Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York warned Sunday passing a limited — and deeply flawed — bipartisan infrastructure bill, the U.S. will be at risk of throwing away its “biggest chance to combat climate change.”
The New York Democrat characterized the Build Back Better (BBB) reconciliation package — a roughly $1.8 trillion bill containing a range of climate and safety-net investments — and the $550 billion infrastructure measure (BIF) as “interlocking policy” rather than two separate pieces of legislation, stressing that the potential benefits of the latter will only be realized if the former becomes law.
“BIF’s climate benefits only unlock if BBB passes,” Ocasio-Cortez argued. “If BBB is gutted/dies, we may have just locked in U.S. emissions.”
Ocasio-Cortez is one of six House Democrats to vote against the bipartisan bill on Friday because it violated progressives’ longstanding demand that the Build Back Better Act pass simultaneously. The Senate-approved bipartisan bill was passed by the House despite opposition from six progressives. 13 Republicans voted in support of it.
President Joe Biden is expected As world leaders continue to negotiate global solutions for the climate crisis at the COP26 summit, which is taking place in Glasgow, Scotland, they will be signing the bill. In recent weeks, the United Nations and the International Energy Agency have all been involved in the signing of the bill. warned that nations must immediately halt all new investments in fossil fuels and rapidly transition to renewable energy if the world is to limit warming to 1.5°C by the end of the century.
Although the bipartisan measure includes some elements of climate resilience, provisions, funding to replace the nation’s lead water pipes, and money Environmentalists stress that legislation alone could be a barrier to electric vehicle charging stations. overall setback In the push to lower U.S. emissions of greenhouse gases.
“The BIF is not a climate bill,” the advocacy group Friends of the Earth (FOE) Action noted This weekend, we will be pointing to a recent analysis The measure includes handouts of up to $25 billion for the fossil fuel sector, which has been shown lobbied aggressively For the reconciliation package.
Biden was elected last month dropped a major clean electricity program from the Build Back Better Act after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — a coal profiteer and an ally of the oil and gas industry — made clear he would oppose it. Democrats are also worried that Manchin, a necessary vote in the evenly divided U.S. Senate, will kill the reconciliation bill’s fee on methane, a major contributor Climate crisis
Progressives are now more confident that the House has passed the bipartisan bill. concerned that Manchin and other conservative Democrats will oppose the reconciliation package altogether, tanking a centerpiece of Biden’s domestic policy agenda and killing significant clean-energy investments.
“The oil and gas lobby was working overtime this week to kill the methane fees in BBB to ensure it didn’t pass with BIF,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote Sunday. “If BBB isn’t delivered with BIF’s oil and gas locked in, we’re in trouble. This is why it’s a huge gamble. So again, we need pressure to deliver the promise on BBB.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), said Friday that she secured a commitment from the House Democratic leadership for a vote on the Build Back Better Act “no later than” next week — but it’s unclear whether corporate-backed conservatives in the House will drop their objections and support the bill.
If the bill passes the House, it will move to the Senate. An estimated one in four senators is involved in the Senate. holds investments In the fossil fuel industry.
“We may not get another chance to do this,” said Evan Weber, of the Sunrise Movement, is a youth-led advocacy organization that is calling for the passage of the reconciliation bill. criticizing It is considered to be inadequate and calls for further action.
“The stakes are existential,” Weber added. “Failure is not an option.”