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Friday, February 3, 2023

Let down by infrastructure bill, climate hawks eye reconciliation

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Climate advocates are hanging their hopes for more robust action on what is expected to be a $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, which will likely pass in the 50-50 Senate only if all Democrats stick together so Vice President Kamala Harris can cast a tie-breaking vote.

“There’s still time for the reconciliation package,” Matthew Davis, senior director of government affairs for the League of Conservation Voters, said by phone. “I don’t think at all the moment is slipping on climate.”

The infrastructure bill has crossed procedural hurdles in the Senate but now faces the amendment process, while prospects for the yet-to-be-published reconciliation package, particularly one loaded with climate-related provisions, are unclear. Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., has indicated he won’t support a package geared toward eliminating the use of fossil fuels.

From a region where the economy has for decades been centered around coal, Manchin is often on the same side of fossil fuel policies as Republicans, though coal-mining jobs have grown scarce and despite clean-energy advocates’ assurances that new industries will bring new jobs.

The House Republican Study Committee, the largest group of conservatives in the chamber, released a memo Monday detailing its top 10 talking points against the bipartisan infrastructure package, a memo that focused repeatedly on the bill’s climate provisions.


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