Far-left Senate Democrats made their feelings known about not rubberstamping the infrastructure legislation if climate provisions are left out, as they feel the topic of climate change has recently faded from center stage. This comes as Democrats’ razor-thin majorities in both the House and Senate leave little room for error.
Many of the Democrats have started to worry about climate change not being a part of the conversation during the infrastructure talks. Some have worried about sacrificing “what the scientific community says is necessary to stave off the worst consequences to claim a bipartisan victory,” Politico reports.
At a climate change event, Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) said:
The White House and Democratic Congress need to hold strong on real, meaningful, bold, substantial climate provisions that President Biden proposed in his American Jobs Plan. …There is little appetite in our caucus for an infrastructure plan that ignores the greatest crisis, the most existential crisis that we face.
Heinrich also tweeted, “An infrastructure package that goes light on climate and clean energy should not count on every Democratic vote.”
Colorado’s Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) added to Heinrich’s tweet, writing, “Colorado and New Mexico share a watershed. I agree wholeheartedly with my friend @MartinHeinrich.”
Heinrich said he was “very confident” any infrastructure deal would include climate. Bennet even went as far as to say he believes “that’s the only infrastructure bill we can pass out of the Senate.”
“No climate, no deal,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) bluntly tweeted Wednesday.
According to Politico, in an interview, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) said, “It’s probably wise not to get too excited about alleged pieces of an unformed bill.”
Whitehouse continued that he’s “still very anxious and I’m going to stay very anxious until we have a solid 1.5 degree [Celsius] bill and a path to passage,” meaning having strong enough provisions for limiting the global temperature increases to that level.
The report noted the Democrats are willing to pass some type of bipartisan legislation through regular channels but will eventually create another with the more radical ideas in the administration’s priorities in a reconciliation package.
Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), who is the current chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works said, to pass “the more traditional stuff — roads, highways, bridges, rail, ports, safety, all that stuff, broadband — that would be handled through regular order.” Then eventually, if they are unable to add more radical provisions in the bill this time, “come back and do those in a different way.”
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) tweeted a reminder that “the executive branch doesn’t write the bills.”