a role in protecting natural resources and combating climate change?
Land management agencies, such as national parks, forests, and protected areas, play a crucial role in protecting natural resources and combating climate change in several ways:
1. Conservation and Restoration: Land management agencies work to protect and conserve natural resources, including forests, wetlands, and wildlife habitats. They implement strategies to restore degraded ecosystems, which can enhance biodiversity, improve water quality, and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
2. Carbon Sequestration: Forests and other ecosystems serve as carbon sinks, absorbing and storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Land management agencies promote sustainable forestry practices, such as reforestation and afforestation, to maximize carbon sequestration potential. They also protect existing forests from deforestation, which releases stored carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere.
3. Sustainable Land Use Planning: Land management agencies develop land-use plans that balance human activities with the preservation of natural resources. They guide the location and design of infrastructure projects, agriculture, and other land uses to minimize environmental impacts. By promoting sustainable practices, they can reduce carbon emissions and conserve resources.
4. Education and Awareness: Land management agencies play a significant role in raising awareness and educating the public about the importance of protecting natural resources and combating climate change. They provide information on sustainable practices and engage with local communities to promote understanding and action.
5. Research and Monitoring: Land management agencies conduct scientific research and monitoring to assess the impacts of climate change on ecosystems and develop adaptive management strategies. They assess changes in vegetation, wildlife populations, and water quality, among other factors, to inform conservation and mitigation efforts.
6. Collaboration and Partnerships: Land management agencies collaborate with other government entities, NGOs, and local communities to develop and implement effective strategies for protecting natural resources and combating climate change. By working together, they can leverage resources and expertise to achieve greater impact.
Overall, land management agencies play a critical role in protecting natural resources and combatting climate change through conservation and restoration efforts, sustainable land use planning, education and awareness, research and monitoring, and collaboration with various stakeholders.
What are the potential long-term consequences of reduced spending on renewable energy and climate change initiatives
Reduced spending on renewable energy and climate change initiatives can have several potential long-term consequences, including:
1. Climate Change Impacts: The reduction in funding for climate change initiatives can exacerbate the effects of global warming and climate change. This could lead to more frequent and intense extreme weather events, rising sea levels, ecosystem disruptions, and threats to human health and food security.
2. Economic Costs: Continued reliance on fossil fuels due to reduced spending on renewable energy can increase the economic costs associated with climate change. These costs include repairing and rebuilding infrastructure damaged by extreme weather events, addressing health issues related to air pollution, and managing the impacts on agricultural production.
3. Energy Security Concerns: Dependence on fossil fuels can leave countries vulnerable to fluctuations in fuel prices and geopolitical tensions. Reduced investment in renewable energy can hinder progress in achieving energy independence and diversifying energy sources.
4. Technological Lag: Reduced spending on renewable energy research and development can slow down technological advancements needed to transition to a low-carbon economy. This could result in missed opportunities for innovation, job creation, and competitiveness in the global clean energy market.
5. Health Risks: Increased reliance on fossil fuels can worsen air quality, leading to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Reduced spending on climate change initiatives may also hinder efforts to mitigate the health risks associated with climate change, such as heat-related illnesses and the spread of vector-borne diseases.
6. Loss of International Cooperation: Reductions in funding for renewable energy and climate change initiatives may strain global efforts to combat climate change and limit global temperature rise. This can lead to a loss of trust and cooperation among nations and hinder progress in achieving global climate goals.
Overall, reduced spending on renewable energy and climate change initiatives can undermine efforts to combat climate change, increase economic and health risks, and hinder long-term sustainability and resilience.
What are some examples of environmental and conservation programs that will be affected by the proposed cuts?
There are several environmental and conservation programs that could be affected by proposed budget cuts. Here are a few examples:
1. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Programs: The EPA plays a key role in protecting human health and the environment. Cuts to the EPA’s budget may impact various programs, including those focused on air and water quality monitoring and enforcement, hazardous waste cleanup, and climate change research and regulation.
2. National Park Service (NPS) Programs: The NPS manages and preserves national parks, historic sites, and natural resources. Proposed cuts could result in reduced staffing, maintenance, and visitor services in national parks, leading to potential long-term environmental impacts.
3. Endangered Species Conservation: Budget cuts could affect programs aimed at conserving endangered species and their habitats. These programs are vital for protecting biodiversity and preventing the extinction of vulnerable plant and animal species.
4. Climate Change Research and Adaptation: Proposed cuts may impact climate change research, monitoring, and adaptation programs. These initiatives provide crucial data and guidance for addressing the impacts of climate change, developing renewable energy sources, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
5. Renewable Energy Development: Cuts to programs supporting renewable energy research and development can hinder progress in transitioning to clean, sustainable energy sources, such as wind, solar, and geothermal power.
6. Land Conservation and Natural Resource Management: Budget reductions could affect initiatives aimed at conserving public lands, forests, and wetlands. These programs help manage and protect natural resources, prevent deforestation, and support sustainable land use practices.
7. Environmental Education and Community Outreach: Proposed cuts may impact environmental education programs that promote awareness, understanding, and responsible behavior towards the environment. Such programs play a vital role in fostering a sense of environmental stewardship among communities.
8. International Environmental Cooperation: Cuts to programs promoting international cooperation on environmental issues may hinder collaborative efforts to address global challenges like climate change, wildlife trafficking, and pollution.
These are just a few examples of the many environmental and conservation programs that could be affected by proposed budget cuts. The specific programs impacted would depend on the details of the proposed cuts and subsequent budget decisions.
Read More From Original Article Here: Johnson Brings More Spending Bills to Floor, Seeking ‘Position of Strength’ With Senate
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