Democrats prep climate legislation in case of 2020 breakthrough
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images
There's no chance of big climate legislation moving these days, but 2020 is nonetheless a crucial year for Democrats hoping those odds change post-election.
Driving the news: House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats will unveil sweeping draft legislation this month. And by the end of March, the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis is slated to unveil its own policy recommendations.
Why it matters: Democrats and their allies need to be ready if there's an opening for climate legislation after the election.
- There might be a window if Democrats win the White House and somehow eke out a small Senate majority.
- That means 2020 is an important year for getting their ducks in a row and hashing out internal disputes in order to be ready.
- Another thing to watch this year will be proposals emerging from outside groups aimed at laying the groundwork for post-2020 legislation and administrative efforts.
Quick take: While the election will, of course, reset things, the party's chances of success will be lower if they repeat what happened with Republicans who entered the Trump era with no specific plans to repeal and replace Obamacare.
But, but, but: Despite ambitious legislative plans coming from 2020 White House hopefuls too, any sweeping bill will face a steep uphill climb under almost any post-election scenario. So negotiations this year could also be a test bed for what smaller measures could gain traction.
What they're saying: One environmental movement insider tells me that Energy and Commerce leaders will "throw everything into the bill and see what kind of coalitions emerge for different policies."
Where it stands: Democrats could move a bill or bills through the House this year. But even if Democrats put something on the floor this year, it's DOA in the GOP-led Senate and would not have White House support.
- As for the upcoming Energy and Commerce draft, E&E News reports: "The committee is expected to lay out ideas in broad strokes, with no specific reference to carbon pricing, but will aim to meet its goal of achieving economywide net-zero emissions by 2050."
The big picture: The emergence of draft bills and concepts will force lawmakers — and factions of the environmental movement — to see how much common ground there is to be found.
- Climate is perhaps the top priority for the progressive faction led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that's pushing the most aggressive version of the Green New Deal concept.