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Democrats urge Biden to restart climate talks in stalled plan

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks at an event at Germanna Community College on February 10, 2022 in Culpeper. Virginia.

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This week, more than 80 Democrats in the House of Representatives called on President Joe Biden to restart negotiations on his pending social spending bill and increase funding to promote clean energy and fight climate change.

The letter was sent months after the House of Representatives voted to invest more than $500 billion in climate change under the President’s “Build Back Better” Act. Since then, the bill has stalled in the Senate, and talks between the White House and some key senators have all but ground to a halt.

The climate piece of legislation will be the largest ever federal investment in clean energy and will help the U.S. be about halfway to meeting Biden’s commitment to halve emissions by 2030. according to impartial analytical firm Rhodium Group.

Climate finance comes primarily from tax credits for low emission energy sources. The provisions include tax credits that will accelerate investment in renewable energy and help expand the U.S. electric vehicle market.

“Throughout 2021, we have witnessed the devastating effects of the climate crisis, which further illustrates why transformational action cannot be delayed,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter on Monday. “Inaction now will mean irreversible consequences for our future generations.”

“Given the widespread agreement in the U.S. Senate to adopt climate provisions, we have the opportunity to reopen climate talks as a key starting point,” they wrote.

Rep. Sean Kasten speaks during a climate change rally outside the US Capitol on September 13, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images

The letter was led by Democratic Representatives Sean Kasten of Illinois, Jamaal Bowman of New York, and Nikema Williams of Georgia. Other signatories include all Democratic members of the Climate Crisis Select Committee, as well as members of the Energy and Trade Committee and the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

The lawmakers cited a recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which warned that limiting global warming to nearly 1.5 degrees Celsius would become impossible in the next two decades without immediate and serious cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

The letter does not mention Senator Joe Manchin, DW.Va., who helped make the Recovery Act better by opposing it in December. The Senate is split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, with Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris casting the deciding vote in any deadlock.

Every Senate Democrat will have to support a $1.75 trillion bill passed by the House of Representatives to get it on the president’s desk and become law. All Republicans in Congress opposed the plan, arguing that it would exacerbate the worst inflation in the US in decades.

Biden said earlier this year that he would probably have to cancel the plan, but he believes Congress can still pass parts of it. The President also said that he thought he could get enough support to cover $555 billion in climate spending.


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