Will there be a Christmas miracle?
Everyone, please note a critical distinction: the sums outlined in Dave's excellent post HAVE NOT been appropriated yet. They have only been "authorized." The actual appropriations in the bill are much, much smaller. For example, ARPA-E is authorized at close to $3 billion in the bill, but the actual appropriation is in the ballpark of $800 million, I believe. That's a pretty big jump from the pathetic $400 million that ARPA-E has been getting, but it's still a long way from being the billion-dollar program that it needs to be. This distinction between authorization and appropriation is arcane, but it's not minor: it's the difference between someone saying "I'm going to send you a million dollars at some point, maybe, if I can get my act together" vs. saying "I have wired $1 million into your account at Citibank, the money will be there tomorrow." Congress authorizes lots and lots of money for lots and lots of programs, but they almost never send as much real dough as spelled out in the authorization, and for many programs, they never even come close. This bill is certainly a massive step in the right direction, but the multi-year fight now will be to get these programs actually funded in the appropriations bills. Best thing about this bill, assuming Trump doesn't manage to kill it, is that Biden will take office with some juicy targets already on the books.
Lots of good stuff here and I shouldn't carp, but sheesh $4.7 billion for fusion energy research.
Of course, I'll be proven wrong when 78 years from now the fusion energy researchers achieve breakeven.
Some useful stuff, too much dumb stuff. But "a huge energy bill"? A "miracle"? The fact that it's the biggest energy bill in a decade is mostly about the decade (of nose-picking), not the bill. Yes it's a lot of pages but no huge policy achievement. Not naive about the state of the institution, but concerned about forgiving/prolonging the dysfunction, grading on a curve of failure...especially now as things shift and Georgia pends.