Interest money

The timing of the reconciliation bill opens a tap for special interest money

The extended deadline for a reconciliation package on Capitol Hill widens the tap for dollars from businesses and advocacy groups to flow into the fight.

Why is this important: The longer the skirmishes on Capitol Hill last, the more time they leave for the energy industry, associated business groups, and environmental groups to invest money in television, radio and publicity campaigns. line in order to influence the opinion of Americans on the far-reaching proposals.

  • This, along with other factors such as the sag in the President’s polls and the approaching 2022 midterm campaign timeline, increases the chances that certain climate change-related provisions in the $ 3.5 trillion bill. dollars passed by the House be amended or deleted.
  • Delays to a final climate deal likely mean the United States would travel to the United Nations Climate Summit in Glasgow without a signed bill that would support its latest emissions reduction commitments under the Paris Agreement.

Driving the news: Business interests and the oil and gas industry spending ads to oppose the House’s $ 3.5 trillion bill are focusing their fire on a key way Democratic lawmakers are proposing to fund legislation, which is to increase the corporate income tax rate from 21% to 26.5%.

  • Democrats aim to take this step to pay for the expansive measure that would change Americans’ daily lives, from the cars they drive to the child care choices available to parents.
  • The fossil fuel industry in particular has other provisions it opposes in the reconciliation package, but the announcements focus on tax rates.
  • Overall, the bill would speed up the transition to clean energy sources, especially in the electricity and transportation sectors. The oil and gas industry opposes proposals like new charges on methane emissions and clean energy investments that do not credit natural gas power generation.

Details: The Business Roundtable, whose members include companies that support climate action, spent $ 166,416 on Facebook ads over the past week, many of which warn of the potential economic damage from the tax rate hike. companies.

  • The roundtable is also funding a multi-million dollar advertising campaign against the tax provision of the Democrats’ plan, which includes advertisements in print, radio and television inside the belt. It also includes “the CEO’s direct commitment to Capitol Hill and the administration,” the group’s website says.

The plot: The Roundtable’s advertisements put some of its member companies, such as Apple, in an awkward position. Apple supports climate change and a publicly declared that support but is now under pressure to distance itself from the group.

What they say :

  • “All of our members support action on climate change, but Business Roundtable’s position on a reconciliation package will be based on everything in the bill,” said Josh Bolten, CEO of Business Roundtable, in a statement to Axios.
  • “Congress has needlessly tied climate action with $ 1 trillion in tax increases on job creators, which we strongly oppose, and billions in non-climate related spending,” said Bolten.
  • The BRT has not received any refusals from its members or threats to leave the group following the reconciliation announcements, the group told Axios.

Between the lines: The White House knows it is under fire from business groups as well as the energy industry and calls on climate-acting companies to speak out in favor of both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the reconciliation.

  • “Let your voice be heard, please. Social media, letters, whatever. We really want the business world to be linked with us, ”said Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm. said Tuesday at an event sponsored by Fortune.
  • The White House has worked to amplify corporate voices in favor of the legislation, including through emails to the White House press list containing statements from Apple, GM, Walmart, Netflix and Salesforce.

During this time… Energy companies are also increasing their digital ad spend, both individually and through their business groups.

  • According to InfluenceMap, a London-based think tank which tracks corporate influence on climate policy, the American Petroleum Institute, which includes ExxonMobil, has spent $ 423,000 on Facebook ads since Aug. 11, when the Senate passed a budget resolution.
  • The organization claims that these ads garnered 21 million Facebook impressions (number of times they were displayed on a screen).
  • The group’s API “Energy Citizens” page has been published 286 listings targeting individual members of Congress with messages about tax hikes on US energy companies.

Details: Exxon itself has spent $ 296,954 on Facebook ads in the past seven days alone, targeting the increase in corporate taxes.

  • The announcements warn that corporate tax hikes would jeopardize the economic recovery and “cost 1 million jobs”.
  • One of these ads has been viewed over a million times, while others have generated hundreds of thousands of impressions.

On the other hand: Environmental groups like the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and Climate Power are working to mobilize supporters for climate action.

  • Many activists see this as the last and best chance of securing the greenhouse gas emission reductions needed to curb climate change and reaffirm US leadership on this issue.
  • The LCV and Climate Power have been spending millions to bolster moderate House Democrats’ support for the climate parts of reconciliation since the summer.

The bottom line: Such complicated legislation was never going to be completed in a week, and it could drag on until late fall. The two Senate moderates who reign supreme, Democrats Krysten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, do not seem in a hurry to say yes.

  • However, the Glasgow Climate Summit is a month away, with the United States’ international credibility resting in part on the movement of the reconciliation bill.