Woke up this morning to infrastructure sales pitch in Jersey

Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm pitches Biden plan with local House members

Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. was in Edison, N.J., on Wednesday to pitch Democrats’ clean energy infrastructure plan.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. was in Edison, N.J., on Wednesday to pitch Democrats’ clean energy infrastructure plan. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted July 14, 2021 at 7:09pm

EDISON, N.J. — As President Joe Biden huddled Wednesday with Senate Democrats to discuss their emerging budget deal, his Cabinet went outside the Beltway to tout the president’s plans.

Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm started her morning in Newark, N.J., touring an affordable housing complex that provides Section 8 housing for seniors and has embraced solar panels and modern water boiling technology. She also joined Rep. Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., for a business roundtable on clean energy.

For her third stop, she joined House Energy and Commerce Chair Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., to tour Eos Energy Enterprise’s headquarters and battery technology research facility here in the township named for Thomas Edison.

Granholm and Pallone were enthusiastic about the agreement announced Tuesday by Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, Senate Budget Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Budget Committee Democrats.

Pallone’s committee has jurisdiction over energy, broadband and health components of what could be in a reconciliation bill that is produced based on the instructions in a budget resolution; he emphasized that the House will weigh in.

“Hopefully we’ll get all the Democrats in the Senate to get to the 50 votes that are necessary for reconciliation. But the ... House will have its own bill, or certainly will make changes,” Pallone said.

House members had largely been away from the Capitol as negotiations among Senate Democrats were in high gear. This is a committee work week for the House, with no votes on the floor until next week.

“It will change,” said Pallone. “The House, first of all, it doesn’t have details right now. And, you know, we would fill in the details when reconciliation instructions come to our committee, which might be different from the Senate, but it’s very significant because the amount is great, and it very much dovetails with what the president wants.”

Authorizing committees such as Energy and Commerce will craft legislation to meet the sometimes vague reconciliation spending and revenue targets contained in the budget resolution. The Senate agreement includes several broad goals, including for energy and climate change.

Granholm’s understanding of the energy pieces was in line with what Schumer and Senate Democrats discussed with Biden over lunch Wednesday, including extending clean energy tax credits and providing incentives for state and local governments to adopt energy-efficient building codes.

“We have right now a $23 trillion opportunity. That’s what the global market is for clean energy products: $23 trillion. So, this, these bills, this combination will say that America is going to get in the game, to compete for those markets, that we are not just going to stand by the side of the road and watch these jobs go to other countries who are competing for those technologies.”

Granholm is one of the Cabinet members who make up what Biden calls the “jobs cabinet.” The list also includes Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, who joined the president and Vice President Kamala Harris for an infrastructure meeting with governors and mayors.

The five Cabinet officials in that group, which also includes Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia L. Fudge and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, have held events across the country like the stops Granholm made Wednesday. Buttigieg spent part of the Independence Day recess in New York touring with Schumer.

It’s a practice sure to continue as the infrastructure and budget debates continue.

Buttigieg spent Wednesday visiting another key House Committee chairman. He was in Oregon for stops to promote infrastructure investments with Rep. Peter A. DeFazio, who chairs the Transportation and Infrastructure panel.