Sen. Bennet, Sen. Whitehouse, Congresswoman Castor: As extreme weather reaches our doorsteps, America can’t wait for Congress to act on infrastructure

Washington, D.C. – Today, congressional leaders demanded urgent climate action be a part of any infrastructure package. Calls to swiftly move a bold infrastructure plan are growing louder as negotiations between the White House and Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia) broke down because the Republican plan made unreasonable demands that raised taxes on working families, protected polluters over people, and failed to to invest in the clean energy jobs critical to stopping the worst of the climate crisis.

On a call today to discuss the need for 21st century infrastructure improvements that can mitigate extreme weather, climate leaders in Congress underscored the urgency of this moment: 

“We cannot afford to shortchange efforts in resilience and clean energy. This is our once in a lifetime opportunity to solve our long-term climate challenge,” said Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) during today’s conversation. “We can’t allow this opportunity to pass us by, and we should not allow ourselves to get so bogged down in bad faith negotiations or to accept deals that would shortchange or leave out climate action.”

“Climate isn’t a partisan issue – it’s a reality and an existential threat to the western economy. This is about protecting our communities,” added Sen. Michael Bennet. “These are just a couple of examples of how to avoid the pennywise and pound foolish approach that we’ve taken until now, and I’m really excited at the prospect of negotiating this bill over the coming weeks, getting something onto the floor that we can pass, making a difference for the American people, and creating the opportunity for this country to lead again.” 

“We have got to pass new laws, new policies, provide new resources to protect our communities, and that starts with the American Jobs Plan,” said Representative Kathy Castor (D-FL) today. “President Biden’s plan will help us protect our neighbors in our communities, instead of waiting for the next disaster to strike and then paying millions and billions of dollars. We cannot keep doing that. This is our once in a generation opportunity to create jobs, protect public health, ensure justice, and leave our kids with a better planet, a healthier planet.” 

Today’s conversation took place as the coming months are expected to produce extreme weather events. NOAA is warning of an “above normal” 2021 hurricane season while close to three-fourths of the western United States is currently grappling with severe drought at the start of peak wildfire season. In the last four years, there have been 60 extreme weather or climate-related disasters that have caused more than 3,700 deaths and $500 billion in damages in just primary impacts.