House Dems want climate BBB action

Source: BY MATTHEW CHOI, Politico • Posted: Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Senate Democrats are still at a stalemate over their reconciliation package and its $555 billion in climate spending. With voting rights legislation and midterms coming up, the laser focus on Democrats’ climate and social spending package is fraying, and many political operatives are afraid the party will have to campaign without a major leg of its domestic agenda.

It’s leading some House Democrats to push for a trimmed package focused on climate issues to get something on the books as the clock ticks on an existential threat, Pro’s Josh Siegel reports. The push comes as Democrats in the upper chamber signal that climate has high potential for compromise with centrist Energy Chair Joe Manchin.Manchin himself said climate could be easier to agree on, though there remains public disagreement on several key social programs, such as extensions for the Child Tax Credit.

“I understand Sen. Manchin may not want to support a lot of social programs in Build Back Better,” Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), told Josh. “That’s a disappointment for a lot of people, but it’s very clear to me we are going to have to refocus on what can get passed.”

But a papier-mâché approach to Democrats’ legislative behemoth, which covers everything from health care to solar power, isn’t getting much love at the moment from the upper chamber. Senate Democrats maintain that keeping the course is still possible and that dividing the package into multiple priorities would be an even heavier lift given the chamber’s strict reconciliation rules.

And some climate hawks contend that social policy is climate policy, and that protecting social welfare is in line with the administration’s whole-of-government approach to tackling climate change.

“It’s really fraught for climate hawks like me to even suggest we cut all the other stuff and just run with our thing because that has the potential to alienate, create a backlash and maybe even take the climate piece down,” Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) told Josh. “We have to be smart and inclusive and focus on getting the Senate to deliver as much as they possibly can squeeze through the Manchin threshold.”