New House Speaker Goes to Work Slashing Biden’s Green Fat Budget

The first major legislation House Republicans passed under Speaker Mike Johnson’s leadership would cut billions of dollars in green subsidies for energy efficiency upgrades included in President Biden’s climate law, the Inflation Reduction Act. The $58 billion measure, which funds the Energy Department and other agencies, rescinds more than $5.5 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act, including a $4.5 billion program for homeowners to switch to more energy efficient appliances and a $1 billion grant program to help states develop more stringent building energy codes, presumably so the states can do the Administration’s dirty work telling people what kind of appliances they can buy. The bill, approved on a 210-199 vote, also slashes the Energy Department’s energy efficiency and renewable energy office funding by 42 percent below last year’s levels and revokes $15 billion in loan authority from the department’s loan guarantee program. The House measure is not expected to pass the Senate or receive Biden’s signature without changes. It represents the House Republicans’ starting point as they negotiate spending ahead of a mid-November government shutdown deadline, and it is a good start. 

Jonson’s Aggressive Schedule

Johnson has pledged the House will vote on the remaining spending bills in the coming weeks. In an October 23 memorandum to colleagues, Johnson indicated that the House would work through the eight remaining appropriations bills between now and November 17, when the government would shut down absent congressional action. The Energy-Water bill would be followed by the bill to fund the Department of the Interior and EPA. Both the Energy-Water and Interior-EPA bills have deep cuts from Biden’s wish list of “green” spending. Such spending in various bills has exploded under Biden, with Vice President Kamala Harris admitting that they plan to spend $1 trillion on their climate plans. In addition, the Speaker pledged that in December, the House will pass a reauthorization of the farm bill in time to avoid an expiration of the three-month extension Congress approved in September. Johnson also planned to launch negotiations with the Senate on the National Defense Authorization Act by next month for passage by December. That bill usually carries significant energy and environment provisions. Johnson also wants to begin negotiations on the FAA reauthorization “as soon as the Senate passes it,” presumably sometime in the next four weeks.

For next year, the Speaker expects that between May and July, the House should complete consideration of all fiscal year 2025 spending bills as well as funding for the Water Resources Development Act and the fiscal year 2025 National Defense Authorization Act. Johnson believes the chamber should not break for its annual summer district work period unless all 12 of next year’s appropriations bills have passed the House. If they do, he plans to wrap up negotiations with the White House and Senate before the next fiscal year ends on September 30. 

Johnson committed to pursuing single-issue spending bills rather than opting for a larger spending package like a continuing resolution or an omnibus. In the past, such omnibus bills have been used to throw all spending in together, so members of Congress must vote for or against everything.  Few Congresspeople who might want to reduce funding for crony “green capitalism” want to be accused of voting against Veterans benefits when they are lumped together. Johnson, however, cautioned in his October 23 memorandum that if another stopgap measure is needed to extend government funding beyond the November 17 deadline, he would propose a measure that expires on January 15 or April 15 (based on what can obtain Conference consensus), to ensure the Senate cannot jam the House with a Christmas omnibus.

Johnson will also be confronted with a $50 billion supplemental spending request for domestic programs, including disaster relief and wildfire prevention that really should be part of the appropriation bills, and a request of more than $100 billion for Ukraine, Israel and other things Biden wants. Johnson has proposed cutting $14.3 billion from the $80 billion of new funding provided for the IRS to pay for the Israel aid.  


Johnson sees each of these actions as a “return to legislating” and an opportunity to get back to “effectively messaging on our top issues and priorities.” He believes his objectives can be accomplished in a manner that delivers on principled commitments to rein in wasteful spending, and put the country back on a path to fiscal responsibility. The House will no doubt have fights with the Biden White House that considers climate a more existential threat than wars in the Middle East and Russia. House Republicans projected unity and confidence that they would be able to fulfill Johnson’s objectives. However, time will tell if he can accomplish the huge task.

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