Last week, the House of Representatives voted for the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Budget Resolution, with extensive climate and clean energy investments, and set up a timeline for late September for a House vote on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal. While there are still more negotiations to settle before this legislation becomes law, this most recent win belongs to you, the voters, and all the advocates pushing for this once-in-a-generation opportunity to tackle the climate crisis in a way that addresses racial and economic inequality.
From the ‘code red for humanity’ IPCC report to devastating extreme weather — including Hurricane Ida, which the Washington Post recently called “the poster child for a climate change-driven disaster” — and long-standing environmental and racial injustice and economic inequality, it’s never been more urgent or more important to act on climate at the scale that science and justice require. It is imperative that the House and Senate deliver for the people and enact President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda into law.
In addition to voting on the $3.5 trillion Budget Resolution, the House of Representatives passed the H.R. 4, the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, an updated version of the historically bipartisan Voting Rights Act that addresses current-day voter suppression tactics.
For more than 50 years, the Voting Rights Act has been a crucial bipartisan line of defense against discriminatory voting laws and racial gerrymandering that has empowered Black, Latinx, Asian American, and Indigenous communities to participate in our democracy. This vote is an important step towards restoring the full protections of the Voting Rights Act, which has been undermined over the past few years by a number of court rulings.
Now, the Senate must take up and pass both H.R. 4 and S. 1, the For the People Act, to ensure an equitable redistricting process and free and fair elections in 2022. LCV has already called upon Senate leadership to reform or eliminate the filibuster to ensure the continued protection of all voters, regardless of their race or geography. Our nation will never achieve environmental justice if the communities most affected by climate change and pollution do not have full access to and representation in our democracy.
These are significant steps forward and the next few weeks are an absolutely critical period in the campaign to get climate, jobs, and justice priorities across the finish line. There is so very much at stake. To help you sort through it all, here is your LCV Top 5 for August:
With members back home for the next couple of weeks, and Congressional committees getting to work marking up portions of the reconciliation bill, LCV’s advocacy in the states and D.C. could not be more important. This is a make or break period to ensure the Build Back Better Act includes the climate, clean energy, jobs, and justice provisions we’ve been fighting for.
LCV and Climate Power are investing even more in our push for the passage of bold, transformative policies that center on climate, justice, and jobs. In the first half of August alone, we have invested more than $14 million in our Climate Action Now efforts, including countering the false narratives from climate action opponents. Through our multi-state Great American Build tour, led by LCV’s state affiliates, we have taken our movement’s message to key Congressional districts to make it clear that voters overwhelmingly want Congress to act on climate now.
Across the country, LCV’s 30+ state affiliates, in coordination with our Climate Action Now teams, have been applying pressure and demonstrating strong support for climate, justice, and jobs legislation by:
Earlier this month, the Redford Center, in collaboration with Chispa and LCV announced the launch of a new series of short films in a collective call for civic engagement around clean transportation to build a safer, more just future.
As part of The Redford Center’s Power the Vote civic engagement initiative, this new series, titled Community Power, showcases local activists, storytellers, and culture-makers as the visionary leaders that are building the movement to fight for environmental justice and regeneration.
The first film in the series, Community Power Arizona: En Nuestrxs Manos (In Our Hands) was directed by Chispa Communications and Creative Strategies Director Pita Juarez and tells the story of Chispa Arizona Senior Organizer Teo Argueta and a group of local mothers who make the connection between dirty diesel school buses, air pollution and local health impacts, and specifically childhood asthma and lead the way in fighting for clean air for their children and communities. Read more about this powerful film series — and watch En Nuestrxs Manos — here.
President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to combat the climate crisis, strengthen communities, and create good-paying union jobs. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm joined LCV for a virtual discussion on the positive impacts that clean energy has already had on our nation’s economy and communities. Additional speakers included Alyssa Quintyne, Interior Organizer with LCV’s state affiliate The Alaska Center, Frank Hawk, COO of the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, and Gilbert Cambell, Co-Founder and CEO of Volt Energy. Watch a recording of the event here.
Related: LCV President Gene Karpinski snapped a pic with Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) outside the White House at the announcement of President Biden’s executive order on electric vehicles and proposed clean vehicle standards.
A new poll released by LCV and Climate Power shows widespread support for the full Build Back Better reconciliation package that includes transformative investments in clean energy and environmental justice. The results were released the day the Senate passed the bipartisan infrastructure bill, and moved to the Build Back Better budget resolution that includes this popular, historic climate action.
Key takeaways from the poll include:
In states across the country, members of Congress, local officials, and organizations are joining LCV state affiliates to host events including town halls, rallies, clean energy facility visits, art activations, block parties, and community gatherings calling for immediate climate action and highlighting the opportunity to invest in clean energy jobs. In case you missed them, here are a few event highlights from the tour that you can view online:
THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW
President Biden announced that his administration will update clean vehicle standards, reversing some of the damage done by the Trump administration and making much-needed progress to cut carbon pollution from cars and trucks.
As part of the process, the EPA opened a comment period and will take input from the public until September 27 before reviewing it and setting a final emissions rule. But corporate polluters are going all-in to protect the Trump-era tailpipe standards and prevent innovation. Please, send a message to the EPA today demanding the strongest emissions standards possible, of the options EPA analyzed, Alternative 2.
Clean car manufacturing has the potential to bring good automotive manufacturing jobs back to the United States and provide well-paying jobs for workers in America, while also combating climate change. Moreover, increasing vehicle emissions standards will also help fight environmental injustice. Because of decades of racist housing policy, communities of color and low-wealth communities are more likely to have highways cut through their neighborhoods — leading to disproportionate harm from vehicle emissions, including unequally high rates of asthma and other illnesses. It’s an injustice that must end, and cleaner cars can help us get there. We need 5,000 LCV members to act now. Click here to provide your comment — we’ll deliver it to the EPA immediately to support the strongest near-term clean car standards and to require that all new vehicles sold by 2035 be zero emission vehicles.