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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and President Biden speak briefly to reporters as they arrive at the Capitol for a Senate Democratic luncheon, July 14. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jul 14, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Democrats' $3.5 trillion budget deal sets up next phase of climate push

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Senate Democrats' new deal on a budget outline sets the stage for their fraught effort to seek unprecedented clean energy spending and incentives.

Driving the news: Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Budget Committee members on Wednesday night announced an agreement to try to steer $3.5 trillion into Medicare, climate, education and other priorities.

Jul 14, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Senate Democrats announce $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Democrats on the Budget committee announced late Tuesday night that they have reached a deal on a $3.5 trillion package to address "human" infrastructure, which they plan to pass via reconciliation.

Why it matters: The price tag for the proposal — which is expected to include bold provisions on climate change, Medicare and education — comes in far below the $6 trillion figure Budget committee Chair Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and other progressive Democrats have pushed for.

New polling by Bill Gates group shows popularity of clean tech spending

Expand chart
Data: Global strategy Group on behalf of Breakthrough Energy; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

New polling data released today by Bill Gates' Breakthrough Energy finds spending public money on clean tech in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions is extremely popular nationwide.

Why it matters: Congress is writing legislation that would direct the largest amount ever spent in the U.S. on clean tech research, development and deployment. The polling supports the position of Senators seeking to pass this legislation.