Sen. Chuck Schumer warns of 'horrendous outcomes' for the climate if Congress doesn't pass infrastructure and social safety net bills
By: Business Insider
August 25, 2021 at 15:48 PM EDT
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In a win for Democrats, the House voted on Tuesday to advance their $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill that included provisions addressing the climate crisis. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said those provisions, along with the infrastructure bill, will help make major headway in combating climate change.
Schumer wrote a Dear Colleague letter on Wednesday applauding the passage of both the infrastructure and reconciliation bills in the House, and he detailed how measures within those bills will help meet President Joe Biden's climate goals. Specifically, he wrote that per an analysis on the combined impact of those bills, the country will be on track to reduce carbon emissions to about 45% beneath 2005 levels by 2030, and they will also help hit Biden's target of reducing emissions by 50% by 2030.
"The bottom line is this: we have very little time to prevent the most horrendous outcomes for our children and grandchildren," Schumer wrote. "But if we act now and act boldly, we can mitigate the worst effects of climate change and own the 21st century clean energy economy."
Schumer cited two policies in the reconciliation bill that he believes will help reach Biden's goals: the Clean Electricity Payment Program and the Senate's clean energy and vehicle tax package. He said his analysis showed those two policies alone make up almost two-thirds of the total emissions reductions in both bills and would be critical in mitigating the climate crisis.
Two weeks ago, the United Nations released a harrowing report saying some of global warming's effects will be "irreversible for centuries to millennia," only strengthening Democrats' urgency to act on the climate crisis.
A core issue from Biden's presidential campaign was the climate, but the bipartisan infrastructure deal he reached with a group of senators — which cut over half of Biden's initial funding — cut out a number of climate-related measures.
That's why many progressives have been pushing for the reconciliation bill to be passed before the infrastructure bill to ensure needed climate measures are not left behind.
Insider reported last month on climate priorities 133 House Democrats wanted to see included in either the infrastructure or reconciliation bill, which included reducing carbon emissions and investing in clean water, and following the reconciliation bill's passage this week, House Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal said her position "remains unchanged" on the order the bills should be passed.Tweet Embed:
We're pleased to see the House Democratic Caucus come to a consensus on the need to pass the budget resolution without further delay.
And we remain united with Leadership and @POTUS in our mission to enact the entire Build Back Better agenda.
Our statement👇 pic.twitter.com/A5h7HROYS6
"As our members have made clear for three months, the two are integrally tied together, and we will only vote for the infrastructure bill after passing the reconciliation bill," Jayapal said in a statement.