Debt Default Averted
On May 31, 2023, the House voted and passed a debt ceiling package with 314 Democrats and Republicans voting in favor. This bill then passed the Senate late the following day with bipartisan support.
The deal includes four main points:
- A two-year suspension of the debt ceiling through January 1, 2025. This is a different way of issuing out new debt since it allows the Department of Treasury discretion to take on as much debt as needed to cover expenses until January 1,2025 (then extraordinary measures go into place). Non-defense discretionary have spending caps for the next two years and in the agreement, there were not any current caps on military or veterans spending (on condition). This deal on spending and other programs, described later on, would be for 2 years and then switches to spending targets Congress should try to meet for the following years. As a way to smooth over some of the cuts', it was agreed that $20 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act directed to the IRS would be used to shore up other federal agencies. Please note: This is all conditional dependent on if Congress actually passes all 12 appropriation bills. If Congress fails to do so, then an automatic CR goes into place that accounts for 1% increase for all programs including defense and veterans. This is a tool to ensure that they actually come to the table to get an appropriations package done.
- Permitting Reform. The bill included a large section of the BUILDER Act which was included in the NECA supported H.R 1. The legislation would allow for 'One Federal Decision' on major federal projects.
- COVID Funds. Includes claw backs of the American Rescue Plan's (ARP) unspent COVID designated funds totaling approximately $30 billion that will either be repurposed or taken back entirely.
- Welfare Reforms. The bill also implements new age limits, allows new exemptions for homelessness, and new work requirements for TANF and SNAP Programs.
GOP senators also secured a promise from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to bring up all 12 appropriations bills before the end of the year in order to avoid a 1% cut that would be triggered by a 'CR'.
NECA's Take: NECA applauds the government for finding compromise and passing legislation that addresses the debt ceiling as well as other important funding and permitting reform. NECA has been working with legislators since Legislative Conference to pass a comprehensive permitting reform package. A small step in reforming the permitting process has been taken with the inclusion of NECA-supported language that allows for 'One Federal Decision'on major federal projects. We will continue to advocate for passage of a broader permitting package that includes many of the priorities we advocated for during the annual NECA Fly-in as well as transmission reforms.
Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA) and Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL) Release Transmission Permitting Legislation
Co-Chairs of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC) Clean Energy Deployment Task Force, Reps. Sean Casten (IL) and Mike Levin (CA), released a discussion draft of the Clean Electricity and Transmission Acceleration (CETA) Act. This bill aims to be a holistic approach at addressing the bottlenecks that exist in deploying clean energy and electricity transmission at the speed necessary to address the climate crisis, while also ensuring affected communities have their voices heard as part of the permitting process.
NECA's Take: NECA applauds the work of Rep. Mike Levin and Rep. Sean Casten in releasing this legislation to help transmission lines to help accelerate the construction and installation of new transmission lines across the country. If enacted, this will help NECA contractors get projects up and running faster.
Special thanks to Brian Connelly of Connelly Electric for renewing his PLC membership!
Congratulations to the North Louisiana Chapter for meeting their 2023 NECAPAC goal!
NECAPAC Total 6/2/23 - $285,944
Operational Fund Total 6/2/23 - $134,145