August Federal Policy Updates
Both chambers of Congress are now in recess, but we do have a few updates to share!
Our workforce bill has officially been introduced in the Senate! It is largely similar to its House counterpart - Blue Collar to Green Collar Jobs Act (HR1315) – which was approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee and now has a number of Republican co-sponsors. The Senate version, dubbed “The Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2019” was introduced by Sens. Heinrich and Booker, along with Committee Ranking Member Manchin. We are still hopeful that we can get a Republican co-sponsor, but decided introduction without a Republican co-sponsor was needed so the bill can be included in a legislative hearing the week of Sept. 15. If outside witnesses/experts are invited to testify, we will submit a request to testify.
Good progress is being made on the HOMES Act. We have been working closely with Rep. Welch’s office and we expect a revised version to be introduced after the August recess. We are also working with House Energy and Commerce Committee staff to put together a hearing specifically on building efficiency legislation, with HOMES being the centerpiece on the residential side. Timing for that is likely late September/early October. As with the Senate hearing, if outside witnesses/experts are invited to testify, we will submit a request to testify.
Now that a budget agreement has been reached, the Senate has begun its work on FY20 appropriations bills. We expect the Energy and Water bill to be one of the first bills to be released when Congress returns from recess. Numbers for our key programs (BTO, WAP, SEP) will be lower than the House numbers, but only because the topline numbers from the budget agreement are lower than the topline numbers House Democrats decided to work from when they were drafting their bills earlier this year, prior to an official budget agreement. We have been reaching out to Senate offices and will be meeting with committee staff tomorrow and remain optimistic that we will see at least level funding and perhaps some slight plus ups from FY19, and will get similarly strong report language that we got into the House bill.
Senate Tax Task Force Report
Credit for certain nonbusiness energy property
Comments expressed support for a forward-looking extension of IRC sec. 25C, along with certain modifications. This included modernizing product-specific efficiency standards, raising the credit rate, and lifting certain product category caps; a proposal to require third-party verification of energy savings and provide whole-building-based incentives; and a proposal to transition the credit to performance-based efficiency standards. In addition, comments noted the credit’s role in encouraging investments in efficiency upgrades by reducing upfront investment costs and stimulating jobs in construction and manufacturing, and lowering emissions by reducing energy demand. Comments also raised other energy-efficiency credits in IRC secs. 45L and 179D.
Check back for more updates soon and enjoy what's left of summer!