The climate crisis is ravaging the United States, but Democrats have just tabled a climate bill

  • The Washington Post found that over 40% of Americans were affected by a 2021 climate disaster.
  • Biden proposed $ 555 billion in its Build Back Better agenda to combat the climate crisis.
  • But Senate Democrats just put his agenda on the back burner to pass legislation on the right to vote.

Acting on the climate crisis is becoming more urgent every day, and the biggest investment in President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, which Senate Democrats have just put on their backs, would have gone to fighting the crisis.

New data from The Washington Post highlighted how badly the country needs this investment.

On Wednesday, the Post released an analysis that found that more than 4 out of 10 Americans lived in a county that experienced an extreme weather event last year, and more than 80% of Americans were exposed to a heat wave. Using data from FEMA, Post found 820 counties in the country were hit by fire, floods, hurricanes, landslides and severe storms, and at least 656 people died as a result of these disasters.

These data follow a shocking report released by the UN in August, which said some of the effects of global warming would be “irreversible for centuries to millennia.”

While Biden and Democratic lawmakers have often expressed the urgency of passing bills to invest in the climate crisis, Insider reported on Tuesday that Senate Democrats are pushing Build Back Better aside for now in favor of enacting legislation on the right to vote.

Congress passed the $ 1.8 trillion infrastructure bill in November, with $ 50 billion to support communities devastated by natural disasters, but the social spending package would go significantly further.

Biden’s $ 1.75 trillion proposal, unveiled in October as part of his economic agenda, included a $ 555 billion investment to combat climate change and achieve the goal of reducing carbon emissions. At the time, lawmakers like Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont praised the investment as “the most significant piece of legislation passed in the world to tackle the climate,” and Democrats had high hopes of passing that legislation by the end of 2021.

But West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin – a centered holdout on the agenda – shattered those hopes in December when he said he could not support the bill in its current state, citing concerns about inflation and specific provisions in the bill, such as the expanded one. child tax credit.

While Manchin on Tuesday told reporters he has not had “no talks” with the White House about Build Back Better this year, he showed the potential for some progress on climate action.

“The climate thing is something that we can probably agree on much easier than anything else,” he told reporters.

Still, it is unclear when an agreement on climate change, or Build Back Better as a whole, will be implemented, and some lawmakers said Tuesday that given the severe climate events that have hit the United States in recent years, the legislation cannot wait.

“Senator Manchin supports climate and clean energy,” Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey said wrote on Twitter. “I support climate and clean energy. We agree to deal with the greatest crisis and economic opportunity our world has ever known. Let’s get it done and adopt these provisions in Build Back Better now.”

In a virtual call hosted by Climate Power and the League of Conservation Voters, Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz repeated this sentiment.

“We get this done, for hell or high tide,” Schatz said. “For right now we have both hell and high tide.”

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