Washington, D.C. – As Congress returns to D.C., Climate Power and the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) hosted a virtual press briefing on Monday, January 31 at 12:00 p.m. ET with New Democrat Coalition Chair Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chair Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Rep. Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Congressional Progressive Caucus Deputy Chair Katie Porter (CA-45), and Rep. Abigail Spanberger (VA-07) to make a unified call for the Senate to quickly finalize the most comprehensive version of the Build Back Better agenda that centers climate action and can pass.
WATCH the full recording here.
“Weather and climate related disasters cost taxpayers 145 billion dollars in 2021 alone,” said Congressional Progressive Caucus Deputy Rep. Katie Porter (CA-45). “It’s fiscally irresponsible not to take action to mitigate these natural disasters, to prevent them, and to fight against the climate crisis. We simply cannot afford to keep stalling on climate action. The price if we do not act today is just going to keep going up.”
New Democrat Coalition Chair Suzan DelBene (WA-01) said: “Since the beginning, New Dems have made big, bold climate action one of our priorities for the Build Back Better Act. We pushed for and secured policies in this package that would create American jobs, cut energy costs for families, build a more resilient future, and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions to move us towards our goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest […] But our work isn’t done. In order to deliver on climate, we must agree on a bill that can get 218 votes in the house and 50 votes in the Senate. New Dems believe there is a path forward by building on the existing areas of agreement and focusing on doing a few things well for longer. There is broad consensus among Democrats on these climate priorities and we’ll do everything in our power to prioritize that BBB Act prioritizes climate and is signed into law. The time to act is now and failure is not an option.”
The representatives emphasized broad, bipartisan support for Build Back Better. As Representative Jahana Hayes (CT-05) said, “This is no longer just a conversation for climate activists; I think that every group and every decision we make as members of congress has to take into account… the long term impact that we will have on our environment and our communities. This is no longer a single issue conversation- the climate impact of legislation has to be incorporated into everything that we do.”
“Over the last few years we’ve seen firsthand how extreme weather fueled by the climate change we are all experiencing has not only disrupted lives in our communities but exacerbated long term challenges facing our air, soil, and water,” said Rep. Abigail Spanberger (VA-07). “We need to deliver on climate smart practices that build on the tremendous work of our farmers who are already working to build a healthier climate. We need to invest in a cleaner grid and transportation system to be sure our rural businesses and communities are not left behind as we work to rebuild our economy in the wake of the pandemic.”
Problem Solvers Caucus Co-Chair Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05) said “Fighting for clean air and water on our planet that our kids and grandkids can live in is something that has been a focus of mine since before I came to Congress and is something that is actually critical now and we can’t afford to wait. There is no time to delay. For Jersey. For our planet. We must take action to tackle climate change now to make sure our best days will always be ahead of us in the greatest country in the world.”
Representing the League of Conservation Voters, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said, “We simply cannot afford the staggering cost of inaction on climate. It has never been more urgent or more important for congress to address this code red for humanity…it’s time for the senate to finalize and pass the best and most comprehensive version of Build Back Better that centers climate and can get fifty votes.”
Ahead of this press call, members from key districts – including some of the speakers on today’s call – signed onto a letter led by Rep. Mike Levin (CA-49) to President Biden calling for him “to move swiftly to finalize the most comprehensive legislation that can pass the Senate and get this historic progress to [his] desk for [his] signature in the coming weeks.” Read the full letter here.