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Biden once again targets fossil fuel benefits in budget proposal

President Biden is once again taking aim at government subsidies for the fossil fuel industry in his new budget proposal after a contentious year between the administration and the industry. 

Biden’s proposal — which is highly unlikely to be taken up by Congress — would 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. 

Another fact sheet described the proposal as “cutting wasteful spending on Big Pharma, Big Oil, and other special interests.”

Biden has previously proposed getting rid of incentives for this industry, but this year’s proposal comes after he had repeatedly slammed oil company profits in the wake of high gasoline prices.

The industry has pushed back, citing disruptions caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and accusing Biden of attempting to “vilify” energy companies. 

The proposal also includes a number of items the administration said would reduce Americans’ energy bills, including $375 million for grants to assist weatherization of homes and $800 million for efficiency upgrades through LIHEAP, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

Another $300 million would go to improving energy efficiency and climate resilience in public housing, while more than $5 billion would go to fund climate and energy-efficient technology research at various agencies and bureaus, including the Interior Department, the Commerce Department, NASA and the National Science Foundation.

The budget would put $35 million toward creating a new laboratory at a historically Black college or university through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

The proposed budget also would require the Department of Agriculture to target all funding for new or rehabilitated rural housing construction toward projects “that improve energy or water efficiency, implement green features, or address climate resilience.”

It also includes a provision for a regional U.S. Energy-Water Demonstration Facility through the Energy Department, which would go toward projects exploring the intersection of energy and water in national watersheds.

Every year, the president puts out a budget proposal indicating the White House’s priorities for the year. 

However, Congress, not the president, has the power to appropriate funds, and typically does not go along with what the president proposes, particularly given the 60-vote threshold for Senate passage that all but guarantees bipartisan input each year. 

Source: The Hill

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