Climate Champs on the Budget & More
The push for congressional action on climate change continued throughout March.
Last week’s budget debate made it clear that Senator McConnell’s Senate will continue to prioritize polluters’ interests. However, our environmental champions took the opportunity to put their colleagues on record as to whether they side with big polluters or their constituents. Here is a recap of some of their climate-focused amendments:
- Senator Tim Kaine (Virginia) offered an amendment during committee that supports Department of Defense efforts to maintain operational readiness by strengthening military installations to withstand flooding, storm surges, sea level rise, and other impacts associated with climate change. (Passed in Committee 15-7)
- Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont) filed an amendment that recognized that climate change is real and caused by human activity and that Congress needs to take action to cut carbon pollution. (Failed 49-50)
- Senator Michael Bennet (Colorado) filed an amendment to address the economic and national security threats of human-induced climate change through the use of clean energy, energy efficiency, and reductions in carbon pollution. (Passed 53-47)
- Senator Bill Nelson (Florida) filed an amendment to establish a point of order against limiting the ability of any Federal employee or agency to officially discuss climate change. (Failed 51-49 in procedural vote requiring 60).
- Senator Barbara Boxer (California) filed amendments to respond to the public health impacts of climate change, which are caused by human activity, and to provide emergency financial assistance to State and local governments to respond to impacts of climate change. (No Action Taken)
- Senator Chris Coons (Delaware) filed an amendment to mitigate impacts of climate change with planning and actions taken now to avoid tangible economic costs. (No Action Taken)
- Senator Al Franken (Minnesota) filed an amendment to bolster the resilience of communities, the electric grid, fishing, agriculture, and forestry to human-induced climate change. (No Action Taken)
- Senator Ed Markey (Massachusetts) filed an amendment to promote the repair and replacement of old, leaking natural gas distribution pipelines which would create jobs, save consumers money, protect public health and safety, and reduce global warming pollution. (No Action Taken)
- Senator Brian Schatz (Hawaii) filed amendments to make clear that climate change is real and the US should lead on solutions and to assist developing countries in lowering pollution, increasing energy efficiency, reducing fossil fuels, and growing clean energy. (No Action Taken)
- Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (Rhode Island) filed amendments to support the regulatory work of the EPA to deliver substantial benefits to the public health and economy and to protect and preserve oceans and coasts and address the harms caused by human-induced climate change. (No Action Taken)
Senators Harry Reid (Nevada) and Sheldon Whitehouse (Rhode Island) also had an op-ed in USA Today urging their colleagues to take action. Senator Whitehouse also continued his call to act with a few Time to Wake Up floor speeches.
In the House, the GOP leadership continued their attack on the EPA. During a subcommittee hearing, Congresswoman Kathy Castor (FL-14) and Congressmen Jerry McNerney (CA-9), Frank Pallone (NJ-6), and Paul Tonko (NY-20) all stood up to these attacks. Check out their remarks and LCV’s social media posts.
The Safe Climate Caucus’ calls for action included an opinion editorial from Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), a video from Congressman Jared Huffman (CA-2), and a floor speech from Congressman Don Beyer (VA-8).
Congressman Gerry Connolly (VA-11) and Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-6), both Co-Chairs of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition (SEEC) were active, as well.