This year we have a historic opportunity to take bold, transformational climate action that invests in and expands clean energy, creates good-paying union jobs, and advances climate and environmental justice. After running on the most ambitious climate platform of any presidential nominee, President Biden has proposed a bold infrastructure and recovery package: the American Jobs Plan (AJP). However, the bipartisan package being developed does not include all the critical pieces of the AJP, nor does it contain the required scale of climate action. We must ensure that bold action on climate and environmental justice don’t get left behind. Luckily, climate champions in both chambers of Congress are speaking out forcefully about the need to prioritize climate in any infrastructure package — and that there’s no hope of passing one without climate at its center.
In the Senate
After it was reported that climate provisions might be stripped out or reduced in order to garner a bipartisan compromise on an infrastructure package, climate champions in the Senate sprung into action. They went to the Senate floor, onto social media platforms, and on national cable networks with a unified message: no climate, no deal. They made it crystal clear that any infrastructure package that didn’t include or get paired with bold, transformational investments in clean energy, climate resiliency, and environmental justice would be dead on arrival in the Senate.
In The House
Climate champions in the House joined the chorus — from an editorial by Representative Donald McEachin to a rallying cry from Representative Pramila Jayapal to an impactful reminder from Representative. Nanette Barragán— to echo the demand that climate be at the core of any recovery package.
The very next week, a group of climate champions — led by Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Chair Kathy Castor — went to the House floor to reiterate that demand and lay out why they won’t support a recovery package that fails to include sufficiently strong climate provisions and investments. This set of champions — including Representatives Suzanne Bonamici, Salud Carbajal, Sean Casten, Marcy Kaptur, Mike Levin, Brad Schneider,and Melanie Stansbury — made it clear that a package without investments in clean energy, climate resiliency, or provisions to ensure clean air and clean water would have no path forward in the House, either.
These climate champions made it clear: not only is climate action critically and urgently important, without it there will be no infrastructure package. Investments in clean energy and climate action are also broadly popular across the country. Voters across party lines want to include climate and clean energy policies in new economic recovery and infrastructure legislation and support the AJP 69%-23%, a 3-to-1 margin (Navigator, 5/25).
President Biden’s AJP is a historic and transformational plan to invest in our people and our economy. And, most importantly, it delivers on Biden’s promise to center his build back better plan on justice and equity — fully targeting 40% of the investments in climate and clean infrastructure to disadvantaged communities.
We know how critical it is that we act to combat the climate crisis and mitigate its impact on communities, and this infrastructure package is our biggest opportunity in over a decade. We can’t let it slip away. We’re grateful to our champions for fighting to include climate at the core of any infrastructure package and advance clean energy, good jobs, and climate justice for all.