Senate Democrats' budget resolution includes key climate priorities
Included in the newly released outline of Senate Democrats' $3.5 trillion budget resolution are key details on which climate provisions made the cut.
Why it matters: The budget resolution sets the stage for consideration of a Democrats'-only measure to fund some of President Biden's key priorities, including some of the most far-reaching proposals yet enacted in the U.S. to tackle the climate crisis.
The intrigue: According to a summary from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's office, the resolution's top-line numbers will make room for a Civilian Climate Corps in the eventual reconciliation bill. This is a major priority for some environmental groups, including the Sunrise Movement.
Democrats also intend to include a Clean Electricity Standard (CES) in the reconciliation bill aimed at meeting Biden's goal of achieving 100% carbon-free power by 2035.
- The CES they intend to incorporate into the reconciliation bill was written by Democratic Sen. Tina Smith of Minnesota, who co-authored a CES bill in 2019.
- The White House initially proposed a CES as a way to decarbonize the electricity sector while allowing utilities the flexibility in choosing how to do so. Whether the CES could be included in a reconciliation package and have continued White House backing is unclear.
- “Getting it included in the budget package sends a strong signal we are committed to tackling climate change. I will continue to work hard on getting a CES done because we cannot squander this moment. We can either lead or follow when it comes to the clean energy transition, and I want us to lead,” Smith said in a statement.
Details: The resolution also includes funding that Democrats intend to carve out for:
- Clean energy and vehicle tax incentives, which go above and beyond what's included in the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
- Agriculture, wildfire prevention and forestry.
- Buying clean technologies for the federal government.
- Making buildings more efficient.
- Forming a clean energy accelerator to develop new technologies.
What we're watching: The resolution summary Democrats released includes a reference to "A new Methane Reduction and Polluter Import Fees to increase our emissions reductions," which could have trade implications. The outline has yet to be translated into legislative language.