House Democrats Plead With Biden To Resurrect Climate Spending, Again
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during the House Democratic Caucus Issues Conference meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Friday, March 11, 2022. Biden's speech is capping off a hectic 72 hours for House members after the first day of the retreat was canceled while lawmakers struggled to agree on a package to fund the government and allocate funds for Covid-19 and Ukraine. Photographer:
Hannah Beier/Bloomberg

A group of House Democrats is once again pushing the Biden administration to revitalize the climate spending provisions of the defunct “Build Back Better” legislation.

In a letter to President Joe Biden Monday, 89 progressive House Democrats, led by Illinois Representative Sean Casten, called on Biden to use his recent State of the Union address as a springboard to restart negotiations on the $555 billion in climate spending, in order to address the “crisis of our rapidly warming planet.”

The House members began their letter by citing a February 2022 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which claimed that “Any further delay in concerted anticipatory global action on adaptation and mitigation will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a livable and sustainable future for all.”

“Leading the world in limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius will require a monumental effort, and the climate components of Build Back Better are an indispensable foundation,” the Democrats wrote. “Inaction now will mean irreversible consequences for our future generations. Given the widespread agreement in the U.S. Senate for House passed climate provisions, we have an opportunity to recommence negotiations with climate serving as a key starting point.”

Democrats turned to Biden’s State of the Union address, where he called on Congress to pass tax credits for weatherizing homes and businesses, building more wind and solar energy sources, and lowering the cost of electric cars, investments he claimed would save the average family around $500 annually.

The Democrats wrote that they were “encouraged to hear” Biden’s recommendations, and said that with Biden’s backing, the billions in climate spending “would mark the largest climate investment in our nation’s history, setting the United States on course to meet our 50-52% greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets by 2030, while creating millions of good paying union jobs, reducing energy costs for consumers, advancing environmental justice, investing in climate resilient housing and community infrastructure, and strengthening our economy.”

“It is clear that climate change is a threat multiplier to our economy,” the Democrats wrote, citing recent natural disasters like the California wildfires, and claiming that the effects of those disasters “disproportionately impact communities of color.” “Responding now will protect American families and businesses against the most devastating financial impacts. But the longer we wait, the more expensive it will be to transition at the speed required, and we will have incurred billions in damages and harm to our communities, infrastructure, environment, and public health and safety along the way,” The Democrats wrote. “Restarting negotiations with climate action is a clear path forward to deliver tangible results to the American people. Your leadership in these negotiations will ensure that we can pass on a safe, healthy, and vibrant society and planet to our children.”

Democrats previously called for Biden to revive climate spending in a joint statement from the leaders of several prominent House Democratic Caucuses on March 1, hours before Biden delivered his State of the Union speech. But the negotiations are unlikely to go anywhere, as moderate Democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin put any attempt to revive the spending on ice. “They just can’t help themselves,” Manchin told reporters after the speech. adding that “[nothing’s] changed.” “I’ve never found out that you can lower costs by spending more,” he added.