Washington, DC – Today, chairs and co-chairs of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, the New Democrat Coalition, and the Congressional Progressive Caucus held a news conference calling on President Biden to work with the Senate to reach a deal on legislation to deliver transformative investments in climate, justice, jobs, and clean energy. The event came after 175 members of Congress sent a letter to the president highlighting the benefits of those investments and calling on him to work quickly to pass them into law.
The full news conference can be viewed here.
Last fall, The House of Representatives passed historic investments that would lower energy prices, fight climate change, address environmental injustice, boost clean energy manufacturing, and make America more energy secure with homegrown, clean energy sources like wind and solar. Now, with record-breaking fossil fuel prices driven by big oil companies price-gouging Americans at the pump, and communities across the country preparing to weather a dangerous season of fires, heatwaves, and flooding fueled by climate change, the cost of inaction is only growing. The House did its job–now it’s time for President Biden and the Senate to finish the job.
“The urgency is now. We Democrats believe that this generation faces two huge challenges here in America: the fight for democracy… and the fight for the planet,” said House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition Co-Chair Gerry Connolly. “Making sure that what we leave behind is a habitable planet, a beautiful planet, a planet that is not killing itself because of human activity in the form of greenhouse gas emissions. We’re committed to a zero-emission economy at some point and we’re going to do everything in our power legislatively, oversight-wise, [and] public advocacy to try and make sure that’s a [reality] that comes sooner rather than later. Our commitment is firm.”
“We all know a clean energy future is no longer an ambitious goal – it’s a necessity. From wildfires and hurricanes, to severe flooding and record heat waves, each of our districts have really seen firsthand the devastating impacts of climate change,” said House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition Co-Chair Doris Matsui. “My colleagues and I realize there is no cure-all here – it has to be a whole systems approach in order to battle the climate crisis. The resolution, the resources passed in the House reconciliation package tackle all sectors of our economy… We have major work to do and these investments will put us on a positive path forward.”
“This is about a future. Leadership is about stepping up and speaking up and we need that action right now,” said House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition Co-Chair Paul Tonko. “This is about making certain we are not filling the war chests of petrol dictators, people who are disrupting the world’s security. This is about getting it done, providing for sound union jobs.“
“Putin’s war in Ukraine created an energy crisis that is driving up energy costs and fueling global inflation. We can and we must take action,” said New Democrat Coalition Chair Suzan DelBene “We need a final bill now that significantly lowers costs, cuts greenhouse gas emissions, transitions to a green economy, secures our energy independence, and ensures the U.S. leads in the global fight against climate change.”
“We’re here today to call for an end to this stalemate in a united way across our Democratic caucus — the time is now,” said Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal. “Across the country, we are all living through history of the worst kind: historic floods, historic fires, historic droughts, and it’s only continued since. The summer of 2021, in our minds, was just a snapshot of the stakes of this fight. A moment that presented us with the greatest chance for significant government action, lined up against the most devastating examples of the consequences of failing to meet the challenge before us.”
“Prices are rising, temperatures are rising, and it’s becoming much more difficult for our families to afford gas, groceries, and energy,” said New Democrat Coalition Vice Chair For Communications Ann Kuster. “The economic fallout of recent events including the pandemic and the brutal invasion of Ukraine by Russia has made it crystal clear we need to transition to a clean energy economy and become energy independent as soon as possible.”
“We know that the climate provisions included in the House-passed reconciliation package will help our country,” said New Democrat Coalition and Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition Member Deborah Ross. “It will help bolster American energy independence, reduce the cost of Americans’ electricity bills, create a clean energy manufacturing and construction infrastructure and jobs that cannot be outsourced, and it will all happen right when we need these things the most”
“No one needs to be reminded why we’re here: Americans are struggling and they’re hurt by the rising cost of fuel at the gas pumps,” said Congressional Progressive Caucus and Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition Member Nannette Barragán. “These fossil fuels have caused toxic pollution in our air and in our communities. While we focus on climate, let’s not forget the impact the climate crisis is having on our communities and on health.”
“We’re the first generation to see the impacts of climate change and the last generation to do something about it,” said New Democrat Coalition Chair Emeritus and Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition Member Derek Kilmer. “The House has taken action that could make a real difference on this, that could make investments on climate resiliency, that could make a difference in creating jobs in the clean energy sector, that could make a difference for the bottom line for every American that is paying too much for energy and gas.”
“We are coming here in one voice to say that the time for action is now,” said Congressional Progressive Caucus Deputy Whip and Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition Member Andy Levin. “We want something that 50 Senators can agree on and send back here that we can pass and send to President Biden who is waiting to take significant action to tackle rising temperatures in our oceans, in our lands, the forest fires, the floods, the supercharged hurricanes. The evidence is all smacking us in the face as I sweat up here at this press conference. We want the Senate to join us in taking action now.”
“We are running out of time—folks have talked about how a growing number of areas in this country and all around the world are becoming uninhabitable,” said Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition and Congressional Progressive Caucus Member Jared Huffman. “The answer is not to drown the world in more fossil fuel and to keep us on this perpetual cycle of violence and conflict and disruption and a consumer rollercoaster that’s always been the feature of our addiction to fossil fuel. The answer is to hurry up and make the transition that we’ve talked about, that we know we have to make to truly liberate the world from the tyranny of fossil fuel.”
“From worsening floods, to raging wildfires and deadly heat waves, to more frequent and intense hurricanes, every second we fail to act on climate costs Americans in dollars and lives, and harms our health and the environment,” said Margie Alt, Director of the Climate Action Campaign. “I thank the leadership of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, New Democrat Coalition, and Congressional Progressive Caucus for leading the House in passing a strong bill last November, and for sending an urgent message to President Biden that he must work with the Senate to deliver on climate, justice, jobs, and clean energy investments because climate can’t wait.”
“Families struggling with high gas prices and hazardous extreme heat cannot wait any longer for Congress to invest in clean energy,” said Climate Power Deputy Director Claire Moser. “The need to address climate change has unified the Democratic caucus behind an agenda that delivers jobs, environmental justice, and energy cost savings to American families. The time is now for Congress to meet this moment by passing a reconciliation package that includes historic investments to tackle climate change.“
“As Americans feel the pain of record-high oil and gas prices and extreme weather—from flooding in Montana to fires in New Mexico—it’s clear that Congress cannot delay action any longer,” said Evergreen Action Chief of Staff Lena Moffitt. “Delivering a reconciliation bill with historic investments in jobs, justice, climate, and clean energy will be a victory for the economy, public health, and America’s fight against climate change. With leaders across the Democratic coalition uniting behind the transformative investments we need to fight both inflation and the climate crisis, now is the moment to act.”
“The stakes for climate action could not be higher for our communities, our planet, and our economy. Thankfully, House Democrats are united around the necessary and popular climate investments we need to lower costs for families, create a cleaner, safer, and healthier future for our communities, and put the United States on the path to achieving the President’s long-term vision of a clean energy economy with millions of high-paying jobs,” said LCV Vice President of Government Affairs Sara Chieffo. “It’s time to finish the job. We cannot wait any longer.”
“For our communities, for environmental justice, and to ensure a livable future, Congress must seize the enormous opportunity in front of it to pass robust legislation that addresses the interconnected crises we face,” said Sierra Club Sr Director Climate Policy and Federal Partnerships Liz Perera. “A unified House Democratic caucus continues to lead the charge to deliver for the American people, and now is the time for the Senate to join them in taking bold action. We have no time to waste.”