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House Democrats to Biden: Use climate action to restart negotiations on a spending bill

<i>Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images</i><br/>President Joe Biden walks on the South Lawn of the White House before boarding Marine One on March 11. A group of 89 House Democrats
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images
President Joe Biden walks on the South Lawn of the White House before boarding Marine One on March 11. A group of 89 House Democrats

By Ella Nilsen, CNN

A group of 89 House Democrats, including progressives and moderates, sent a letter to President Joe Biden Monday morning urging him to restart negotiations on a Democrat-only spending bill centered around climate action.

The letter comes a few weeks after Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia opened the door for new negotiations by outlining what he wants to see in a Democrat-only spending bill. Manchin previously said he wants to pass tax reforms and measures to reduce the deficit but also said revenue from that should be put towards climate funding.

Meanwhile, Democrats in the House want to start with policies that address the climate crisis.

“The more than $555 billion in climate investments in the House-passed Build Back Better Act can serve as the building block to restart negotiations,” the groups of House Democrats wrote in their letter to Biden. “Given the widespread agreement in the U.S. Senate for House passed climate provisions, we have an opportunity to recommence negotiations with climate serving as a key starting point.”

Reps. Sean Casten of Illinois, Jamaal Bowman of New York and Nikema Williams of Georgia led the letter. Members signing include Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Kathy Castor of Florida. Castor serves as chair of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.

It’s unclear whether Manchin will want to replicate the $555 billion worth of clean energy and climate spending in Biden’s original Build Back Better Act, or trim that figure down as well.

There have been limited negotiations on a new spending bill, and most of that conversation has been driven by Senate committee chairs. House members are now urging Biden to take on a central role in restarting talks.

“Your leadership in these negotiations will ensure that we can pass on a safe, healthy, and vibrant society and planet to our children,” members wrote.

The lawmakers stressed that Biden cannot fail to act on climate change.

“Leading the world in limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius will require a monumental effort, and the climate components of Build Back Better are an indispensable foundation,” the House Democrats wrote.”It is clear that climate change is a threat multiplier to our economy. The longer we wait, the more expensive it will be to transition at the speed required, and we will have incurred billions in damages and harm to our communities, infrastructure, environment, and public health and safety along the way.”

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