ICYMI: Sen. Smith, Sen. Cortez Masto, Sen. Whitehouse, Rep. Levin, Rep. Bonamici, Rep. Vasquez, Rep. Escobar, Clean Energy Workers, Climate Groups Discuss GOP Debt-Default Bill and Risks to Clean Energy Jobs 

Apr 26, 2023

Washington D.C. – In case you missed it, earlier today Senators Smith, Cortez Masto, Whitehouse, and Representatives Levin, Bonamici, Vasquez, and Escobar joined clean energy workers, LCV, Climate Power, Clean Energy for America, Rewiring America, and E2 on Capitol Hill to discuss Speaker McCarthy’s extreme, unpopular debt bill.  Speakers discussed how the bill would destroy clean energy jobs and the clean energy boom happening across the country as a result of the Inflation Reduction Act and President Biden’s affordable clean energy plan.

WATCH: Protect Clean Energy Jobs

“We’re here today in strong opposition to the Default on America Act, H.R. 2811. This reckless and dangerous bill would repeal the clean energy tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act, jam through H.R. 1, the Polluters Over People Act, enforce another decade of draconian spending cuts, gut critical environmental protections – and as if that’s not bad enough Republicans made the bill even worse overnight to appease their most extreme members,” said the League of Conservation Voters Senior Vice President of Political Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld. “They are trying to ram through far more massive giveaways to big oil and other polluters, all in exchange for not causing a default crisis.”

“The Default on America Act will hold our economy hostage,” said Representative Mike Levin (CA-49). “Republicans are only willing to honor the nation’s full faith and credit if we as Democrats agree to undo our successful work on climate change and environmental action. The main focus of the Republicans’ proposal is getting rid of the Inflation Reduction Act, specifically all the provisions around clean energy. They are intent on ignoring the effects of the climate crisis. They want to make it easier for their friends in the fossil fuel industry to simply ignore environmental standards. We’re not going to let it happen.” 

“I represent one of the largest oil and gas producing districts in the country,” said Representative Gabe Vasquez (NM-02). “I was elected – and I beat an incumbent Republican – because of my stance on climate, conservation, the environment and the future of our country… It’s very important that we support an energy economy that dignifies our workers with fair wages and with the safety provisions and fair pay that they deserve. We also need to prepare these communities for the 21st century energy needs. That means investing in renewables and making sure that they’re cost efficient for families and for communities in low income places. We need an all of the above energy approach, and that’s what the Inflation Reduction Act does, and why the Republicans debt fall proposal is so alarming.” 

“The Default on America Act will essentially drive up the unemployment rate, tank the stock market, and, as part of the central component of this very deeply irresponsible action by our Republican colleagues, erode the gains that we made in the Inflation Reduction Act,” said Representative Veronica Escobar (TX-16). “These investments are critical for economically disadvantaged communities in the southwest and all across the country. So we are ready to fight back. We are ready to vote no. And we are ready to call out Republicans on their hypocrisy. Many of the benefits are going to red states. Over the last 24 hours we’ve seen them scrambling because they know the benefits of those subsidies in their communities. 

“We are saying no to cutting the provisions that we made to address the climate crisis and all of the good jobs that are coming along with it,” said Representative Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01). “ Their plan will reduce the capacity at OSHA to protect workers against heat illness. It reduces funding for apprenticeship programs so people can get into these good paying jobs in clean energy. It reduces the ability to access assistance for retraining and getting a good job in a new industry. We know those jobs are there. The bottom line, the Republican plan will put Americans out of work and make it harder for working Americans to get by.” 

“$660 billion is the amount of the annual subsidy fossil fuel gets in America by being allowed to pollute for free,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).  “To protect that $660 billion subsidy, they spend billions in dark money to make sure that the Republican Party does exactly as it’s told. What you’re looking at in this dirty default on America bill is the fossil fuel industry calling the tune for the Republican party here. The hypocrisy is stunning… Many of these Republican members have been home in their districts taking credit for the new projects that the IRA tax credits are starting in their districts. They go home, they take credit for the tax credits, and they come back here and they vote to undo the tax credits. That is fossil fuel dark money at work. We have to put a stop to it.”

“The Republicans’ extreme agenda to  kill clean energy jobs in this country is outrageous,” said Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV). “What we should be doing is putting people to work and at the same time reducing our carbon footprint…I have the opportunity to talk to so many businesses in Nevada who want to be a part of our clean energy future. I asked them: of all the laws that we have passed, what is the one that is benefiting you the most in our state and our jobs? It’s the inflation Reduction Act coupled with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law; they know that it is giving them not only opportunities to lean into that future that is going to reduce our carbon footprint, it is creating these great union  jobs in Nevada.” 

“President Biden’s Investing in America plan is creating hundreds of thousands of jobs,” said Senator Tina Smith (D-MN). “It is lowering energy costs for Americans and it is putting us on the forefront of a clean energy transition. I can tell you in Minnesota, this means nothing but opportunity for us. Here’s the irony: this climate plan is  good in Republican districts too, creating over 77,000 new jobs in districts held by Republicans… But here’s what these House extremist Republicans are doing. They’re insisting that this historic progress on clean energy and lower energy costs and jobs must be repealed or they’re going to force this country into default. That’s the choice that they see for Americans. We are not going to allow these Republicans to hold the full faith and credit of the United States of America.= hostage in exchange for repealing one of the most consequential pieces of energy and economy legislation that we have passed.” 

“Speaker McCarthy and the House Republicans are playing a dangerous game by making us choose between defaulting on our debt or hurting our families,” said Energy Allies Executive Director Yesenia Rivera. “Speaker McCarthy knows that this repeal would increase the energy burden on income qualified families. We have come too far to go back now to a dirty economy that harms workers back to an extractive energy system that has failed frontline communities. So please let us say no, no to raising the class on frontline communities, no to attacking clean energy jobs, no to playing political games with our families. Let’s stop this ploy to default on our debt and defund our workers. Let’s say yes to saving clean energy jobs and investments.” 

“I’m here representing a beacon of hope for what is possible for entrepreneurs like me: someone who is young, someone who is a woman who is a person of color,” said Greenwealth Energy CEO Ariel Fan. “Today, the business environment, through policies like the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the IRA, allow for hundreds of companies like mine to start up. They allow for the prosperity of thousands of other existing electric vehicle and clean energy charging businesses, and for thousands  of jobs in the upcoming years. I represent the construction industry, the engineering industry, white and many blue collar jobs. This type of bill – the repeal of the IRA –  would crush and destroy businesses like mine. So I urge all to support the Inflation Reduction Act.” 

“We’re hiring and employing thousands of employees, located typically in really rural communities. One in ten of the employees are veterans. Repealing the IRA would put a significant damper and a hold on the hiring of these employees,” said McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. Executive Vice President of Renewable Energy Scott Canada. “We’re looking to hire thousands more than we already currently employ, and it’d be a real shame to repeal this bill and pull these jobs back, pull the investment back. It’d really hurt so many workers, businesses, and the U.S. economy.”

 “ We’re really helping build communities around the nation, and what’s helped us to do that is the Inflation Reduction Act,” said Scout Clean Energy CEO Michael Rucker. “I’ve been in this industry for more than 25 years now, and during that time, we’ve rarely if ever had a consistent policy framework that allowed us to plan and build projects like we’re about to embark on… the IRA, with the 10 year extension of these credits, gives us the longest time horizon for planning we’ve ever had, allowing us to bring these jobs to these local communities. We’re really proud that we’re able to do that. Repealing the IRA is bad for jobs. It’s bad for business. It’s also bad for the environment.”


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