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Republicans also Have an H.R. 1

In the previous session of Congress, when the Democrats (nominally) had the trifecta, House Democrats introduced and passed H.R. 1, the "For the People Act." It would have reformed voting law and campaign finance law, ended gerrymandering, and much more. The designation H.R. 1 indicated that it was the Democrats' #1 priority. It died in the Senate, thanks to the filibuster.

Now that the Republicans control the House, they also have a top priority and have introduced a bill called H.R. 1 to indicate as much. It is named "The Lower Energy Costs Act," and is basically a giveaway to the oil and coal companies.

The bill is all about increasing fossil fuel production, making it easier to do fracking, and to import and export fossil fuels. It also makes it harder for environmental groups to block oil and gas projects. It additionally mandates more sales of off-shore oil leases in the ocean. Other provisions undercut the environmental aspects of the bills the Democrats passed last year.

But, wait: There's more! There are provisions that would make getting permits to mine on federal lands easier. The bill also contains permitting reform for infrastructure projects, so it is certain to get the vote of Sen. Joe Manchin (R-WV) if and when it comes to a vote in the Senate.

Sara Chieffo, of the League of Conservation Voters, said: "This destructive energy bill does not offer real solutions to high energy costs and would lock us into decades of dirty, volatile fossil fuels, perpetuate the climate crisis, and cut out communities from the process." The first part was to be expected. The last bit doesn't really relate to mining on federal lands or the permitting process, but is intended to refer to the fact that poor minority communities often are hit harder by pollution (e.g., where toxic waste is dumped) than wealthy white communities.

The bill will probably pass the House on a straight party-line vote but will be killed in the Senate. If a second senator joins with the Republicans and Manchin to support the bill, then the Democrats will filibuster it. (V)

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