Section of Biden's Infrastructure Bill for Fighting Climate Change Reportedly Tops $500 Billion
20:44 GMT 26.10.2021 (Updated: 13:25 GMT 06.08.2022)
According to a Tuesday report by Axios, the climate change section of US President Joe Biden's massive infrastructure bill will be its largest at more than $500 billion spread over the next 10 years.
"Two sources familiar with the talks" told Axios on Tuesday that the climate change mitigation section was "mostly settled" and hadn't been substantially curbed by negotiations with moderates like Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV).
The outlet noted that the final remaining hurdle is the $150 billion Clean Electricity Performance Program. The program would encourage power providers to switch to clean energy sources or face penalties.
"Everything else is getting a massive haircut, but this isn't," Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) told the outlet. "This will be, just as a matter of fact, the biggest climate bill in human history. At least a half a trillion dollars. That's a pretty good story to tell at the Conference of Parties (COP26)."
Biden is due to attend a two-week-long UN conference in Glasgow, Scotland, beginning on Monday, after spending two days in Rome for the Group of 20 conference.
Jake Sullivan, Biden's national security adviser, told reporters at a Tuesday presser that the president would "give a major address on climate" and push his Build Back Better World (B3W) initiative on the sidelines. The program, announced at the G7 summit in June, is an international extension of his central domestic infrastructure program and intended to compete with China's Belt and Road Initiative.
"This is a global crisis that needs the power, the influence, and the impact of every current and former leader who's willing to go to Glasgow or stand up and shout that from the rooftops," White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said at the presser in response to a question about what Biden might say in Glasgow. While former US President Barack Obama is going, the leaders of several world powers, including Brazil, China and Russia, have pulled out of the conference.
Once $3.5 trillion for 10 years of spending, Biden's bill has been substantially reduced due to the razor-thin majority Democrats hold in the Senate, leaving the bill beholden to the approval of moderates like Manchin, whose opposition could kill what has become a vital program for Biden's agenda.
Much of what has been pared back are programs central to what Biden called the "Care Economy," or childcare and other programs designed to help millions of mothers return to work. He has claimed "we’re going to pay for it all" via tax hikes on the rich, but conservatives are both hostile to tax increases and skeptical of Biden's claim the bill won't add to the federal deficit.
Democrats are attempting to dodge the GOP's filibuster opposition in the Senate, which can prevent a bill from ever coming to a vote, by passing the massive infrastructure bill as part of a process called budget reconciliation, which cannot be filibustered.