More than 200 congressional staffers urge Pelosi and Schumer to get critical climate bill over the finish line

‘We are tired of the merry-go-round, and afraid of what inaction will mean for future generations and millions of lives all over the world,’ one congressional staffer told The Independent

Louise Boyle
Senior Climate Correspondent, New York
Wednesday 13 July 2022 19:34 BST
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More than 200 Congressional staffers have taken the unusual step of writing to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to urge them to get critical climate policy over the finish line in the coming weeks.

The letter, seen by The Independent, was sent on Tuesday evening and signed with initials by dozens of Democratic congressional staffers.

The staffers, some of whom are decades younger than their bosses and have worked for years to craft climate legislation, demanded that Congress pass a robust climate and social justice package “on an emergency basis”.

“We urge you to bring the Build Back Better agenda or a similarly broad and robust climate and social justice package to a vote, with confidence it will pass this month,” the letter reads.

“The silence on expansive climate justice policy on Capitol Hill this year has been deafening. We write to distance ourselves from your dangerous inaction.”

It continued: “We’ve crafted the legislation necessary to avert climate catastrophe. It’s time for you to pass it.”

Schumer remains locked in negotiations with Senator Joe Manchin over the spending package, which not only tackles the climate crisis but also prescription drug prices and rising inflation. The bill only has Democratic support, making the West Virginian’s vote crucial in passing the 50-50 Senate.

Manchin, who has taken more campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry than any other senator according to The New York Times, doomed President Joe Biden’s expansive Build Back Better bill last year. The spending package was intended to put the US firmly on a path to clean energy and away from coal, oil and gas in order to cut US emissions.

The growing sense of urgency reflects that while Democrats currently have control of the White House, House and Senate -- albeit by a razor-thin margin -- this situation could end with November’s midterms.

The letter began making the rounds on Monday and by Tuesday had gathered the support of dozens of staffers, according to CNN, who first reported on the letter’s existence.

In an email, Congressional staffer Aria Kovalovich told The Independent that staffers “work tirelessly to write legislation, help secure deals, and meet the needs of our constituents”.

“Many of us have been working on these climate policy ideas for years, even before President Biden,” she continued.

“Some even were working in Congress the last time major climate legislation failed, in 2009. We know how this process works.

“We are tired of the merry-go-round, and afraid of what inaction will mean for future generations and millions of lives all over the world. We urge the Speaker and Majority leader to do everything they can to not miss this moment.”

The Independent has contacted the offices of Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer for comment,

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