At the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Jan. 31 organizational meeting and first hearing, its new chair, Washington state Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers, outlined an agenda emphasizing fossil-fuel and nuclear power production and fewer tax incentives for renewable projects than now included in the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act. 

Moreover, she called for a permanent repository for spent nuclear fuel and more exploration into the viability of fuel recycling.

“We need to be doing more to secure and unleash American energy,” McMorris Rodgers said. “The rush to green has been devastating for Europe. America does not have to follow Europe down this path.” 

Although Republicans support an “all-of-the-above” approach, she said, “we do not support…massive subsidies and rigging regulations to favor certain industries.”

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.,) the former committee chair and now its top Democrat, described as “misguided” two McMorris Rodgers-supported bills introduced earlier this month to boost domestic oil production.  

“Moving toward clean energy is the future and the only way we’re going to have less dependence on dictators and less volatility in the market,” he said. “If we don’t use the incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act, we’re going to be left behind ... in innovation and in jobs created.”

Despite major disagreements on what the U.S. energy mix should look like, several lawmakers, including McMorris Rodgers and Pallone, said they saw potential ways for committee members of both political parties to work together.

Some members emphasized in their remarks that energy production and development, as well as climate change, are not solely the purview of either party.