Crash of infrastructure talks jeopardizes climate action

Crash of infrastructure talks jeopardizes climate action

Even before Mr. Biden ended negotiations Tuesday with Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Republican of West Virginia, progressive Democrats warned that Republicans are unlikely to accept the extent of the spending to address climate change.

Mr. Biden has now shifted his involvement to a dual group of senators working on their own framework. While the group has not yet released details, one of the senators, Lisa Murkowski, Republican from Alaska, said in an interview on Wednesday that she is open to the inclusion of a number of climate amenities.

“I think when you talk about infrastructure, it’s really easy – it’s actually important to talk about some of the things that make it possible to reduce emissions,” she said. Murkowski said, having helped write climate legislation in the past. ‘If you have an upgraded pipeline, that’s a good thing. If you are efficient with the new transportation system, that’s a good thing. Charging stations, EV, are good. ”

Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican from Utah, separately said the proposal “has a number of line items related to climate change,” but acknowledged it would be more limited than many Democrats want.

But even if the group can agree on a plan that for Mr. Biden is pleasant, he faces several obstacles, including questions about how it will be funded and whether it can attract the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster.

That is why Mr. Biden also spoke with New York Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, about starting work on a budget blueprint that will enable Democrats to use a fast-paced budget process and promote infrastructure legislation by a simple majority vote.

But the strategy could force Democrats to change or rotate key elements to ensure passage. And to approve the budget bill, leaders can afford little disagreement – especially in the Senate, where all 50 senators who agree with the Democrats must remain united – which could lead to further changes to accommodate different priorities.