2. House climate change caucus grows
A bipartisan House caucus on climate change has added four new members, bringing its total to 82, nearly 20% of the House of Representatives.
The big picture: The caucus, whose stated mission acknowledges climate change and works to address it, has grown significantly under President Trump, whose administration mostly dismisses climate change as an issue. Of the 82 members, 70 have joined since Trump's election.
Details: It’s a “Noah’s Ark” caucus, meaning members must join in bipartisan pairs. New members, per each lawmaker's office:
- Bill Posey (R.-Fla.)
- Bobby Scott (D.-Va.)
- Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.)
- Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.)
Between the lines: Critics say the caucus is mostly an empty effort giving political cover to Republicans without pushing substantive policies. That overlooks a significant, albeit subtle, shift in Washington’s gridlock in this space — the sheer fact Republicans see a need or desire to join an effort supporting, not opposing, climate change. That’s notable given the party as a whole has dismissed or denied outright mainstream climate science for most of the past decade.
What we're hearing: Danny Richter, VP for government affairs at Citizens' Climate Lobby, an advocacy group supporting the caucus, said Republicans are joining the policy group because their constituents are asking them. "It's up to those constituents to help them grab the next rung, which is to sponsor meaningful legislation," Richter said.