Senate to get its own bipartisan climate caucus

Source: By Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner • Posted: Monday, September 16, 2019

Republican Senator Mike Braun of Indiana and Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware are organizing the new caucus, the first bipartisan group on the Senate side dedicated to climate conversations. The caucus is still in the planning stages right now and will be formally unveiled in the coming weeks, according to the senators’ staffs.

Climate change should be a “bridge issue,” Braun told Abby in an interview. He said many Democrats are also looking for a change in dynamic and Republican partners on climate policy.

Braun said he wants to bring his Republican colleagues off the sidelines and “into the game.”

Why the caucus matters: The group’s formation comes as more Republicans are speaking up about climate change and as the polls reveal voters are paying more attention to the issue. And Braun’s leadership shows that Republican interest in finding conservative ways to address climate change extends beyond more centrist members of the party.

But the caucus is also a recognition from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle that they’ll need to work together to craft durable climate policy.

Groups working on climate hope the new Senate caucus can have a similarly positive impact on policy discussions as the House Climate Solutions Caucus, created in 2016, has.

As the senators work out the details for the caucus, they should bear in mind “the more we can make this an issue that bridges the parties, the more successful we are going to be in addressing it,” Daniel Richter, vice president of government affairs for the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, told Abby.