WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Democrats are going toe-to-toe to try and get their policies inside President Joe Biden’s final Build Back Better plan.
Some Democrats say they are growing worried important climate initiatives could be scrapped in an effort to appease moderate Democrats who have voiced concerns of their own.
Rep. Sean Casten, D-Ill., says Congress cannot wait to address climate change.
“We’re going to need more than pretty words,” Casten said. “If you look at the west on fire, if you look at the floods, if you look at the hurricanes and say, ‘you know what we should do, kick the can down the road.’ … Then you don’t belong in this line of work.”
Casten is fighting to make sure robust climate policies remain inside the president’s Build Back Better plan.
“We need binding action,” Casten said.
He says the planned policies will reduce carbon dioxide emissions in 2030 by 45%.
“That’s not enough but that would be the most transformative, most significant climate policy ever passed by the United States,” he said.
On Tuesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., vowed to keep climate policies at the forefront of the president’s plan, days after she met with Pope Francis and global leaders about the issue of climate change.
“We have a moral responsibility,” Pelosi said.
But Casten says he is “deeply concerned” moderates representing fossil fuel states, like Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., could sour that commitment.
“We do have provisions in this bill to help out those parts of the country,” Casten said. “We’ve tried to be thoughtful about it.”
The White House says negotiations are still underway.
“We’re working with Sen. Manchin, we’re working with a range of Democrats,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
But Republicans who oppose the package across the board say they hope moderates do not cave.
“These bills are inaccurate, they’re wrong,” Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., said. “Now we know that won’t work, largely because of Senators Manchin and Sinema.”
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., is in favor of potential tax incentives in the bill.
“As the author of the expanded and improved 45Q carbon capture tax credit, of course I’m in favor of encouraging carbon capture projects, and I have a bill with Senator Smith to make the tax credit more accessible. But it seems this potential 45Q increase comes only in exchange for more Democratic support of CEPP—a program that would penalize energy producers much more than 45Q would reward them. Boosting the 45Q tax credit would not even come close to negating the devastating impact CEPP would have on coal and natural gas plants.”Sen. Shelley Moore Capito
Democrats have until the end of the month to get moderates and progressives united behind one plan.
The White House announced Thursday that Biden will also be traveling to Europe at the end of the month to meet with the Pope and to attend the UN annual climate conference.