Let me be honest with you in saying that I have very ambivalent feelings about the reconciliation bill that was passed in the Senate on Sunday, and which I voted for. This bill was a chance to do big things. It did very modest things. It was a chance to stand up boldly for the working families of our country and restore their faith in government. It didn't.
That's not what happened.
This legislation makes important investments in clean energy and energy efficiency. At a time when we face the existential crisis of climate change, the most significant part of this bill is an unprecedented $300 billion investment in clean energy, including a $7 billion solar roof top proposal that I introduced. This bill could help increase U.S. solar energy by 500 percent and more than double wind energy by 2035. That is no small thing.
But here is the very negative aspect of this bill. Unbelievably, at a time when we are trying to cut carbon emissions, this bill provides massive giveaways to the fossil fuel industry. Under this legislation, up to 60 million acres of public waters must be offered up for sale each and every year to the oil and gas industry before the federal government could approve any new offshore wind development.
And that’s not all. The fossil fuel industry will benefit from a side deal that would approve the $6.6 billion Mountain Valley Pipeline — a fracked gas pipeline that would span 303 miles from West Virginia to Virginia, and potentially on to North Carolina. This is a pipeline that would generate emissions equivalent to that released by 37 coal plants or by over 27 million cars every year and is vigorously opposed by the environmental community. It is beyond comprehension that these anti-environmental provisions are in the bill.
In terms of tax policy, this bill begins the work of making the wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share in taxes by imposing a 15 percent minimum tax on corporations. It is a step forward when large profitable corporations will no longer be able to completely avoid paying their taxes. Further, this legislation gives the IRS the resources they need to pursue the estimated $1 trillion in taxes not paid by the wealthiest people in this country, and will help ordinary, working people get their returns faster.
Today I hope you will sign my petition to show that we are in this together.