House Paralyzed Until 56th Speaker can be Elected
On October 3, 2023, the House of Representatives, voted to remove Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), in a 216-210 vote, as Speaker of the House, marking the first time in U.S. history a House Speaker has been removed. As the days and weeks pass, the House is unable to elect a new Speaker. After Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) dropped out of the race on October 12th, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) emerged as the most likely candidate.
The first of three rounds (so far) of Speaker votes started on October 18th. Rep. Jim Jordan was unsuccessful in flipping moderate Republican votes, losing 20 votes in the first round and 22 votes in the second. Democrats have been standing behind Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) throughout this process. Any republican speaker can only lose 4 votes if they hope to obtain the gavel. The latest update from Capitol Hill is the Republican Caucus turned down the thought of potentially giving the Speaker Pro Tem Rep. Patrick McHenry more authority on a limited basis. The House GOP caucus met at 1pm, Friday October 20th, and voted via secret ballot to remove Jordan as the Speaker Nominee. Candidates have until Sunday to file and a candidate forum will be held on Monday. The House has adjourned for the weekend and will return on Wednesday, October 25.
NECA's Take: Until a Speaker is elected, the House cannot conduct official business, therefore putting several legislative priorities at risk. NECA continues to monitor the race for Speaker as well as the progress of the 12 key appropriations bills as they move through both chambers. As this leadership crisis continues, we do not anticipate the House will be able to complete all required funding bills before November 17th, which could trigger a government shutdown or lead to another CR. We will continue to keep members updated on the status of government funding.
$3.5B in Grid Funding Released
On October 18, 2023, the Department of Energy released the first wave of funding totaling more than $3.5 billion for the Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships (GRIP) program. This is the largest grid investment to date, supporting 58 projects across 44 states. Grants range from $1 million to $464 million by project. The bulk of the funding will go towards transmission projects across the Midwest in Iowa, Kansas, North Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Missouri, and South Dakota.
NECA's Take: NECA applauds the Department of Energy for announcing these grant awardees to modernize, harden, and upgrade the nation’s electric grid system. The announcement of the $3.5B is only the first round of funding. There will be two more rounds that will total a $10.5B investment. The Department of Energy has announced that of the awardees, 86% either contain a labor union partnership or will be using collective bargaining agreements. For a list of the awardees, click here: Grid Resilience and Innovation Partnerships (GRIP) Program Projects and Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula Grant Awards.
Administration Announces $7B Investment in Hydrogen Hubs
On October 13, 2023, the Department of Energy announced $7 billion to launch seven Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs (H2Hubs). The goal of this investment is to accelerate investment in clean hydrogen commercially. These seven H2Hubs are anticipated to produce 3 million metric tons of hydrogen annually. Learn more about the 7 hubs awarded here.
NECA's Take: NECA welcomes the Department of Energy’s announcement of the hydrogen hubs. This investment made by the federal government will spur an additional $40 billion in private investment that will help connect the entire country with hydrogen fuel and create new work opportunities for NECA contractors beyond the 7 hubs announced. Several of the hubs were developed in close partnerships with unions, with three requiring project labor agreements (PLAs).
Special thanks to Larry Cogburn, Ron Cogburn, and Chandler Crews of Cogburn Bros for renewing their PLC memberships!
Congratulations to the Chicago & Cook County Chapter on reaching their 2023 NECAPAC Goal!
NECAPAC Total 10/23/23 - $616,675
Operational Fund Total 10/9/23 - $321,304
NECA On the Move
Over the past three weeks, NECA’s Government Affairs team met with Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), House Small Business Committee, Congressman Juan Vargas (D-CA), Congressman David Joyce (R-OH), and the Senate Armed Services Committee.