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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Democrats' Beltway drama over their $3.5 trillion spending package could influence the outcomes at a critical United Nations climate summit this fall.

Driving the news: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is calling for a "pause" in senior Democrats' plan to move a $3.5 trillion package that would include major clean energy and climate measures.

  • His move jeopardizes leadership hopes of passing the bill in October — and could spell trouble for its survival — because Senate Democrats need all their members to back the package or it dies.

Why it matters: The reconciliation plan is slated to contain measures vital to meeting President Biden's pledge under the Paris Agreement to slash U.S. greenhouse emissions in half by 2030 relative to 2005 levels.

The intrigue: Watch the clock.

  • The U.N. conference opens Oct. 31. If the U.S. walks in with big new policies in hand, that could help spur new steps by other nations.
  • If the bill is floundering, gutted, or dead, the credibility of President Biden's team will be wounded.

The big picture: The Paris Agreement calls for limiting global temperature rise to well below 2°C above preindustrial levels — and hopefully 1.5°C — to prevent some of the worst effects of climate change.

What they're saying: Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are pointing to Hurricane Ida as they push the bipartisan infrastructure package — which has new resilience and grid overhaul measures — and the Democrats-only plan.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 18, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Democrats' clean power outlook is very muddy

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Here are two big questions as a key Democratic proposal to slash emissions from power generation flounders: how much its demise would sap climate protections, and what might replace it.

Catch up fast: New financial carrots and sticks for utilities to deploy zero-carbon power — the Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP) — look unlikely to stay in Democrats' big social spending and climate bill.

Oct 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Manchin's red lines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has told the White House the child tax credit must include a firm work requirement and family income cap in the $60,000 range, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: While Manchin’s demands would dramatically weaken one of President Biden’s signature programs to help working families, they also would reduce the package’s overall costs.

Oct 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Congress begins yearend sprint

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The House and Senate face an onslaught of deadlines key to fulfilling members' campaign promises and keeping the government afloat as they return from recess this week.

Why it matters: The next few weeks will be pivotal to enacting President Biden's agenda — and determining how the Democratic Party fares in the midterm elections.