POTUS, Congressional leaders wants climate action to move in tandem with bipartisan infrastructure bill

WASHINGTON — Climate change was front and center during the announcement of a bipartisan infrastructure plan struck yesterday with 10 senators. While there are provisions in the plan that support clean technology, this is not a climate bill. However, it was made clear from leaders in the House, Senate, and President Biden himself that climate action must move in lockstep with any infrastructure bill. As Biden said, “If this is the only thing that comes to me, I’m not signing it. It’s in tandem.” A few highlights from the announcement yesterday are below.

President Biden made it clear that his administration will fight hard to get the investments in clean energy needed to stop the worst of climate change. He said:

“I made it clear today. There’s other things in the environment to get done. I think we should have a $300 billion tax credit for dealing with the environment. Won’t be a giant tax cut for corporations but a giant move toward weatherizing every building in America. So when I said we agree I’m not going to go back and negotiate the Amtrak piece but I will fight for trying to get $300 billion more for tax credits for the environment.”

A White House fact sheet reiterated the President’s comments during the press briefing about only signing a bipartisan bill if it moves in tandem with a climate bill:

“He will work with Congress to build on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework in legislation that moves in tandem, and he is encouraged that both the House and Senate are working on budget plans that would do so.”

Meanwhile, Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer also stated their commitment to passing a bold climate bill in lockstep with any infrastructure bill. Manchin also once again signaled that there will be a reconciliation bill, which he said he is both “committed to” working on and “inevitable.”

And lastly, a new Data for Progress poll released today shows voters support the American Jobs Plan and its climate provisions. As reported in Huffington Post:

“The survey found 86% of Democrats, 55% of Independents and 23% of Republicans support the American Jobs Plan as they currently understand it. After surveyors provided more details about the Biden proposal, including its investments in clean energy and funding to clean up abandoned oil wells and mines, overall support climbed from 57% to 65% ― and the largest increase was among Republicans.”

Lori Lodes, executive director of Climate Power, issued the following statement in response to the bipartisan deal and commitment to advancing a climate bill through budget reconciliation:

“This is our climate moment. Firefighters and first responders are using every tool they have to protect people and lessen the damage of wildfires, heatwaves, hurricanes, drought, and flooding. Congress needs to follow their example and do the same. They need to use every tool they have to make sure bold climate action moves simultaneously with any infrastructure bill.