Republicans are behaving so wildly off-base, so clearly uninterested in actually getting something done, even billionaire conservative media mogul Logan Roy would come out and say it: you are not serious people.
While America careens towards a debt crisis manufactured by Republican intransigence, Republicans are concurrently threatening to rob even their own voters of thousands of jobs and billions in investment. In return for agreeing to raise the debt ceiling, Republicans have set their sights on scrapping the Inflation Reduction Act.
But of all the major renewable energy, battery, and electric vehicle projects (worth tens of billions) announced after the passage of the IRA, two-thirds are in districts with Republican officials, according to a Politico analysis from January. Every single Republican in Congress voted against the IRA, maintaining their opposition to the act while also trying to boast of the benefits to their voters. Now, with the debt ceiling debacle, they’re looking to get rid of those benefits entirely.
What cannot be understated is how divorced from reality Republicans’ pouting is. They are going as far as to demand the government repeal already-passed infrastructure programs that are creating hundreds of thousands of jobs nationwide, while diversifying and strengthening the nation’s energy sector.
As of March 31, the Inflation Reduction Act has spurred the creation of over 142,000 jobs, and $242.81 billion dollars invested into the American economy. Republicans position themselves as job creators and America-builders, but instead they are throwing a tantrum that, if successful, would leave thousands of hard-working people out of a job, and leave America all the more meek to competitors like China and reliant on foreign energy supply.
“’Let me kill over 100,000 manufacturing jobs – mostly in red states – or I’ll force America to default on bills we racked up and trigger a recession,’ is the opposite of a compelling message,” Andrew Bates, White House deputy press secretary, summarized in a memo last month.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy maintains that repealing provisions like tax credits for clean energy projects would “end the green giveaways for companies that distort the market and waste taxpayers’ money.” Meanwhile, he and other Republicans are not only trying to whittle away the IRA, but manipulate the already biased toward fossil fuels market even further. They’ve advanced provisions like mandating the administration approve of new fossil fuel projects and conduct more sales for federal land drilling. Republicans are also trying to accomplish “permitting reform” which, for them, means making it easier to skimp out on environmental regulation and push through fossil fuel projects easier. And of course, they are still concerned with keeping fossil fuel subsidies—even while big oil companies have reaped in massive profits while jacking up gas prices for everyone else.
Most fanatical is the assumption undergirding Republicans’ targeting of the clean energy projects: that cutting them would lead to meaningful savings. Besides the hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars that clean energy initiatives have already brought to America, it also sets precedent for what it truly means to “save,” and what we are trying to “save.”
America, and the world, is facing a massive wildlife crisis; our food and water supplies are becoming more and more threatened with drought and deforestation; the air we breathe is making the spans of our lives shorter. On the count of fiscal, social, and existential responsibility, Republicans are failing. Big-time.