Climate plays an important role in this week’s infrastructure negotiations.
President Biden is meeting with Republican lawmakers today, led by West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito, who is making a counteroffer of approximately $ 600 billion against Biden’s $ 2.2 trillion infrastructure proposal.
The Capito proposal would all but remove clean energy and climate spending from the infrastructure package, and the White House’s willingness to strike a deal has alarmed some environmentalists. Meanwhile, senior Democrats put climate at the heart of any package, even if some talk about the prospect of bipartisanism.
Biden met with leading congressmen from both parties yesterday for almost two hours after meeting Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) And Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) who were the main swing voices earlier this week are. The president also met with Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chair of the Committee on Environment and Public Works, who has urged Biden to maintain a comprehensive definition of infrastructure that includes climate action.
With all the bipartisan movement, it is not clear what progress has been made.
Republicans emerged from the Oval Office yesterday and spoke about the need to define “infrastructure” and their unwillingness to raise taxes – the same issues that have stalled talks for weeks. Democrats said electric vehicles were still a big difference of opinion.
Senate Minority Chairman Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) Said he wanted his full caucus to help shape the package rather than settling it among the leaders of Congress, possibly anticipating the kind of long negotiations that that progressives warned about. This also adds to the commitment to today’s committee-level meeting between Biden and Republicans.
Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Chairman of the Minority House of Representatives, cited this week’s Department of Labor inflation data, which showed consumer prices rose 0.8% month on month.
US central bankers said short-term inflation was more a reflection of “temporary” pandemic production stoppages and reopening pressures rather than structural economic problems. But Republicans are citing the same data to argue that Biden could overheat the economy.
“Those numbers we heard about inflation today should scare any American,” said McCarthy.
“The idea of investing more trillion dollars in this economy when you have a supply shortage is actually the opposite of what you want to do to keep America going [growing] and make sure we don’t have inflation, “he said.
After the White House meeting, House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Said she was more optimistic about getting something “bipartisan” goodbye.
“But we’ll see,” she added. “One area we didn’t fully agree on was electric cars. But again, we didn’t go through a list and said yes, no to it. But that turned out to be something they didn’t want too much.” “”
The White House’s Oval Office lecture took on a collaborative tone, despite Biden telling congressional leaders that “at this unprecedented moment, the American people expect us to put family interests above our differences.”
“The President also stressed that regardless of party differences, the real competition is between the United States and the rest of the world, and that other countries are not waiting for us to equip our people for victory in the 21st century,” he said the President said the White House.
Some environmentalists are concerned about what Democrats would have to trade away to get Republican votes.
“”[I’m] I’m not sure the climate community is appropriately concerned about the potential of a pathetically small bipartisan infrastructure package in the US Senate, “wrote Sam Ricketts, co-founder of climate group Evergreen Action, on Twitter.
Other Greens were more ambivalent about Biden’s quest for bipartisanism and gave the White House room to negotiate.
Defense Council President for Natural Resources Mitchell Bernard wrote in a blog post Tuesday that Biden was offering Republicans a “golden opportunity” to endorse popular law. He said the government’s contact with around 120 Republicans was “the largest bipartisan campaign in years.”
“While [Biden’s] Care was taken not to set a deadline. It is important that the American employment plan moves forward, “wrote Bernard.
Democrats would need 10 Republican votes to move a package through the Senate without the faster but more limited budget voting process.
Ahead of yesterday’s White House meeting, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) said an infrastructure package must be “big and bold to keep up with changes in the world.” He also urged Republicans to compromise on the climate.
“It has been shown that we better do something about it [climate change] or we could have worse times than this COVID year every year in 10 or 15 years, “Senate Schumer said.
“The dramatic changes that would destroy our society and threaten our health and economy, just like COVID, will materialize if we do nothing.”
Reprinted from E&E News with permission from POLITICO, LLC. Copyright 2021. E&E News provides important news for energy and environmental professionals.