US President Joe Biden speaks after a bipartisan meeting with US Senators on the proposed framework for the Infrastructure Bill on June 24, 2021 at the White House in Washington.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
White House negotiators and a group of senators reached an agreement on Thursday on a bipartisan infrastructure deal that cuts measures to combat climate change and supports the US transition to a clean energy economy.
The tight infrastructure deal leaves President Joe Biden’s proposals on climate change to a separate bill that the Democrats could try to get through Congress through reconciliation, a process that does not require Republican support.
In addition to climate change measures, the second package could include programs in child and elderly care, education and health care, issues that administrators have termed “human infrastructure”.
The anticipated abolition of climate action is on schedule as the world grapples with the effects of climate change – including worsening disasters such as hurricanes, forest fires and droughts – and scientists demand that immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is vital to those worst consequences of global warming.
“We have made serious compromises on both sides. … We will see what happens to the reconciliation law and the budget process,” said the President in the White House on Thursday.
The bipartisan plan provides only $ 15 billion for electric vehicle, electric bus, and public transportation infrastructure, a tiny fraction of the president’s original proposal to spend $ 174 billion to boost the electric vehicle market.
The prospect of massaging major climate bills through Congress was farsighted from the start, but the Democrats had struggled to keep the president’s climate action in place in a bipartisan bill. The last major push to pass climate laws was in 2009, when the Democrats in Congress under former President Barack Obama did not approve of a carbon pricing system.
House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Said during a press conference Thursday morning that the House of Representatives will not adopt the bipartisan infrastructure bill unless a reconciliation bill is also passed by the Senate.
“The Democrats in the House and in the Senate agree that we – in the House of Representatives – don’t [it] to speak unless both bills are passed in the Senate, “Pelosi said.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg called the deal “extraordinary” Friday morning, saying Republican senators understand and accept that the Democrats are pursuing other parts of Biden’s agenda in a separate bill.
“The American people don’t expect us to move away from childcare. The American people don’t expect us to move away from clean energy, ”Buttigieg said in an interview with the Squawk Box. “It’s just that we use common sense to recognize that there are some things we can do together across the aisle and some things we cannot.”
Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., And Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Have vowed to fight against a bipartisan agreement with no climate change policy unless there is another bill to do so. Markey said in a statement to CNBC earlier this month that any proposal that fails to address and invest in climate protection will be “rejected”.
“If we don’t use this moment to get our emissions and clean economy on track, we must reject this deal and work in good faith on a real climate infrastructure package,” said Markey.
Sunrise movement protesters protest outside the White House about what it sees as slow paced infrastructure legislation, job creation and the fight against climate change, as well as attempts to work with Senate Republicans in Washington, DC, June 4, 2021.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
Many Republicans have long argued that an infrastructure bill should only address traditional transportation issues, while Democrats have tried to include climate regulations, among other things. Ultimately, negotiations over a bipartisan deal resulted in a scaled-down version of Biden’s first plan.
Biden’s initial $ 2 trillion proposal included extensive climate regulations, including installing at least half a million electric charging stations in the US by 2030 and providing tax incentives for electric car buyers. Reducing the number of gas-powered vehicles is seen as essential to reducing CO2 emissions.
The president’s original plan also proposed a standard for energy efficiency and clean electricity, which would require some of US electricity to come from carbon-free sources such as wind and solar, and included investments in research and development in technologies to mitigate climate change like CO2 capture and storage.
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Such measures would support Biden’s commitment to cut CO2 emissions in half over the next decade and get the US on track to become climate neutral by 2050.
A poll released Thursday by climate research groups found that more than 62% of US voters support a bill that prioritizes investment in clean energy infrastructure, and 56% support Congress passing the bill with or without Republican support.
“Two out of three voters want Congress and the President to continue fighting climate change and decarbonizing our economy,” said Edward Maibach, director of the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, in a statement. “Most Americans see these actions as good for our country.
21 Senators, 11 Republicans and 10 Democrats currently support the bipartisan infrastructure framework. It would have to get 60 votes to exist in the equally divided Senate.